ARUNDEL, a market town and municipal borough in the Chichester parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 58 m. S.S.W. from London by the London, Brighton & South Coast railway. Pop. (1901) 2739. It is pleasantly situated on the slope of a hill above the river Arun, which is navigable for small vessels to Littlehampton at the mouth, 6 m. south. From the summit of the hill rises Arundel Castle, which guarded the passage along the river through the hills. For its connexion with the title of earl of Arundel see Arundel, Earldom of. A castle existed in the time of King Alfred, and at the time of the Conquest it was rebuilt by Roger de Montgomerie, but it was taken from his son, who rebelled against the reigning monarch, Henry I. In 1397 it was the scene of a conspiracy organized by the earl of Arundel, archbishop of Canterbury and duke of Gloucester, to dethrone Richard II. and murder the lords of his council, a plot which was discovered before it could be carried into execution. During the civil wars of the 17th century, the stronghold was frequently assaulted by the contending parties, and consequently greatly damaged; but it was restored by Charles, 11th duke of Norfolk (d. 1815), who made it what it now is, one of the most splendid baronial mansions in England. Extensive reconstruction, in the style of the 13th century, was undertaken towards the close of the 19th century. The town, according to the whimsical etymology shown on the corporation seal, takes its name from hirondelle (a swallow). The town hall is a castellated building, presented to the corporation by the duke of Norfolk. The church of St Nicholas, founded about 1375, is Perpendicular with a low tower rising from the centre. In the north aisle of the chancel there are several ancient monuments of the earls of Arundel. The church is otherwise remarkable for its reredos and iron work. The chancel is the property of the duke of Norfolk and is screened from the rest of the building, although in 1880 this exercise of right by the owner was made the subject of an action at law and subsequent appeal. The Roman Catholic church of St Philip Neri was built by the duke of Norfolk (1873). Some remains of a Maison Dieu, or hospital, erected in the time of Richard II., still exist. The borough is under a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 2053 acres.
The first mention of Arundel (Harundell) comes as early as 877, when it was left by King Alfred in his will to his nephew Æthelm. In the time of Edward the Confessor the town seems to have consisted of the mill and a fortification or earthwork which was probably thrown up by Alfred as a defence against the Danes; but it had increased in importance before the Conquest, and appears in Domesday as a thriving borough and port. It was granted by the Conqueror to Roger de Montgomery, who built the castle on the site of the ancient earthwork. From very early times markets were held within the borough on Thursday and Saturday, and in 1285 Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, obtained a grant of two annual fairs on the 14th of May and the 17th of December. The borough returned two members to parliament from 1302 to 1832 when the Reform Act reduced the membership to one; in 1868 it was disfranchised altogether. There are no early charters extant, but in 1586 Elizabeth acknowledged the right of the mayor and burgesses to be a body corporate and to hold a court for pleas under forty shillings, two weekly markets and four annual fairs - which rights they claimed to have exercised from time immemorial. James II. confirmed in 1688 a charter given two years before, and incorporated the borough under the title of a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 burgesses. The town was half destroyed by fire in 1338, but was soon rebuilt. Arundel was formerly a thriving seaport, and in 1813 was connected by canal with London.
See M.A. Tierney, The History and Antiquities of the Castle and Town of Arundel (London, 1834); Victoria County History - Sussex.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)