Place:Littlehampton, Sussex, England

Alt namesToddingtonsource: settlement in parish
Wicksource: settlement in parish
Little Hamptonsource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeParish, Urban district
Coordinates50.8°N 0.55°W
Located inSussex, England
Also located inWest Sussex, England     (1865 - )
See alsoArundel Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was located
Poling Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was located
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

Littlehampton is a seaside resort and pleasure harbour, and the most populous civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex, England. It lies on the English Channel on the eastern bank of the mouth of the River Arun. It is 51.5 miles (83 km) south south-west of London, 19 miles (31 km) west of Brighton and 10 miles (16 km) east of the county town of Chichester.

The parish covers an area of 11.35 km2 (4 sq mi) and has a population of 27,795 according to the 2011 UK census. Its suburban area increases the population of the general area to approximately 55,000. The conurbation includes other settlements: Wick in the northwest; the separate parishes of Lyminster to the north and Rustington to the east. Wick and Toddington, which has a large business park, became part of the town in 1901.

Nearby towns include Bognor Regis to the west and Worthing to the east. The town is also the westernmost settlement in the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation, a region encompassing 474,485 people (2011 census). The South Downs National Park commences north of the town: Littlehampton links to Amberley and Arundel by footpaths and railway as well as by roads.

Littlehampton was considered to be an urban district from 1894 until 1974.


Littlehampton can be traced back to prehistoric and Roman times, and it appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the small hamlet of 'Hantone'. The settlement is believed to have been a fishing community around this time, appearing on a French map in around 1100 as 'Hanton'. The settlement is then believed to have been given to the Abbey of St Martin de Seez in Normandy, who owned Littlehampton until around 1400. The area then passed back to the ownership of successive Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk, whose successors still reside in Arundel today.

Littlehampton began to develop as a port as a result of constant silting of the River Arun, perhaps leading to the prefix of 'Little' being added to 'Hampton', in order to distinguish it from the larger Southampton. The expansion of port activities led to a new river mouth being cut in 1735, alongside the building of a wooden harbour. At this time it was also known as Arundel Port.

As the eighteenth century progressed, the town developed from a fishing community to a holiday destination, with Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Constable all believed to have spent time there. Percy Bysshe Shelley's grandfather, Sir Bysshe Shelley, 1st Baronet had his home at Castle Goring in Goring by Sea just along the coast.

The following description from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72 is provided by the website A Vision of Britain Through Time (University of Portsmouth Department of Geography).

HAMPTON (LITTLE), a seaport town, a parish, and a [registration] sub-district in Worthing [registration] district, Sussex. The town stands at the month of the river Arun, and at the terminus of a short branch of the South Coast railway, 3½ miles S by E of Arundel. A battle was fought here, or in the near neighbourhood, in 837, between Wulfherd and certain Danish pirates; and the empress Matilda landed here, in 1139, on her way to Arundel Castle.
"Little Hampton was anciently the haven of Arundel; and it recently was made the head port of Arundel, and the seat of the custom house. Its trade, as a port, is considerable; and its inland navigation communicates, through the Wey and Arun canal, with the Thames at Weybridge. Its harbour has a pier and jetties; and, though dry at low water, has a depth of 8 feet or more at high water. A lighthouse was erected at the entrance, in 1848; and has a fixed light, 30 feet high. A fort, on the most approved principles, mounting five 68-pounders, besides mortars, was recently constructed on the W side. The ground there also was appropriated as encamping ground for rifle practice; and huts suitable for it were erected in 1862. A weekly market is held on Thursday; and a pleasure fair, on 26 May. A regatta and races are held annually, and attract a large concourse of spectators. The town has recently come into favour also as a watering place; and it possesses good advantages of retirement, salubrity, mild climate, rural environs, and a fine beach; the last merging into sands, dry at low water, and so firm that carriages may travel on them to Worthing. The town has a post office under Arundel, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, a good hotel, assembly rooms, a parish church, two dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, and a national school. The assembly rooms are used, not only for their own proper purpose, but also for lectures and exhibitions.
"The parish church was rebuilt in 1825, at a cost of £3,000; is in the pointed style; and contains 1,200 sittings. The Wesleyan chapel was built in 1825. The Independent chapel was built in 1 861; and is in the early decorated English style. The Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1863, at the expense of the Duchess of Norfolk; includes church and presbytery; and is in the decorated English style. The parish comprises 1,102 acres of land and 120 of water; and is regarded as conterminate with the town. Real property: £10,805; of which £85 are in gas works. Population: 2,350. Houses: 497. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chichester. Value: £150. Patron: the Bishop of Chichester."

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 Littlehampton. 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.