Right Reverend Charles Manners-Sutton
It is hard to imagine anyone more comprehensively a part of the aristocracy than the Right Reverend Charles Manners-Sutton, D.D., who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1805 - 1828. His pedigree contains numerous Dukes, Earls, Knights of the Garter, and other lords and ladies.
The grandson of a Duke, and a nephew of the famous Marquis of Granby, he was himself a member of the House of Lords from 1792. His younger brother, a former Solicitor General, was created Baron Manners in 1807. Subsequently, the Archbishop's elder son, having served as Speaker of the Commons for 17 consecutive years, was also ennobled with the title of Viscount Canterbury.
Charles Manners-Sutton was also, via Lionel - a brother of the Black Prince - directly descended from Edward III, and therefore from William the Conqueror. Other ancestors include Ethelred the Unready and Saint Margaret of Scotland.
A Dean at the age of 36 and a Bishop at 37, he was nominated as Archbishop of Canterbury when still only 49. In view of his importance and his many other commitments, it seems surprising that he agreed to come to Bognor - at that time only a hamlet and a tithing of Bersted - to consecrate not a church, but merely a chapel of ease to the parish church. However, come he did.
The event was commemorated by two shields donated to the new
Chapel by Thomas Smith, the owner of Bersted Lodge (now Hotham Park House). The
first shield bore the arms of King George IV; the second, bearing those of the
Archbishop, is now in St. Wilfrid's Church. On it, the arms of the See of
Canterbury impale the personal arms of Manners-Sutton, as shown here:
Unfortunately, each side has been depicted slightly incorrectly. The Canterbury arms should have four, not five, black crosses - one on each arm and two on the upright of the Pall. On the Manners-Sutton side, the 1st and 4th quarters (for Sutton) should have the black canton taking up only about one ninth of the total area. In the 2nd and 3rd quarters (for Manners) the lower section ought to have a gold background with two blue bars, and not gold bars on red as shown.
Despite these inaccuracies, the shield is of historic importance to this Parish and to the town of Bognor Regis. It deserves better than the obscurity of the sacristy.
John Hawkins. September 2001