Festival of Local History

June 2003


St. Wilfrid’s Church were actively involved in the Festival of Local History in June 2003 which occurred across the area from Pagham to Yapton, including Felpham, Middleton, Elmer and  Bognor Regis. The event was planned by Sylvia Endacott and Shirley Lewis.

The aim of the festival was for everyone who was interested in local history to become involved by providing a display of their premises, church, school or Company. There were special events arranged throughout June; evenings with speakers talking on aspects of local history; also a number of linked events. A number of local churches participated including The United Reformed church, St. Thomas a Becket  Pagham, St. Mary's Felpham, Methodist church Waterloo Square, St. Nicholas Middleton on Sea, St. Mary Magdalene South Bersted, The Salvation Army Hub Centre.

St. Wilfrid’s Church contribution:

  • An exhibition of display panels in the South Transept location for the whole of the month of June 2003. Opening times [in addition to the normal church services] were on two Saturdays 10:00am – 12:00 noon 7, and 28 June and also Sunday 12:30 - 4.00pm 29th June (the latter as part of the St. Wilfrid's Summer Fayre at Petertide



  • Participation in a joint exhibition at the Salvation Army Hub Centre held on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st June between 10am – 4pm


The Hub Centre was one of three joint exhibition venues, the others being Bognor Methodist Church Hall on Saturday 7th June and Jubilee Hall Chalcroft Lane on Saturday 14th June

Peter Green and local historian John Hawkins created the historical exhibits covering:

  • The Life of St. Wilfrid based on the 12th century Life of St. Wilfrid by Edmer - including his refuge in Sussex following his exile from Northumbria, showing he actually owned the land we live on following the gifts of land by king Aethelwealh (later confirmed by Caedwaler), how he was Bishop of Selsey in 681, his gift of the Pagham 100 to the see of Canterbury on his peaceful return North that made us a ‘peculiar’ such that the living of the Parish is determined directly by Canterbury.

  • The church’s heraldry: attributed arms of the patron Saints of Thomas a Becket (Pagham), Mary Magdalene (South Bersted), St. John (Steyne and London Road), St. Wilfrid, St. Richard (Aldwick), also Charles Manners Sutton Archbishop of Canterbury - all cross referenced to the parish boundary maps

  • The parish boundary changes since Caedwaller/ Pagham 100 and the growth of Anglican churches in the area including the original St. John’s Church in the Steyne dedicated by Charles Manners Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1822, St. John’s Church London Road foundation 1880 and consecration 1886, Tin Chapel of Ease in Victoria Drive 1896, present Church foundation 1908 and dedication incomplete 1910, unfulfilled plans of architect Fellowes Pryne.

  • Plan of church and pointers/notes to items of interest and memorials.

  • Working PC of the church website www.wilfrid.com

Don Durrant designed and constructed a display showing the current activities of the church/ contacts and welcome for visitors.

This turned out to be a most interesting month long event that created a great deal of interest in the life of our Saint, his work of converting the people of  Sussex and the growth of the ministry he started right up to the current day. The event also brought many people into our church who have seldom if ever crossed the threshold before and therefore served as a very useful form of outreach to the community.

The church would like to pass on their thanks for all who assisted with the event including:

John Hawkins for all the time he spent designing, creating, assembling and manning the exhibition.

Professor Bill Muir, University of Melbourne for the translation of 'The Life of St. Wilfrid' by Edmer

Colin Clarke, Chichester Cathedral for all his assistance and the Dean and Chapter of Chichester Cathedral for allowing photographs to be taken of the 16th century Lambert Barnard Panel [showing king Caedwaller confirming the rights to St. Wilfrid] and other Wilfrid artefacts in the Cathedral.

Bob Barnes for transporting and helping to assemble the exhibition in the church

Last but not least Sylvia Endacott and Shirley Lewis for their inspired idea to stage Bognor's first month long historical exhibition and the tremendous amount of work they poured into the project to make it so succesful.


Peter Green







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