The Manor of Tortington has been in existence for over nine hundred years. First recorded in 1066, it was valued at 60 shillings in the possession of a free man called Leofwine.
During the course of history the lands forming the 'Manor' have expanded and contracted as they have passed through the hands of many subsequent owners, landlords and tenants. Among this number were several Earls of Arundel and the religious community of the Augustinian Black Canons at Tortington Prior, whose estate encompassed Priory Farm and the Manor of Tortington. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 the land reverted to the crown.
The crown assigned the interest in the land and farm to a succession of courtiers until it was sold first in 1633 and again in 1669. The Weekes family who resided in the house at Priory Farm decided in 1699, to build a new residence on the site we now know as the Manor House, although at this time it was called Torton Place.
Torton Place was sold by Oliver Weekes in 1706 to William Leeves of Arundel whose descendants were to remain in possession of the estate for four generations, finally selling in 1837. William Leeves added a grander wing to the front of the building in 1739. It is this portion of the Manor House that still remains today, although it was remodelled in the early 19th century and has since had further additions and alterations culminating in complete internal remodelling by Sea Containers Properties during 2000 and 2001.
The Stable Block which formed three sides of a courtyard to the North-west of the manor House was constructed about 1780 and a drawing of the site in 1782 by S.H. Grimm clearly shows the Stable Block and Manor House looking much as it does today.
The Manor was sold once again in 1879 to the Duke of Norfolk, who let the estate to a succession of occupants. During the 19th century the property was known as Tortington House and was approached by Tortington Lane with its avenue of Horse Chestnut trees or by a cart track across the fields towards Priory Farm and Arundel.
Ford Road was constructed by the railway company in 1846 that had opened a line from Lyminster to Chichester. The station we now know as Ford was originally Arundel station and was provided with an Omnibus and Carriage service to connect it with the town by Mr. R Garwood, Proprietor of the Norfolk Hotel in Arundel. We must presume it was at this time that a new entrance to the estate was provided and the Gate House now known as Gate Lodge was constructed. In 1863 the railway opened new lines and stations at Littlehampton and Arundel with the old station being renamed Ford Junction.
Tortington House remained in private occupancy until just the First World War. The contents of the house were auctioned off in 1922 following the death of the last occupant and the house was converted for use as a Catholic boarding school for girls and again renamed.
Tortington Manor - The Early Years