Our History

The Romans, having left in approximately the year 400, were followed in the year 477 by Ella. Ella arrived with her three sons and created the land of the South Saxons, with the capital being Selsey. In 680 Wilfrid arrived - bringing with him Christianity.He became our first Bishop, being followed by another 22. William, having landed in Hastings decided to move the See to Chichester.Legend has it that the Cathedral in Selsey was washed out to sea. The parish church was originally at Norton but between 1864 and 1866 the Nave was moved to the present position of St Peter’s.The chancel was left behind and is now known as St Wilfrid’s Chapel.The peninsula was once an island with a ferry.The ferryman was paid, in 1661, four bushels of barley and was allowed to collect a halfpenny from each traveller.The causeway was completed in 1809 and from 1897 to 1935 Selsey had its own light railway,the Selsey Tram. Some of the carriages can be seen at East Beach where they have been converted into residences.During WWI a Listening Post was built at East Beach to provide an early warning of approaching zepplins.The structure is an acoustic mirror built of concrete and shaped like a dish.It is still at EastBeach in what is now a Grade 2 listed building. During May 1943 RAF Selsey, which was situated at Church Norton, was established as an advanced landing ground. During the invasion it played an important part in the air cover of the beaches. A spitfire from RAF Selsey was responsible for shooting down the first German aircraft on D Day.Prior to the D Day invasion the pre-fabricated Mulberry Harbours were stored in Selsey. The sections that were sunk off Selsey are frequently visited by divers.

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Sussex Soldiers

The Day Sussex Died - The Dead, Missing, and Wounded Description The 11th, 12th and 13th South Downs Battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment, consisting of approximately 4,500 men, were known colloquially as “Lowther’s Lambs”. This was a reference to local MP Claude Lowther, who had taken personal responsibility for raising the battalions. The 12th and 13th Battalions, supported by the 11th, were sacrificed in a diversionary raid on the Boar’s Head at Richebourg on 30th June 1916 in an attempt to draw German attention away from the main Somme battle area further south. The Battle of the Boar’s Head lasted less than five hours, but the Southdowns Brigade lost 17 officers and 349 other ranks. Over 1,000 men were wounded or taken prisoner, and the 13th Battalion was all but wiped out. June 30th 1916 was subsequently known as “The Day Sussex Died”. This community remembers the lives of those men of the South Downs Battalions who died, or were reported as missing or wounded on that day. More information about the battle is available at http://www.royalsussex.org.uk/richebourg.htm. There is also an excellent book called The Day Sussex Died by the late John A Baines, which has been used as a major source of information about the men in this community. I've also set up separate communities for each of the 3 battalions, which include those who served and survived, as well as those who were killed or wounded. Yvonne Fenter