The name Hunston, originally spelt Hunestan, is literally translated from Old English as Huna’s stan or stone, which may refer to a boundary stone. There is a reference to the village in the Domesday Book, which gives details of the size and value of the land. It was held by one William on behalf of Earl Roger of Montgomery. At that time the village covered an area of 4 hides, or approximately 480 acres, and it was valued at 41s. The holding included one mill, 2 salt pans and 1 enclosure. However, prior to that time, there was a small Roman settlement here, as Roman remains have been found along the Selsey Road just to the south of the village. Unfortunately, these are not of great archaeological interest, consisting solely of some Roman ditches and the fragmentary remains of a Roman building.
The church was built in 1086 by Robert de Haye and he gave it to the Abbey of Lessay, in Normandy, in 1105. It remained under the control of Boxgrove Priory, on behalf of Lessay, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. By the end of the 18th Century it was in such a bad condition that it rapidly became a ruin. The building was finally demolished in 1885 and the present church was built.
There has been a house on the site of the Manor since the mid to late Saxon period, and by 1518 it is recorded as belonging to the Earl of Arundel. The existing manor house was built sometime between 1660 and 1680, partly from stone brought up from Selsey and partly from stone imported from elsewhere. According to local records, part of the existing Rectory was also built at this time.
Hunston village itself was not built until the middle of the 20th Century. Until then, it consisted of the buildings along Church Lane and a small scattering of dwellings along the main road. The canal was built, as you probably know, in the early 1820s, and in 1871 much of the common land in the village was enclosed. A map drawn up in 1899 shows a scattering of cottages, watercress beds, a brick field and associated buildings to the west and north of Pages Farm, and the tramway.Some of the most interesting features of the village’s recent history were recorded in the Reverend Edward Outram’s photographic record of Mundham, Runcton and Hunston. There are photographs of The Spotted Cow when it was an alehouse, and its landlady in the 1920s, Mrs Eliza Jestico. There are a number of photographs of pupils at the school in Mundham, and especially one of a particular sports day. This shows a number of schoolboys on their bicycles, of whom we have been able to identify Big Ben, Dave Marley, Vic Cox, John Talman and Charlie, many of whom are still living in the village.