Henry Bickley of Chidham

Henry Bickley was born 1502/3, the son of Thomas Bickley of Portsmouth by his wife Anne Deporte.  He probably started his career as a shipowner.  During the reign of Edward VI he was a Surveyor of Victuals at Portsmouth.  In 1549 he bought the manors of Chidham and Thorney.  He inherited large amounts of property in Portsmouth and at the time of his death was the largest property owner in Portsmouth.  In 1564 Bickley was one of the towns champions in its conflict with the Captain of Portsmouth - Sir Adrian Poynings.

Henry Bickley wrote his will in 1565 declaring that he was in good and perfect memory and mind but in fear for his life.  He goes on to name Sir Adrian Poynings as the person he believes will be perpetrator of his murder.  Henry Bickley died 15th December 1570 and his request was that he was to be buried within the Chancel of the Parish Church of Chidham.  His marble tomb can still be seen in St. Mary's Church today.  Henry clearly lived for another 5 years from the date of his will and died about age 68.  There is no record of his death being anything other than natural causes.  

Read Henry Bickley's Last Will & Testament


Honor Wayte of Chidham

She was one of six daughters of William Wayte of Wymering. Her father died in 1561 leaving Wymering and other lands in Hampshire to be equally divided between his daughters. Honor Wayte married her cousin, another William Wayte who pre-deceased her. When Honor died at Chidham in 1600 she granted her interest in a 5000 year lease she acquired in 1594 to her trustees for a messuage, orchard and garden in Cosham upon which she had built a poor house for four poor women with the intent that the premises should remain forever a dwelling house for the poor women of Wymering or Wickham. In addition, she left a legacy paying 30 shillings a year, forever, to each of the poor women who was resident in her poor house in Cosham. 

She also left a bequest of 20 shillings a year, forever, for the relief of the poor of the parish of Wymering to paid out of her manor of Denmead, on condition that the Overseers or Churchwardens only pay relief to those poor aged, impotent, needy and sick that are of honest conversation and behaviour and not to any lewd people. She also left a similar bequest of 20 shillings a year, forever, for the relief of the poor of Chidham, the poor of Southwick and the poor of Wickham with the same proviso. Remarkably, after over 400 years, Honor Wayte’s current Trustees are still paying the bequest to Chidham Church. Wayte Cottages off Chidham Lane is named after her, as is Wayte Street in Cosham.

Her will is a fascinating document with an unusually large number of bequests to family and friends of money, clothes, jewelry and other precious metal items. She requested that four poor women from Cosham, 2 poor women from Wymering and 4 poor women from Chidham should have gowns made of the finest cloth at sixteen shillings a yard for them to attend her funeral. A lengthy part of her will deals with ensuring that her wishes are carried out. It is well worth a read.  Read Honor Wayte's Last Will & Testament


Edmund Woods

Edmund Woods owned Manor Farm in Cot Lane, Chidham in the late 18th century.  Following the death of Richard Barwell Esq. in 1805, Edmund Woods bought the manor of Chidham from the Trustees of the Barwell estate.  Around 1790 he had discovered 'Chidham Wheat'.  A single plant growing in a hedgerow, it was found to have a higher milling quality than most "squarehead" cultivars.  More correctly known as "Chidham Red" it was almost extinct but has been brought back to life as a 'Heritage Wheat' in Surrey because of it's superior flavour.


Major Beale of Cobnor

Sydney William Phipson Beale was born in 1875, the son of James Beale, a successful solicitor from London.  Sydney was educated at Harrow and Trinity College Oxford and was called to the Bar in 1900 when he started practicing law.  He joined the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment as a Territorial Reserve and in 1901 volunteered for service in the 2nd Boer War in South Africa.  He joined the fight against the Boers then, at the end of the war, returned to England in 1902 and resumed practising law in London. 

During the First World War he was mobilised along with the 4th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment and posted to Newhaven on coastal defence reinforcement duties until April 1915.  In July 1915 he was posted to the Dardanelles where he joined the fight against the Turks at Gallipoli until they were evacuated in December 1915.  He then took part in the Middle East Campaign until June 1918. 

Sydney married Margaret Crookshank in 1912 and in 1918 they bought Cobnor House and Farm.  After the war, he gave up law and moved permanently to Cobnor where he became immersed in farming.   Read more about Major Beale


Charles Goodger

Charles Goodger was born 27th February 1881, the son of William Joseph Goodger, a Butcher from West Ashling and his wife Georgina Packham.  He married Margaret Weston at Westbourne in 1907 and they moved to Manor Farm, Chidham in 1918.  Charles became one of the most well known figures in the Village, being involved in many different aspects of Village life.  He farmed at Manor Farm until his death in 1967 and is buried in the Churchyard at St. Mary's Church, Chidham.  Charles was the first chairman of the Village Hall committee when the old Malt House became the Village Hall in 1932.  He still has the distinction of being the longest ever serving chairman of the committee serving continuously for 25 years until 1957.


Gino Virgilio

Gino Virgilio - An Italian national born 30th October 1886.  He was the chief pilot and resident instructor at the Wells Aviation School of Flying at Cobnor Aerodrome in 1917 and had been recruited from the Beatty School at Hendon Aerodrome.  The Wells company had acquired land at Cobnor in late 1916 but it was short lived and was put into liquidation by May 1917.  Gino Virgilio went on to operate a motor car repair works in Chidham and lived at "Malabar" in Broad Road.  This property was the largest in Hambrook and is now Hambrook Meadows Care Home.   By 1939 Gino had changed career completely and had set up 'Gino Nursery' at Guildford Road, Letherhead and gave his ocupation as 'Vegetable Grower'.  Read more about Wells Aviation


Peter Baldwin - Actor

Peter Francis Baldwin was born 29th July 1933 at Chidham, the son of Schoolmaster William Joseph Baldwin and his wife Frances.  They lived at Yaverland, Chidham Lane until his father was called up for service during WWII.  Peter attended Horsham Grammar School then did national service in the Army.  After training to be an actor as the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, he joined the West of England Theatre Company.  He made several appearances in films until he landed a major role in the TV comedy series "Girls About Town".  In 1976 he joined the cast of Coronation Street intermittently playing the character of Derek Wilton before returning as a regular character in 1988, but his character was killed off in 1997.

He continued to make appearances on talk shows and quiz shows but in 1988 he took over ownership of Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop in Covent Garden where he had worked previously between acting jobs.  He was married to the former "Play School" presenter Sarah Long until her death in 1987.  Peter died at home in Hampstead, North London aged 82 after a short battle with cancer.