The Sompting Estate
Sompting Estate is about 7 square kilometres of countryside in the heart of the Sussex Downs, between Worthing and Steyning, at the narrowest point of the South Downs National Park. The Estate has been owned by the Crofts/Tristram family for over 250 years: the present Managing Trustee is Mike Tristram, with Manager Alex Tristram, and the land agents are Strutt & Parker (Guildford Office).
The Estate has three main Farms, several houses many of which are occupied by people associated with the farms, small woodlands managed by our forestry contractor Andrew Cossar, and a vineyard, with the estate office at Middle Yard Barn.
The Sompting Abbotts manor was owned in the middle ages by the Abbey of Fecamp in France (hence 'Sompting Abbotts Manor') , later by the Earl of Arundel, then by a succession of 'yeoman' families. It was bought, together with Lychpole Manor, by John Crofts, a solicitor, in the mid eighteenth century; his descendants later added to it the manor of Sompting Peverel and some land in Cokeham manor, completing the Sompting Estate. This painting shows John Crofts with his wife Anne Le Pla and some of their children. John was an ancestor of the present Estate family, the Tristrams.
The Crofts family coat of arms is seen in the portrait at top, and, right, as sketched by the Sussex historian Mark Antony Lower, in his manuscript notebook on Sompting Church. The crest is sometimes shown separately with the motto "Con Fido", With Faith - or a nice pun perhaps about the little dog on top!
The Sompting Estate is a fascinating historic landscape. The Scheduled Ancient Monument area on Park Brow was the place where, in the 1920s, archaeologists first came to recognize how the now quiet landscape of the South Downs was densely populated and farmed in prehistoric down to Romano-British times.
The land reveals evidence of medieval and post-medieval farming with equally fascinating changes through to modern times.
More Sompting history info can be found on these links:
Take a tour in the sky
Here are some photos taken by drone, as an introduction to our landscape. If you hover the cursor arrow over any of the thumbnails below, a caption will appear -or you can click on a thumbnail to enlarge the photos and their captions. If you would like to explore and enjoy our downs on foot, the Walks page shows our Rights of Way network
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