SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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Chichester Harbour ends just west of the town and close to the Portsmouth high road at New Fishbourne, a pleasant little place with a restored Early English church. This may be said to be the north-western limit of the Selsey Peninsula, one of the most primitive corners of southern England. The few visitors who make use of the light railway to Selsey have little or no knowledge of the lonely hamlets scattered over the wind-swept flats, in which many old customs linger and where the Saxon dialect may be heard in all its purity.
SelseyŚ"Seals' Island"[2]Śwas the scene of the first conversions to Christianity in Sussex and, for this reason, a semi-sacred land to the early mediaeval church in the south.
St. Wilfrid's first visit was unpremeditated; he was shipwrecked while returning from a visit to France, where his consecration had taken place in A.D. 665. His reception was so hostile that after getting safely away he decided to return at some future date and convert the Barbarians to more gentle ways. Not for fifteen years did his opportunity come. Then, despoiled of his northern bishopric, for Wilfrid was a turbulent Churchman, he came prepared, we must suppose, for the reception usually meted out to the saints in those days. The heathen Saxons, however, were now in a different mood, for "no rain had fallen
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