WSAS Committee

The West Sussex Archives Society (WSAS) Committee works to support West Sussex Record Office projects and an active membership, through various events, newsletters, conferences, etc. The committee meets regularly to manage and to undertake various activities on behalf of its membership. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact us.

Richard Mant – Chairman

Having taught History in various schools for the best part of forty years, I now teach part-time and this allows me to pursue my other interests which include sailing, fell walking, rugby football, hockey and last but by no means least, various aspects of West Sussex history. Currently, my interests are the Deposition Books, the Monarch’s Way and the growth of literacy in various families and villages. My on-going interest is to investigate and record with biographical detail every branch of the Mant family in West Sussex since their arrival in c. 1500 from France. I have been involved in this study for the last thirty years, with the help of the staff and the resources of the West Sussex Record Office.

Leigh Lawson – Vice Chairman

In 1989, I was asked to help with the research for a history of the Petworth Emigration Committee (PEC), sponsored by the University of Toronto. In Sussex, we tried to establish the names of the 1,800 emigrants who were sent to Canada under the auspices of the PEC. Two books were published in 2000, one a history of the emigration scheme containing details of the names we found, and the other edited letters written by the emigrants which were published at the time as pamphlets and in local newspapers. Since then, I have assisted my colleague Sheila Haines, with a biography of Thomas Sockett, rector of Petworth and a member of the PEC. Currently, we are writing a biography of Elizabeth Ilive, wife of the 3rd Earl of Egremont. 

Helen Whittle – Journal Editor

I am a freelance [since 1989 – full time since 2000] historical researcher working for clients on genealogical projects as well as many other historical projects, e.g. for authors of books and magazine articles, for overseas MA and PhD students, in connection with legal matters [litigation and intestacy], art history etc. I deal with all types of archival record from c. 1400 to date. I have also written articles for various publications and give talks and lectures to various local groups. I am currently working for a PhD with University of Chichester/University of Southampton on a project relating to the Civil War in Sussex and hope to complete in early 2012.

Richard Howell

I have lived in Worthing almost all my life and I have always been passionate about history and old buildings. This passion together with a realisation that much of the history of a building lies in its construction led me to do a two-year part-time course at the University of Oxford studying Vernacular Architecture. After that I continued my studies by studying for a BA in Landscape Studies at the University of Sussex, finally graduating in 2011. I have written articles for a number of local and national publications and am currently contributing a regular feature on historic buildings for the West Sussex Gazette. I also undertake freelance commissions for people wanting to discover the history of their own properties. 

Stella Elliot

I was born in East Anglia, where I worked on the administrative side of a printing and publishing firm. During a spell in London where I indulged my love of music and singing, I took up teaching Business Studies before marrying and later moving to Chichester. After moving to Sussex, I became more interested in history and my first piece of research was prompted by learning that the founder of the firm I had worked for was born in Chichester. I have been a member of WSAS since the 1980s and may be one of our longest standing members. 

Gillian Thompson

I am a Chartered Librarian and spent most of my career in international publishing. I moved to Chichester in 2007 and was Administrator for the Friends of Pallant House Gallery until 2014. 

Wendy Walker – County Archivist

I have been working in archives since graduating from the University of Southampton with a BA in Archaeology and History in 1976. I obtained my postgraduate archive qualification at University College London in 1978. My introduction to archives began at school, where I carried out a piece of original research at the Essex Record Office, as part of my A Level History exam. I then extended my research over the following summer for the Emmison Prize and thus began a life long passion for archives. I began my professional career as an archivist at the Essex Record Office in 1978 and moved to Lewes in 1993 to work at the East Sussex Record Office. At East Sussex, I worked as an archivist, records manager and latterly as the programme manager for The Keep, overseeing the exciting project to develop and build the new historical resource centre for East Sussex, Brighton & Hove and the University of Sussex, which was opened by the Queen and Prince Philip in 2013. I joined the staff at the West Sussex Record Office as County Archivist in 2013 and am delighted to be working with the West Sussex Archives Society in helping to preserve the wonderful archives of the county and making these rich and varied collections accessible to everyone. 

Jane Mant – Membership Secretary

Susan Nicel – Treasurer

Susan Millard – Information Manager

Sophie Wood – Webmaster & Editor of The Researcher

Ruth Brown, Jeff Staniforth  – Committee Members