History

 

circa A.D. 681 St Wilfrid converted the south Saxons and founded a monastery at Selsey, putting his priest Eappa in charge.  It has been said that Yapton, 3 miles N.E. of Felpham, derives its name from “Eappa’s Tun”.
880 Earliest recorded mention of the village – Felhamme.
885 The will of King Alfred the Great left Felpham to his kinsman Osferth, but later the property reverted to the Crown.
953 Felpham granted by King Alfred’s grandson Edred to his mother Adgiva, the widow of Edward the Elder, but later that year it passed to the Abbess and Nuns of Shaftesbury Abbey (founded 888 by King Alfred).
978 The body of St Edward, King and Martyr, was re-interred at Shaftesbury after the Abbey became known as “St. Edward’s land”.
circa 1040 The Abbess and Nuns of Shaftesbury probably built a church at Felpham – this would have had a timber framework with plaster fillings.
1086 Domesday Book.  The entry regarding Felpham is:
“The land of St Edward of Shaftesbury in Benestede (Avisford) hundred.
The Abbey of St Edward holds and did hold in the time of king Edward, Falcheham”
“Then it was assessed for 21 hides; now for 15 ½ hides.  There is land for 12 ploughs.  On the demesne is one plough and 48 villeins and 19 cottas with 15 ploughs.  There is a church and a fishery yielding five shillings”
“in Cicestre 6 burgesses yielding 7 shillings.  There are 8 acres of meadow.  Woodland yielding 30 swine.  In the time of King Edward, it was worth 10 pounds, now 20 pounds”.
(BenestedeBinstead; Avisford was a house in the hundred of the Rape of Arundel; the reference to Cicestre shows that the Abbey owned land at Chichester as well as at Felpham; “then” means the time of King Edward who died 1066).
circa 1100 The old church was pulled down and a stone church, still existing in parts of the nave, was built on its site.
1309 First recorded Rector – Roger de Norton.
1345 Shaftesbury Abbey impropriated the church, and possibly a small community of Nuns was then established in Felpham. The Abbess, responsible for the upkeep of the church, enlarged and rebuilt the chancel.  It has been suggested that until the dissolution of the monasteries their Nunnery may have been on the site of the Fox Inn.
1495 A will of this date refers to “the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary” of Felpham
1594 After the dissolution of Shaftesbury Abbey the Rector and Advowson were given to the Dean and chapter of Chichester, who still hold them.

1800-1803

 

William Blake, poet, artist, and seer, lived in Felpham at what is now called “Blake’s Cottage”. Here he is said to have written or at least planned his poem “Jerusalem”. The following lines from his pen may well serve to bring this little guide to a conclusion:-

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

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