am currently collating information on all church premises, past and
present and their religions within an area bounded by Pagham, North
Bersted, Felpham, and Elmer, which will be published in due course.
if you have any information, no matter how small, I would be pleased
to hear from you. You can contact me just to ask which premises or
religions I am interested in, or in which environment I am lacking
would emphasise that I am including all religious groups, no matter how small their premises
or membership, please therefore can you assist me with this current
many churches are there in Bognor Regis today? Less than there used
to be you might think! When looking at many aspects of the town, it
is quite interesting how often there is a reference to a church or
ARTICLES ON THE SUBJECT OF CHURCHES
of the first records is of a chapel existing in Bognor as early as
January 1383 when apparently 'the living' was presented to Richard
Wildebergg. A further record was found in 1385. These records are
in an Arundel register which states that 'there are no architectural
remains existing nor any tradition on a site, it is therefore conjectured
that it has been swallowed up by the encroachment of the sea.' The
next record to be found is many years later, in 1841, which provides
a reference to the Chapel of St. Alban, which was built by Sir Richard
there were earlier churches, such as St. Mary Magdalene in South Bersted,
which had its first Vicar in 1254. However it was not until 1404 that
the present church was built and consecrated by the Bishop of Chichester.
It was here that Sir Richard Hotham made the entry into the parish register
regarding the 'laying of the first foundation stone of this seaside resort.'
Also it is in this church in 1779 that Sir Richard Hotham, founder of
Bognor, was buried. Whilst this church has a long history, changes continue
to be made, with a new window in 1986 and other internal changes taking
place at present.
to the seafront there was a chapel in the Steyne, that of the first
St. John's, which was built in 1821. However it was sold to a trust
by 1829. Its distinctive Gothic tower was added in 1833 complete with
a clock. However strange as it may seem today, by 1876 the church was
deemed to be too small and so it was closed. It was not until 1960 that
the clock tower was finally demolished, taking away an important landmark
in the town, one that had been used by the fishermen for a number of
a larger church was built, St. John's in London Road, which was finally
consecrated in 1886 by the Bishop of Chichester. This church holds many
a happy memory for Bognorians everywhere. It was closed and finally
demolished in 1975 removing an even more prominent landmark from the
North Bersted there is the Holy Cross Church, which from 1880 to 1890
was a cottage on the corner of Chalcraft Lane. However in 1894 the Bishop
of Chichester dedicated new premises on 14th July. The church spire
was apparently removed in 1976 for safety reasons.
in North Bersted, there was a Congregational Church in Newton Avenue,
which was opened in 1936. However 50 years later it ceased to be used
by the Congregationalists and in December 1896 was taken over by Catholics
of the Servite Priory.
across to Pagham, it was not until 1966 that the building of St. Ninians
Presbyterian Church commenced taking a short 6 months, in comparision
to the times taken on the older more intricate churches. This church
first started its meetings in the office of Estate Agents in Pagham
during 1964 and eventually moved to the Pavilion of the Pagham Cricket
Club until the new hall was opened.
into Aldwick we find St. Richard's Church, which had its foundation
stone, laid on 3rd April 1933 in Gossamer Lane and was finally consecrated
on 12th May 1934. It was not until 1971 that the very popular Mosse
Memorial Hall was built adjacent to the church.
church that is quite recent is that of St. Michael's and All Angels
church on the West Meads Estate, the foundation stone being laid in
1968. Travelling further into the town we next come across the Parish
Church of St. Wilfrid, situated in Ellsadale Road, off Victoria Drive.
Here there was once a tin chapel, large enough for 200 people, which
was dedicated in 1896. It was not until 1908 that the foundation stone
was laid for today's church. As late as 1972 money was still available
from the closure of St. John's church in London Road, which was used
for the building their church hall.
the town centre there have been made premises, including of course the
church in Clarence Road, Our Lady of Sorrow, which had its foundation
stone laid on 26th October 1881. Previously they had a small premise in
Argyle Circus. Finally in 1994 the Servite Order handed the church over
to the priests from the Diocease of Arundel. Also in the vicinity of Argyle
Circus there was a meeting house for the Jehovah Witnesses and in the
1926 Kelly's Directory we could find that the Plymouth Brethern had their
meeting room in Argyll Hall, Argyll Road.
used to be a Wesleyan Chapel, which was built in 1840, but was to finally
close in 1920. Their site was originally taken over by Bognor Motor
Company and it is today the site of Second Chance.
Sudley Road we have the United National Spiritialist Church, which had
its foundation stone laid on 2nd November 1956, and interestingly they
were also at one time operating from premises in the vicinity of Argyle
a number of years the United Reformed Church was at the bottom of London
Road, but they eventually moved to new premises in Linden Road.
should not of course forget the Salvation Army, who are currently situated
on the junction of Canada Grove and Crescent Road, and are today under
going a revamp. However this site was originally the home of the Baptists,
before they moved into Victoria Drive, where they are situated today.
days goneby to find a church it would have been word of mouth, or you
could have looked into the pages of Kelly's Street directories, in 1887
we would have found the St. John the Baptist, Our Lady of Seven Dolours,
Congregational, Primitive Methodists and Wesleyan Methodist. However
in the year 2002 how do you find a church? Well it is possible to look
in various directories to find a list of Places of Worship or Religious
organisations, where you will also find the Religious Society of Friends
in Victoria Road, the Aldwick Free Parish Church in addition to those
mentioned above. Whilst at the Arun Leisure Centre, the Bognor Vineyard,
meets which like so many churches has its own web site on the Internet.
is a major subject to be explored and during the coming months I plan
to look in depth at some of the individual churches, their background
and history. Principally I am only looking at buildings and the siting
of various religions. Please let me know if you have information, or
pictures of any churches in the area.