The Oxford book of place names gives the name Chidham as being derived from the Old English word CEOD, meaning a bag or pouch and HAM meaning a settlement. Chidham being therefore, the pouch-like bag settlement. It is thought the shape of the Chidham peninsula gives rise to the ‘pouch-like bag’ description. Unlike Chidham, HAM at the beginning of the name means a rock and therefore Hambrook refers to a place where the spring gushes from the rock.
Chidham is not mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086, being then included in the Bishop of Exeter’s estate of the Chapelry of Bosham. In 1121 Bishop Warlewaste of Exeter founded the College of Bosham with six prebends which were Bosham parochial, Appledram, Chidham, Funtington, Walton and Westbrook. It is doubtful whether the prebend of Chidham worked in the parish, as there was a separate vicarage of Chidham, Andrew Prous being the first recorded vicar in 1261.
The first mention of the Lord of the Manor of Chidham is in a document entitled “The Confirmatory Grant of the Chapelry”, dated 1243, naming the Bishop of Exeter as Lord of the Manor of Chidham and having small tenants, who were his servants, in the Hamlet of Westerton. By this time there were already three tithings, the other two being Middleton and Easton.
After the dissolution of the College of Bosham, the Bishop conveyed the Manor of Chidham to Thomas Fisher in 1548. Thomas then transferred it to Henry Bickley, in whose family it remained passing to his son Thomas and grandson Thomas, who died in 1640. It was subsequently bequeathed to Brewen Bickley, grandson of Henry and Cicely Ryman, and to their son Richard. Richard died before his father, whose estates passed to a younger son Henry, who died in 1707, leaving the Manor of Chidham to his son, another Henry, who sold it in 1714. It was apparently bought by Richard Lumley, Earl of Scarborough and descended with Westbourne until the death of Richard Barwell in 1805, after which is was sold to Edmund Woods. William Padwick owned the Manor in 1822 but sold it to Charles Cheesman some time before 1835, after which it passed to Alfred Cheesman, Andrew Hutton, John Henry Hortin and Viscount Gifford. Sophie, Lady Gifford, (widow of the 3rd Baron), was named as Lady of the Manor between 1915 and 1922, but it was in the hands of Albert Eadie in 1919. It was subsequently acquired by Lord Iveagh.
There is very little known about the parish in the 14th and 15th centuries, though encroachment of the sea is recorded in the Nonce Rolls of 1340, where it was noted that since 1291, the parishes of Chidham and Thorney had each lost twenty acres of arable and 20 acres of meadowland to the sea.
Read more about the History of Chidham and Hambrook.