A most interesting fact recorded by the Venerable Bede is that when Wilfrid of York came here in 681 he found a religious house ruled by a monk named Dicul. It was this monk who had converted King Ethelwalch before Wilfrid arrived. The existence of this tiny community in the midst of hostile tribes, over two hundred years after the extinction of Christianity in the south, is a matter of high romance in the history of the faith in Britain.
There are two other isolated bits of Sussex on the south of the high road to Emsworth, the first containing the small hamlet of Chidham with a beautiful little Early English church; the next is occupied by West Thorney. Here is another church of the same period with a Transitional tower and a Norman font. This peninsula was until quite recently an island and the home of innumerable sea fowl.
Emsworth is almost entirely in Hampshire and therefore outside our limits, but we can well make it the starting place for the last corner of seaward Sussex unexplored.
Westbourne, one mile north of Emsworth, has a fine Transitional church with a large number of monuments and an imposing avenue of yews. At Racton to the north-east is the well-known seamark tower used by mariners in the navigation of the channels of Chichester Harbour. The church has a monument to an ancestor of that Colonel Gunter who took part in the escape of Charles II. Near by is Lordington House, erected by the father of Cardinal Pole and said to be haunted by the ghost of that Countess of Salisbury who, when an old woman upwards of seventy, was beheaded by the order of Henry VIII, and caused the headman much trouble by refusing to place her head upon the block; an illustration by Cruickshank depicts the executioner chasing the Countess round the platform.