Selsey  Sussex


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Selsey like this:

SELSEY, a village and a parish in Westhampnett district, Sussex. The village stands on a peninsula, ½ a milefrom the sea, 6½ S W of Bognor r. station, and 8 S of Chichester; is traditionally said to have been once in the centre of the peninsula; was known to the Saxons as Selsea or Seloesea; took that name from two words signifying " Seal's Island; " was early and long a town of considerable consequence; acquired a monastery about 680, founded by King Ædelwalch; became in 711 the seat of a bishopric, which was removed in 1075 to Chichester; gave the title of Baron to the family of Peachey; consists now of 3 streets, one of them inhabited chieflyby fishermen; and has a post-office under Chichester. ...

The parish consists of the peninsula; is connected with the main land only by an isthmus, between the head of Pagham harbour and the sea; and comprises 3, 494 acres of land, and 820 of water. Real property, £5, 424. Pop., 900. Houses, 191. About half of the peninsula is believed to have been swept away since the Saxon times. All the surface is a dead level, on the London clay formation, with a rich soil, but interspersed with deep marshes. The coast also is all low; terminates in a headland, called Selsey Bill; and is flanked there by a dangerous circle of shoals. A sea-tract on the S E bears the name of the Park; was a park of the Bishops, stocked with deer, solate as the time of Henry VIII.; and is now an anchorage-ground, with from 1 to 3 fathoms water. The site of the ancient cathedral also is now covered by the sea. The living is a rectory and a vicarage in the diocese of Chichester. Value, £759.* Patron, the Bishop of Chichester. The church stood about 2 miles N E of the village, but is now at its entrance. Nicholls, the ecclesiastical writer who died in 1712, was rector.

Selsey through time

Selsey is now part of Chichester district. Click here for graphs and data of how Chichester has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Selsey itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Selsey, in Chichester and Sussex | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 25th April 2024

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