Place:Felpham, Sussex, England

Alt namesAnctonsource: hamlet in parish
Coordinates50.783°N 0.652°W
Located inSussex, England
Also located inWest Sussex, England     (1865 - )
See alsoArundel Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was located
Avisford Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was located
Westhampnett Rural, Sussex, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1933
Bognor Regis, Sussex, Englandurban district of which it was part 1933-1974
Arun District, West Sussex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Felpham is a village and coastal civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex, England. Although sometimes considered part of the urban area of greater Bognor Regis (located to the west), it is a parish in its own right, having an area of 4.26 km² with a population of 9,611 people in the 2001 UK census, increasing to 9,746 at the UK census of 2011.

The 12th century Anglican parish church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There is also a Methodist church in the east end of the village.

The hamlet of Ancton was in Felpham parish until a boundary change at the end of the 19th century transferred it to the neighbouring parish of Middleton on Sea located to the east.

Felpham was in existence long before Bognor Regis, having been mentioned in the Domesday Book of the 11th century. "St Edward's Abbey [Shaftesbury] holds and held Felpham before 1066..." Its value before 1066 was said to be £10.

William Blake, introduced to the village by his friend William Hayley, lived in Felpham for three years while writing his Milton: A Poem in Two Books. The poem contains his famous words about "England's green and pleasant land", today known as the anthem "Jerusalem", which were inspired by Blake's "evident pleasure" in the Felpham countryside. The cottage where he lived is depicted in the illustrations for the poem. It lies within the original village, close to the Fox public house. Of the village he wrote:

Away to sweet Felpham for heaven is there:
The Ladder of Angels descends through the air
On the turrett its spiral does softly descend
Through the village it winds, at my cot it does end.

The "turrett" in the verse is Hayley's house, east of the church, which he built around 1800. Blake has a road named after him, Blake's Road, the road on which his former residence is sited, and a memorial window dedicated to him in St Mary's Church.

Great expansion of the village took place between 1930 and 1960 when three (nominally) gated housing estates were developed, and again in the 1970s when two public housing developments took place on farmland between Felpham and its neighbouring village of Middleton on Sea.

Research Tips

  • The West Sussex Record Office is located in Chichester. Because it holds the records of the Church of England Diocese of Chichester, which covers the whole of Sussex, it has church records relating to both parts of Sussex.
  • An on-line catalogue for some of the collections held by the West Sussex Record Office is available under the Access to Archives (A2A) project (a nationwide facility housed at The National Archives, Kew).
  • West Sussex Past - database of 2 million records from West Sussex heritage organizations.
  • The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies' Sussex Collection (PDF). This is a 9-page PDF naming the files relating to Sussex in their collection-a possible first step in a course of research.
  • The National Library of Scotland has a website which provides maps taken from the Ordnance Survey England & Wales One-Inch to the Mile series of 1892-1908 as well as equivalent maps for Scotland itself. The immediate presentation is a "help" screen and a place selection screen prompting the entry of a location down to town, village or parish level. These screens can be removed by a click of the "X". The map is very clear and shows parish and county boundaries and many large buildings and estates that existed at the turn of the 20th century. Magnification can be adjusted and an "overlay feature" allows inspection of the area today along with that of 1900. The specific map from the series can be viewed as a whole ("View this map") and this allows the inspection of the map legend (found in the left hand bottom corner. Becoming familiar with the various facilities of these maps is well worth the trouble.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Felpham. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.