SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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Two miles south of Slindon lies Walberton. The church walls have Roman bricks worked into Saxon masonry. The upper part of the nave is of the usual heavy Norman type. Eastergate, the next village on the main road to Bognor, has an untouched Saxon chancel, with a good deal of Roman masonry mixed with later material built into the walls. These interesting little villages may be easily reached from Bognor.
The last years of the eighteenth century were prolific in the birth of south-coast watering places or in the transformation of decayed ports or remote seaside hamlets into fashionable bathing places. Bognor is a case in point and comes within the latter category. A successful hatter of Southwark named Hotham, having "made his pile" built himself a house near the little manor hamlet of Bognor, which boasted a single inn but no church. The example of Brighton and the nearer neighbour Worthing being constantly before the then member of Parliament and one-time business man, the possibilities of the land he had acquired, with its fine fringe of firm sand, soon made themselves apparent, and the Crescent, Hothampton Place and several other terraces in what is now the centre of modern Bognor quickly appeared. A determined attempt to change the name to Hothampton failed, and as soon as the speculator died, his gamble a personal failure, the town reverted to the original Saxon Bognor (Bucganora).
The young town had the usual royal send-off; the Princess Charlotte stayed here for a short time and was followed in due course by the little princess who was one day to become so famous a Sovereign.
It will be seen that Bognor has nothing to interest the visitor who requires something besides a rather homely home from home with good air, bright sunshine and almost the nearest stretch of good sand to London, which delights the shoals of juveniles who give to the front its air of busy animation. The famous Bognor rocks provide an additional attraction; the sea at low tide retires for a considerable distance and exposes a line of rocks which indicate the general trend of the ancient coast. Here treasures of the sea may be found in profusion and variety. During spring and leap tides the waves, backed by a strong wind, may cause great excitement by dashing across the front and invading the back streets; until the present wall was built this was of frequent occurrence. Bognor has a very mild winter temperature and runs Worthing very close for sunshine.
The old parish church is at South Bersted. It is of Norman origin with some remains of this period and possibly of Saxon times; the main portion is, however, Early English. Note the stone slabs outside the porch; these were brought from Bosham by a former incumbent. There is a sixteenth-century fresco on one of the nave pillars depicting St. Thomas Aquidas disputing with the doctors. In the
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