Seeking the medieval village of Parham
Although the medieval village of Parham was cleared and its inhabitants moved to nearby Rackham as recently as 1778-9; no record exists of where the village stood within the parish of Parham, or of where buildings that belonged to the monastic grange of Westminster Abbey might have been located. Geophysical surveys in 2006 and 2008 have provided tantalising clues about the nature of the site when Robert Palmer acquired it in 1540 and during the following three centuries. The surveys identified some features which suggest the area has been occupied perhaps since prehistoric times.
The geophysical survery and trial excavations carried out in the picnic area to the east of the house identified a series of damp, roughly circular features. These features could represent rubbish pits or the result of water pooling in the centre of rooms where houses may have stood. At the very least these findings seem to represent fragmentary evidence of occupation, if not the site of the medieval village of Parham.
The area south-west of the house was surveyed in 2008 by the Worthing Archaeological Society, and a number of features associated with the medieval parish church were identified. Within an area of drier ground, rows of damp, rectilinear, low resistance features almost certainly represent the grave cuts of its churchyard.
There were also discoveries that could suggest the previous existance of a pre-1578 house, whose site lay within the footprint of the present house, or at least a garden wall belonging to a phase before the lawn and ha-ha were laid out.
Despite the limited success of an initial campaign of excavations, it is hoped that further work might lead to the discovery of medieval pottery in the excavation trenches, and that Parham's lost medieval village might eventually be found.