Rev Arthur Thomas
Rev. Brockman preceded the longest serving Vicar, Rev. Arthur Thomas, (pictured below) who was the incumbent for 47 years. He was a member of the Pelham family, related to the Earls of Chichester.
Like Hooker he was a keen cricketer and huntsman and was known to slip on a surplice over his hunting vestments! There the similarity to Dr Hooker ends as he collaborated wholeheartedly with the Revenue Officers to stamp out smuggling.
In 1850 he purchased the land in front of The Grange and enclosed it with the flint wall you see today. Meanwhile, at the church, he oversaw Gilbert Scott’s renovation of 1856.
A sad incident involving the Vicar’s son was related in the local press on June 12th 1890. George Brooker Avery was driving a fly for a local family business run by Frederick Thomas. He took the son of the Vicar of Rottingdean to Lewes Races.
Awaiting the return journey George was struck by lightning on the box seat while the racing was in progress. His body was removed from the carriage to a nearby shed where a great throng gathered around him and an attempt was made to steal his scarf pin. The police thwarted the thief but he sadly managed to slip away in the crowd. George died soon after and is buried near the church door.
The next two incumbents, Francis Champney (1896 – 1899) and Fredrick Tower (1899 -1901) struggled to maintain the building. Eventually Rev. Arthur Wynne, (pictured above) who succeeded them, got permission from the Church Commissioners to find a more economical home as a vicarage.