Steyning Church is dedicated to St. Andrew, but it was founded in the 8th Century by St. Cuthman.  In AD 858, Steyning was under the patronage of the Royal House of Wessex and in that year King Ethelwulf, father of King Alfred, was buried there; but his remains were later transferred to Winchester.

The present building dates from the 11th Century and its special feature is the "chequer" design on the wall of the Tower.

Steyning has been a home to the Woolgar family since at least 1323 when a John WOLGAR and his wife Joan purchased 6 acres of land in Bonketon (the hamlet of Buncton near Wiston).  In 1347 a John WOLGAR of Steyning was pardoned for murder by Edward III in recognition of his service at the Battle of Crecy.

There are 11 separate memorials to the Woolgar Family in Steyning Churchyard, commemorating a total of 23 individuals.  I have drawn a sketch map showing the approximate position of each Woolgar memorial in the churchyard and can also supply a transcript of the inscription on each of those headstones.  If you are intending to visit Steyning Church and would like a copy of the map to aid your visit, please contact me.

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Headstone of Josias WOOLGAR & Barbara MARSHALL

Josias WOOLGAR and his second wife Barbara are buried together in Steyning Churchyard. The inscription reads:

"Sacred to the memory of Barbara wife of Josias Woolger who departed this life Jany 13th 1845.
In memory of Josias Woolger who departed this life June 3rd 1841 aged 67 years".

Josias WOOLGAR was the son of Josiah WOOLGAR and Rebecca BATMAN and he was baptised at Henfield on 26 March 1773.  His first wife was Sarah SOUCH whom he married on 06 May 1806 at Henfield, but she died the following year and was buried at Henfield on 06 Jan 1807.  Josias then married Barbara MARSHALL on 19 October 1807 at Steyning and they had three children, Richard baptised in 1809 who married Elizabeth Shoesmith MORRIS in 1837; Barbara baptised in 1813 who married William SIDDERS; and Elizabeth who was born about 1815 and died a spinster in 1852.

Their daughter Elizabeth is buried close by and an image of her headstone has also been included on this web site.  You can see a transcript of the Will of Josias and the Letters of Administration for Elizabeth on our Wills page.

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Elizabeth WOOLGER

The inscription reads:
"Sacred to the memory of Elizth daughter of Josias and Barbara Woolger who departed this life in London May 10th 1852 aged 37 years".

However, the Steyning burial register provides the additional details that Elizabeth died in Bethlehem Hospital.  This notorious hospital was the Bethlehem (or Bethlem) Royal Hospital and was located in Lambeth at that time and became known locally as "Bedlam" because of the manic screams that emanated from its walls.  It housed people suffering from mental illnesses, including the criminally insane, in conditions that we would consider as barbaric today.  This hospital was relocated to Addington in 1930, but the central block of the Lambeth site remains and today it is the home of the Imperial War Museum.

When Elizabeth died, she owned £600 pounds and her brother Richard obtained Letters of Administration to deal with her Estate.  A transcript of this Administration and a transcript of her father's Will can be seen on our Wills page.

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Last updated 24 March 2014
© Marion Woolgar