East Preston and Kingston Census information 1801-1831
by R W Standing of East Preston 2004

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Analysis of Census Returns 1801 to 1831

The early census returns were taken as head counts of the population, by local enumerators, and only general statistics survive.


Day of census 10th March 1801

The first attempt to count the population of England was in the nature of a trial, and the results of the 1801 census were viewed with suspicion.  It can readily be shown that some of the statistics published in the abstracts, which is all that survives, are unreliable.  The enumerators had their own interpretations of the various categories in which people were placed.


Poling Hundred consisted of twelve parishes, including both East Preston and Kingston. The total population calculated was only 3330 people, which is less than that for East Preston alone at this day.  With the small numbers, the absence of a few families could make a considerable difference in villages averaging under 300 inhabitants.


The census abstract has the following categories.

HOUSES, inhabited and uninhabited, but with no instructions as to whether a house was a dwelling separated by party walls, or merely deemed so in the local rates.

FAMILIES, but with no distinction between the traditional extended family, and the nuclear family.

OCCUPATIONS, in three categories for the numbers in Agriculture, Trade and Handicrafts, and All Others.


The least problem was the enumeration of males and females and overall total population. However those absent from the area, or visitors into the area, were not considered.   It is a matter of conjecture how careful the enumerators were, in finding all the families and getting accurate counts of their numerous children.


A major mistake was in not calculating large institutions, such the WORKHOUSE, separately.  This is one reason why the figures for East Preston are of little value until this is allowed for.


The eccentricity of the numbers is illustrated in OCCUPATIONS.  At Kingston with a population of 53, 16 were in agriculture, none in trade, and 3 in other occupations, with only male employment included.  While in North Stoke, with a population of 48, 45 were in agriculture, 1 in trade, and 2 others, making it appear everyone from babies upwards were in employment.   Then in Angmering 59 agriculturists, and 120 in trade, were perhaps male adults, with 529 others being the whole remaining population.


In East Preston, 28 people were in agriculture, and 20 in trade, presumably representing all employed males.  The remaining 122 inhabitants were not categorised, but most of them were undoubtedly paupers in the workhouse.


The primary question for East Preston, and of interest for the neighbourhood, is what part of the 170 total population was truly village, and what part workhouse paupers taken from several local parishes.


The UNION of local parishes, was founded in 1791 under Gilbert's Act of 1782.  It incorporated the five parishes of Littlehampton, Goring, Ferring, Burpham, and East Preston, shortly joined by Leominster.  In 1799 the number increased to 12.  1803 to 16, and in 1806 to the final total of 19 parishes.  It remained under the Gilbert constitution despite pressure for reform after the 1834 Act, and continued until 1869 when reconstituted and a new workhouse built.  Some degree of outdoor relief continued after 1834, and numbers in the house were seldom large, with 2 or 3 from East Preston the norm.   Kingston did not enter the Union until 1869.


Surviving records of the workhouse are not all they might be, but the Treasurer's Books provide monthly averages for paupers in the house from 1798, WG2/1.  There is also a useful Register of Births from 1792, WG2/6, and a register of paupers in the house from 1820, WG2/4.  The monthly averages either state the number of paupers present during four or five weeks, or the number of pauper/weeks, from which an estimate for the actual inmate numbers may be made.  Clearly such an estimate is a an average and not a daily record, and numbers resident on census day may have been more or less.


The 1801 census took place on March 10th, and the number of paupers recorded at the 2nd March was extremely high, at 87 from the 12 parishes.  Of these 9 were from East Preston, which is a large figure compared to the later norm.  A month later and the numbers were still at a high level.  Therefore it must be assumed that 87, or slightly fewer inmates were included in the census for East Preston, in addition to the workhouse staff of the governor and family.  This would seem to indicate that the true Village had little more than 83 inhabitants present, a lower number than would otherwise be estimated.


HUNDRED of POLING 1801 Census

501 inhabited houses                 621 families                               3330 people

Hundred:           average household 6.65 people.  1.24 families      average family 5.36.

