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Selsey

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SELSEY is a large village and parish, 9 miles south from Chichester, in the Western division of the county, Manhood hundred, and in the rape, diocese, archdeaconry and county court district of Chichester, West Hampnett union, ruraldeanery of Boxgrove, forming a peninsula nearly surrounded by the sea, except on the north-west, where it is connectedwith the mainland by an isthmus a few furlongs across. Pagham harbour constitutes its northern boundary, and portions of the parishes of Sidlesham and Earnley the western: it is a very healthy place, and has on its south-western coast fine sands, and a good view of the Isle of Wight. The village, consisting of three streets, is said originally to have been situated near the centre of the peninsula, but the gradual, yet incessant, attrition of the waves upon the coast has rendered it almost a watering-place, its distance from the sea being only half a mile. The houses in one of the shorter streets are inhabited by fishermen employed in catching lobsters and prawns, which are sent to the London and Brighton markets. There is also a considerable oyster fishery. Four vans run daily between Chichester and Selsey. The church of St. Peter is a handsome building in the Early English style, with a shingle spire, 3 bells, nave, chancel, north and south aisles, and very old Norman font: it was removed in 1865 to the entrance of the village where it now stands, on a commanding site: the chancel was left on the former site, about two miles from the village, and forms now a Chapel for burials and other occasional services. The register dates from 1662. The living is a rectory and vicarage united, value about £750 per annum, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Chichester, and held by the Rev. Henry Foster, M.A., Prebendary of Selsey, and late of St. John's College, Cambridge, who is possessed of the tithes of the whole parish, on which, however, there is a charge of £10 per annum, in favour of the Prebendal Estate of Selsey, now in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. There is a Parochial school. Selsey was the original seat of the see of Chichester, and a town of consequence for a long period: it was founded by St. Wilfred, bishop of York, to whom Selsey was granted by Edelwalch, King of Sussex, and where he built a church. Eadbert, his successor, was consecrated Bishop of Selsey, in 711: in 1072, Stigand removed the see to Chichester. There is a Life Boat station. The principal landed proprietor is the Hon. Mrs. Vernon Harcourt. The area is 3,494 acres, including about 426 acres of mud land in Pagham harbour; the population in1861 was 900. [Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867.]

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Historical Geography

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