WSAS was established in 1973 with the aim of helping the Record Office to preserve the historical records of West Sussex. Over the years, WSAS has contributed towards the purchase of many important historic records such as deeds, estate records, letters, diaries, business records, maps and plans, dating back over 500 years. By helping the Record Office to acquire these documents, WSAS has helped to ensure that they will be preserved and made accessible to current and future researchers.

Here are some examples of where WSAS has been able to help.

Map of Worthing, late 1820s (PM 929)

Richard Howell, a committee member of WSAS, writes,

“I love old maps. I love poring over them and imagining a landscape that has probably long since been changed beyond recognition, yet at the same time being able to pick out features which still exist. They provide a juxtaposition of past and present, and one gets an overview that would be impossible to discern from physically standing on the ground.

“I am Worthing born and bred, so when this map became available for sale in 2012, I strongly supported the proposal that WSAS should purchase it on behalf of the Record Office.


Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 1908 (PH 23263)

“We do not know precisely when it was surveyed, but it was probably in the late 1820s. It shows the embryonic town a few years before the arrival of the railway, when much of the town centre was still fields, and today’s busy Richmond Road is marked as ‘Footpath to Heene and Tarring’. And yet it is possible to see features that are still there today such as Steyne Gardens,  Warwick Street, Montague Street and Chapel Road. It is only small but precisely and delicately executed in pen and ink and watercolour. Even for those with no Worthing connections, it is a thing of beauty.

“That is why I suggested this little map of Worthing as being a favourite document. To me, it embodies the very essence of WSAS in helping to ensure that rare documents, such as these, are held in safekeeping for future generations to enjoy.”

Accession 17786

Indenture – 29th September 1727 – William Wilkins of Chichester, yeoman and Easter Tillier of the parish of Goring – regarding property in Goring.

Indenture – 4th November 1732 – between Sir Fisher Tench of St Andrew, Holborn, London and Thomas Thayer of Broadwater, Sussex of one part and Charles Wade of London of the other part, regarding a messuage and six acres of arable land in the parish of Broadwater.

Title deeds and related papers appertaining to property at Bognor, 1829-1872 (Add Mss 35949-35963)

Bognor Brook, or Bognor Common, was sold by the Trustees of Sir Richard Hotham to the said Richard Scott, then of Bognor, Colonel in the East India Company, by conveyance dated 22-23 January 1802.

Map of Singleton and East Dean, c1630-1670 (Add Mss 18014)

Purchased jointly by WSAS and the West Sussex County Council following sale at Sotheby’s, October 1975

Dallaway Papers, 1663-1883 (Add Mss 20186-20259)

The papers contained in this collection, mainly dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, are chiefly the family papers of Sankey Gardner and his wife Sophia (nee Best), who were married in 1837.

Sankey Gardner was an iron merchant at Neath in Glamorgan, and his wife’s family were wine merchants in London. The family was related by marriage to that of James Dallaway.

Purchased by WSAS from Frank Hammond Ltd, March 1974, and presented to the Record Office, June 1974.