The range in family size between the parishes was 4.75 to 6.32 ignoring Kingston.

For the Hundred without Littlehampton.  389 houses, 499 families, 2746 people.

11 Villages:       average household 7.06                          1.28 families      average family 5.50                   


In East Preston one "house" was clearly the workhouse containing one "family".

EAST PRESTON 1801 Census

16 inhabited houses                   21 families                                 170 people

deduction from previous notes:

15 Village houses                      20 Village families                      83 minimum Village population

            Comprising 20 dwellings

1 Workhouse                             1 "family"                                  87 inmates and officers

True village population 83 min., average family 4.15 min.


However, if the minimum family size for the Hundred of 4.75 is taken it would make a Village population of 95 more likely.  It is not known who the 9 inmates taken in from East Preston were, but if all the poor widows and old men living on their own had been included, this would make the average family size in the village larger than would otherwise be the case. In any case if 9 is added to the 83 it would make the real Village population over 90.  In 1841 the village had 31 genuine households and 154 people.  This compares with 21 families in 1801, which would suggest about 100 people at that time.


KINGSTON 1801 Census

7 inhabited houses                     8 families                                  53 people

Two of the houses were the Olliver mansion at West Kingston and the old manor house in eastern Kingston.


DEFENCE of the REALM ACT 1801 - Census

The Napoleonic invasion scares gave rise to plans for the total evacuation of this coastal region of Sussex.  Numerous schedules were made of livestock, vehicles, and people, with what is superficially a population census taken in October 1801.  As such it would be an invaluable supplement to the March census, but that examination reveals it to be incomplete in its statistics.  The schedules do not provide a population total for the area, or any village, as the male age group between 7 and 15 years is lacking.  There is a full age range for women, including "children at breast" but the total falls short of the number of females given by the March census for the Hundred.  There are also local oddities as with Littlehampton, where only 42 men were given as fit for active service out of a total population of some 584, although many men may already have been in the marine and armed forces.


There are two sets of figures which may be employed as a check on population for late 1801.  The number of men, both fit and unfit, aged 15 to 60.  A group which might have amounted to 25% of the population , on the basis of later census statistics.

Then there is the number of children below 7 years of age, which might have amounted to 20% of total population.

In East Preston presumably the workhouse governor would have been included in the figures, and almost all the accounted 25 men fit for service would have been in the village, while probably not all the 4 unfit were in the workhouse.


Poling Hundred men fit and unfit x 4 to represent total parish populations in late 1801.

Angmering                     174       x          4          696                   708 in March census

Burpham                       54         x          4          216                   201

Ferring                          54                                 216                   238

Kingston                       13                                 52                     53

North Stoke                   17                                 68                     48

East Preston                 23                                 100                   ?

Warningcamp                30                                 120                   121

Goring                           98                                 392                   419

Leominster                    73                                 292                   357

Poling                           40                                 160                   170

Rustington                     58                                 232                   261

Littlehampton                 53+100?                        612                   584

Poling Hundred              693       x          4          3172                 3330 in March census


Figures derived from the number of children for each parish aged under 7 provides similar results, when multiplied by 5

Angmering 127 children. Burpham 46.                  Ferring 35.         Kingston 11.      North Stoke 5.              East Preston 44.            Warningcamp 25.          

Goring 77.                                 Leominster 84.               Poling 26.          Rustington  38               Littlehampton 103.

Poling Hundred 621 x 5             = 3105.


The figure for East Preston of 44 children is distorted by the large number in the workhouse, from several parishes.  The figure derived from men is more reliable as very few men were taken into the workhouse at that time.


However the figures are worked out, there would still seem to be fewer people in the invasion census than the earlier regular census, anything up to 15% or more of the population, and with wide variations parish to parish.  Error rather than an actual reduction is most likely at a time of rapid growth.


The invasion figures include 247 women with babies together with incapacitated women, and so the invasion total can be increased by say 200.  Nevertheless it is much lower than the census figure, overall.  There are also very peculiar parish returns, such as Littlehampton having only 81 women above 7 years old and another 81 women with babies.




