The Marlipins Museum is a 14th century (or earlier) building in the High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, on the north side of the road. The facade on the front of  the building is a chequer-work of Caen stone. Early roof timbers are visible on the top floor.
    In 1346 the deeds described the building as a stone corner tenement called 'Malduppine' situated in the Otmarcat .....  The building was certainly older than this, although it is thought that its present form dated from 1330. 

    The initial estimate of the date of the building is estimated to be the 12th century with further construction in the late 13th/early 14th century with the Caen stone frontage, and repairs and reconstruction in the 15th century (roof), and 16th century (new timbers). It status as the oldest secular building in Britain isbased not on its oldest component part but the oldest complete building. 

    PS:  New evidence has emerged (from the demolition of the adjunct building and the construction of the new annexe) that the northern wall was originally constructed between 1167 and 1197* and that this was demolished and replaced by a new wall in the 15th century which now separates the original building from the 21st century modern addition. Some of the oak timbers in the building have been dendrochronologically dated to the late 12th century and are the oldest timbers in any building in Sussex (including churches). (*These could be re-used timbers from another building?)


Marlipin's Museum is open during the summer months (Tuesday to Saturday)


     Maritime Museum

      Tel: 01273 462994

    It is one of the oldest secular buildings in England. Notes.

    19th century postcard


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This may mean the oldest secular building in continual use (To differentiate it from unused barns dating back a long time). 

Its status as the oldest secular building in England is unlikely, and is because some of the flint wall on the east side is probably much earlier, possibly the 12th century. The oldest Deed it may be. 

The initial estimate of the date of the building is estimated to be the late 13th/early 14th century for most of the building. It status as the oldest secular building in Britain is based not on its oldest component part but the the oldest complete building still remaining in its original form.

The oldest secular buildings in England are probably Eastry Court near Sandwich, Kent, which dates  from AD 603. Also, the Marlipins  is not even the oldest building in West Sussex as Barton Manor, Pagham, has bits of the building dating from c. 800 AD (Guinness Book of Records 1991, p. 91). There is a timber-framed building in Horsham, West Sussex,  dendro-dated to 1295. 

Lighthouses may be older. 
Other buildings have not been investigated, although there is a Moated Manor House in West Bromwich dating back to the 13th century. 
Secular means non-religious. For the purpose of this distinction, castles and forts are also excluded. 
The Hospital of St. Cross (1136) in Winchester is a unique example of a medieval almshouse (charitable institution)  still maintained.
Some other medieval buildings:
Mermaid Inn, Rye (1420). St. George's Guildhall, King's Lynn (1406). Merchant Adventurers' Hall, York (1357). Chapter House (secular), Lincoln (1225). Ordsall Hall, Salford (1350). 
The Swan Inn, Fittleworth, Sussex , maintains it has been serving ale in the same inn since 1382. 
The "Fighting Cocks" PH at St. Albans, Herts has been dated to the 11th century. 
The "Royalist Hotel" at Stow-on-the Wold is dated to the 13th century and could be much older. 
Harnham Old Mill is older but was originally ecclesiastical. 

This page researched and compiled by Andy Horton

Name origin is too problematical to be ascertained with any measure of definition.
Suggestions are usually guess work,  e.g.  mardyke (historical record in ME) marl (building material, fertiliser) marlinspike (tool) all have the wrong spelling for the first record and are unlikely. 

My creative suggestion:

First record = Malduppine
Mal = bad, from the French and commonly adopted into the English language. (first known from the 16th century, 1510 malfortunate). 
du pine  = separated into two, so we have the last component -pine (ignoring the "pp" for the time being) =  pine, from the Latin pinus, or the OE pin. I think this may the origin of the French surname Dupin.


Why the "pp" if not just an Anglicized spelling mistake? One possibility is from Duppin in Scotland, in which a battle was fought, not long before the name Malduppine was first in the historical record.

Mal = bad (pine), may have been changed to mar = sea (pine). Timbers from a sea vessel rather than cut to order. 

This is not the final say and I am not a philologist, but I venture it is better than some suggestions?  There are at least a dozen suggestions that could be said as just as bad,
e.g. pins (small cask).

A major problem is the current medieval roof timbers are made of Oak. These may be the originals and they probably were, dating from at least the 14th century, and the earliest from the late 12th century. 

Name (notes):
Mèrlîn is a type of rope (compare: marlinspike) and mèrlespi is the word for the holes in the deck of a boat to drain water out.

Bell wheel from St. Mary de Havre Church