Steyning Museum West Sussex: Steyning nestles in a valley overlooked by the South Downs. This is an ancient landscape, criss-crossed by tracks first used by Neolithic hunters, farmers and traders six thousand years ago. Come and look around the Steyning Museum West Sussex to learn more.

Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding are full of surprises. So come and take a look. There has been a castle in Bramber since the time of William the Conqueror. Steyning church was founded by a Saxon saint, with a very strange story. Upper Beeding grew around a Benedictine priory; but who built the fantasy French chateau?

See what a fascinating place this is. Lying across ancient chalk-downland tracks in West Sussex, with timber-framed houses and flint churches. The museum is independently run by volunteers, for the community, and admission is free. So there will be a warm, friendly and knowledgable welcome for you at the museum

The South Downs Way traces some of these tracks in a route along the South Downs chalk ridge from Winchester to Eastbourne. It passes Upper Beeding, Bramber and Steyning However archaeology shows that these riverside settlements are recent in comparison to the cultures that created the chalk downland environment above.

There have been visitors flocking to Steyning since Saint Cuthman’s shrine first attracted Saxon pilgrims to the church. The town had a thriving port and links to key communication routes.

After the Norman Conquest

After the Norman Conquest the port declined, but markets and fairs drew people from across Sussex and as far away as Wales. Cattle, sheep, horses and other livestock came too. The Steyning horse fair continued until 1976.

The old coaching route between London and the South Coast brought many weary travellers to Steyning. After a change of horses and perhaps a night’s rest at the White Horse or the Chequer Inn, passengers were soon back on the bumpy road to complete their gruelling journey.

In 1861, the steam train brought a new lease of life to the town and its market. The first day-trippers appeared. Horses eventually made way for the car and after one hundred years of service, the railway suffered too. However, Steyning station closed in 1966 and the railway line became the road route for the Steyning bypass.

Steyning Today

Today, Steyning still attracts more than its fair share of visitors. Most come to enjoy a leisurely walk around the ancient little town, a nice cup of tea – or perhaps something stronger in an old Steyning pub and, of course, an hour or so immersed in history at the museum.

Pictures, photographs and postcards have survived, showing the local scenes most loved by generations of Steyning visitors. So does the old place still look the same? You can decide when you browse through them at the museum.

To visit the Steyning Museum near Brighton contact Holt Services