Poling Hundred female population in late 1801 compared to early 1801 census.

Census                                     Invasion Census

Angmering                     344                                           275                               80%

Burpham                       89                                             94                                 106%

Ferring                          115                                           89                                 77%

Kingston                       22                                             17                                 77%

North Stoke                   23                                             21                                 91%

East Preston                 90                                             88                                 98%

Warningcamp                60                                             16                                 27%     

Goring                           219                                           198                               90%

Leominster                    172                                           159                               92%

Poling                           78                                             59                                 76%

Rustington                     130                                           89                                 68%

Littlehampton                 318                                           189                               59%

Hundred Total                1660                                         1294                             78% 



What constituted a family, and what a house, is not as obvious as it is today.  The traditional family was really the whole household, including the nuclear family of parents and children, together with other relations and companions, and living-in servants.   This is what the census enumerators almost certainly were counting, what we would term the household.  As to the house, party walls were a luxury in many a building, and where an old farmstead became reduced to cottages, the division between them was any convenient partition.  If the parish decided to rate the building as two dwellings, then it became two houses.


Although Kingston had only 7 houses, almost all of these have since gone, and it is difficult to reconstitute the village from documentary evidence.   What is now Kingston Manor was then West Kingston, and the other major farmstead was at East Kingston, with one or two cottages in attendance.  The remaining cottages were in Peak Lane, the old Street of the village largely lost into the sea.


There is just enough archaeological evidence to reconstitute the village of East Preston, with some accuracy.  Most of the houses that must have been accounted either exist today, or did so within recent human memory. Those that can be named with some certainty are the Corner House later replaced by Preston Place;  Forge Cottage, Wistaria, Manor House, House on the Bend, Old Yews, Baytree House, Rosery or Alma Cottage, Winters, Boxtree, Baytree Cottage, Beehives, and the Homestead.  These 13 farmsteads, together with the workhouse, constituted virtually all the 16 houses of the census.  Just two additional cottages are needed.  One of these may have been a cottage in Two Acres south of the present cricket field, made infamous in the Bushby arson case of 1830, which disappeared before the 1841 census.


It is of interest that the Defence of the Realm census, included a schedule of private ovens for baking bread.  Littlehampton was credited with only 16, but the villages were more fortunate, with as many ovens as houses.   Angmering with 79, Ferring 39, Kingston 7, and East Preston 15.  This may have included the workhouse which had a large bakehouse for its own use.   As would be expected the old farmsteads of the village all had their ovens, the other one or two cottages were unlikely to have had that luxury.  However, it is evidence that the houses named above did in fact exist in 1801.


East Preston proper had 20 families in these 15 houses, and the workhouse in addition.  Evidence suggests the Manor House was used as two dwellings, as was Boxtree, and Beehives as three.  The number of families indeed represents the real number of dwellings as used.




1801     Houses assumed to have existed in 1801 - mainly ancient houses and workhouse

2 - Corner House [later Preston Place]                 existence as one dwelling undoubted      

4 - Forge Cottage 1                                            ditto

5 - Forge Cottage 2                                            possible

7 - Wistaria Cottage                                           existence undoubted one dwelling probable

9 - Manor House                                                existence undoubted two dwellings probable

10 - House on Bend                                           existence undoubted one dwelling probable

14 - Old Yews                                                    existence as one dwelling undoubted

15 - Baytree House                                            ditto

17 - The Rosery or Alma                          ditto

19 - Winters                                                      ditto                 

29 - Boxtree Cottages                                        existence undoubted two dwellings probable

32 - Baytree Cottage                                          existence as one dwelling undoubted

36 - Beehive Cottages                                        existence undoubted three dwellings probable

38 - The Homestead                                           existence as one dwelling undoubted

39 - Homestead Cottages                                   existence undoubted probably two dwellings

      Bushby Cottage possibly existed but had gone soon after 1830                                              

53 - Union Workhouse "Poor House"                   undoubted


Day of census 27th May 1811

Abstracts for 1811 were not available locally ten years ago, but have now been obtained from Brighton History Centre.  With the Union now 19 parishes strong an increase of inmates at the workhouse may be expected, but the averages indicate that there may only have been 66 paupers in the house, plus officers,.  East Preston had 218 inhabitants in all, and Kingston 42.  Therefore the East Preston village population may have been around 150, a great increase on 1801.  Locally the average parish had increased 17% in the decade, with Littlehampton in the forefront at over 50%.  There was nothing remarkable about East Preston to account for the increase, other than some very minimal trade associated with the workhouse, although the estimated 1801 population was suspiciously low. 


New building was undoubtedly taking place, but quite minimal.  Preston Cottage was built by John Slater about 1810, and in the same year William Olliver built the pair of model cottages, Jasmin and Apple Tree.  While Baker of Baytree Cottage may already have built the pair of cottages later to become a terrace called North Lane Cottages.  These five dwellings would certainly have expanded capacity in the village substantially adding to the previous 16.  But it is also likely that several of that 16 which had been single farmhouses at an early date were now treated as two or more cottages, being occupied by labourers, such as Beehives.


HUNDRED of POLING 1811 Census

623 inhabited houses                 810 families                               3893 people

Hundred:           average household 6.25 people.  1.30 families      average family 4.81.

The range in family size between the parishes was 4.20 to 4.99

For the Hundred without Littlehampton.  464 houses, 619 families, 3011 people.

11 Villages:       average household 6.49                          1.33 families      average family 4.86                   

During the past decade population in the Hundred had increased by 17%, with Littlehampton way in front at 50%.  





EAST PRESTON 1811 Census

24 inhabited houses                   26 families                                 218 people

22 families in farming                  4 family trade                             0 other occupations

deduction from previous notes:

23 Village houses                      25 Village families                      150 Village population

1 Workhouse                             1 "family"                                  65 inmates plus officers

22         Village families as farmers and labourers

3          Village families blacksmith etc

1          Family of paupers

True village population 150 max, average family 6.00 max.

This last family size seems unlikely and it is probable that on the day of the census there were more than 65 inmates at the workhouse, with less villagers than 150.   The arrival of the Coast Blockade men was still ten years away. A village population of 125 would seem more likely.



10 inhabited houses                   0 uninhabited houses                 10 families         42 people

9          as farmers and labourers

1          other                


Day of census 28th May 1821

The situation in East Preston now becomes even more complicated.  From the workhouse accounts there were in the order of 55 inmates plus officers in that establishment during May.  With a whole parish population of 259 that signifies that the village proper had now expanded to some 200 people, a remarkably increase in a decade in which the local average was 18%. 


By 1820 the church registers had begun to include baptisms to "mariner" families, not previously notable in the village.  Some of these had outlandish names, of West Country and Irish origin.  It indicates that the "Blockade" had arrived, forerunner of the Coast Guards.  Deeds have been discovered that record HM Customs building their cottages in 1822, a year after the census, but it must be assumed the men had already been arriving a couple of years previously, although how they were quartered is unknown.  It is even conceivable that the deeds were retrospective with the cottages already built in 1820.


The census abstracts are similar to those for 1801, but slightly more informative, giving the occupations of families, that is the head of household.  34 families now occupied 30 houses, with 28 in agriculture, 1 in trade, and 5 otherwise employed. 


It is evident that the workhouse continued to be treated as one house and one family, and now the mariners were treated in the same way, as one family in their one composite house or row of cottages.  This is not pure speculation, since this is how the coastguard cottages were referred to in later rate books and census returns.


The village therefore contained 28 houses, 1 workhouse, and 1 blockade house.  The true village comprised 28 houses with 32 families.  But if the mariners are included there may well have been 42 families in all, plus the workhouse.  It might be estimated that the whole population was split between the workhouse with under 60 inmates and officers, under 50 mariners family members, and around 150 in the true village.  Thus making the average size of the family in the village commensurate with the Poling Hundred average.





HUNDRED of POLING 1821 Census

732 inhabited houses                 892 families                               4606 people

Hundred:           average household 6.29 people.  1.22 families      average family 5.16.

The range in family size between the parishes was 4.37 to 5.42 ignoring Kingston.

For the Hundred without Littlehampton.  527 houses, 668 families, 3440 people.

11 Villages:       average household 6.52                          1.27 families      average family 5.15                   

During the past decade population in the Hundred had increased by 18%, with Littlehampton way in front at 32%. 


EAST PRESTON 1821 Census

30 inhabited houses                   34 families                                 259 people

28 families in farming                  1 family trade                             5 other occupations

deduction from previous notes:

28 Village houses                      32 Village families                      150 Village population

1 Workhouse                             1 "family"                                  55 inmates plus officers

1 Blockade House                      1 "family"                                  50 people

28         Village families as farmers and labourers

1          Village family blacksmith trade

1          Family of mariners

1          Family of paupers

3          families of gentry

True village population about 150, average family  4.69



9 inhabited houses                     3 uninhabited houses                 10 families         43 people

8          as farmers and labourers

2          in trade

0          others              

It may be deduced that one or two families were away, and one of these a gentry establishment such as Messrs Olliver of West Kingston, explaining the uninhabited houses and lack of "others".   However a slight increase in number of houses may have been due to the building of Lighthouse Cottages and perhaps more new cottages.


Day of census 30th May 1831

The matter of the coastguard family is resolved at last in 1831, after the Blockade service had been taken over by the Coast Guard.  ADM175/5 at the PRO indicates that the total complement of the Goring and Kingston station [East Preston really] as 14, with 10 as the usual number stationed at East Preston.


The census abstracts now have 43 families occupying 30 houses, 2 others uninhabited.  26 heads of household in agriculture, 3 in trade, and the large total of 14 others.  With a total population of 242.


These peculiar figures can be resolved.  28 occupied houses were in the true Village, 1 more the workhouse, and another the Coast Guard House. 


Of the 14 "other" families, 10 were coastguards in their "house", and another presumably the workhouse governor.   All the others, 32 of various sorts, were true Villagers occupying its 28 houses.


In about May and June, the workhouse had 44 inmates plus the governor's family.  This leaves rather over 195 people in the village, of which perhaps 46 were coastguards.  The true Village had about 150 people, making the average family size similar to that for Poling Hundred generally.   The village was already much as it would be very fully detailed in the 1841 census.


There are more details in this abstract concerning an estimated 75 males aged 20 years and above.  The notable feature is that 28 of them were not in agriculture, trade, handicraft, or capitalists.   There were only 38 more of these "others" in the whole Poling Hundred.  The mariners and workhouse is again hidden away in the statistics.


HUNDRED of POLING 1831 Census

948 inhabited houses                 1048 families                             5282 people

Hundred:           average household 5.57 people.  1.11 families      average family 5.04

The range in family size between the parishes was 4.61 to 5.25 ignoring Kingston.

For the Hundred without Littlehampton.  656 houses, 738 families, 3657 people.

11 Villages:       average household 5.57                          1.12 families      average family 4.96                   

During the past decade population in the Hundred had increased by 15%, with Littlehampton way in front at 39%.


EAST PRESTON 1831 Census

30 inhabited houses                   2 uninhabited                 43 families                                 242 people

26 families in farming                  3 family trade                             14 other occupations

deduction from previous notes:

28 Village houses                      32 Village families                      150 Village population

1 Workhouse                             1 "family"                                  44 inmates plus officers

1 Blockade House                      10 families                                 46 people

26         Village families as farmers and labourers

3          Village family trade

10         Family of mariners

1          Family of paupers

3          families of gentry

True village population about 150, average family  4.69


75 males of age 20 and above

6          agriculturalist employers

0          agriculturalists without employees

30         ag. labourers

0          labourers in manufacture

3          labourers not in agriculture

4          retail or handicraft employed and employers

4          capitalists and bankers etc

28         others - not servants.

0          male servants

5          female servants



11 inhabited houses                   11 families         61 people

11         as farmers and labourers

0          in trade

0          others              


RW Standing 2004

40 Sea Rd EP Sussex