East Wittering

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East Wittering
East Wittering cottage.jpg
Thatched cottage in Bracklesham
Grid reference: SZ795972
Location: 50°46’10"N, 0°52’26"W
Post town: Chichester
Postcode: PO20
Local Government
Council: Chichester

East Wittering is a coastal village in Sussex on the Manhood Peninsula, close to Selsey Bill. It sits on the B2179 road, seven miles southwest of the county town, Chichester. Since the War, in which it mplayed a passive but important role, East Wittering has been a quiet area, popular with week-end surfers.[1] Nikolaus Pevsner described the village as ”A jumble of bungalows and chalets near the beach in an untidy half grown up state”.

The village has a small primary school and local shops.

East Wittering is one of the Thankful Villages; those very rare places that suffered no fatalities during the Great War of 1914-1918. It is the only such village in the county.


East Wittering Windmill

There has been a settlement at East Wittering for over a thousand years. Before the Norman Conquest Harold Godwinson, who became King Harold II, had control of the Bishops.[2] The area is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

The ancient parish church in the neighbouring hamlet of Earnley dates from the early 13th century: Pevsner describes it as having an impressive coherence and sureness of touch.[3] For centuries the land was in the hands of the Wystryng family.[4]

In Victorian days the RNLI raised enough subscriptions to launch a distress boat from the beach at East Wittering, a role now covered by the Fire Service.

In May 1944 it became the landing beach for the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division during a dummy run for the Normandy Landings.[5] code named Operation Fabius.[6]


St Anne's Church was designed by architect Harry Sherwood who was surveyor of the fabric of Chichester Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid on 6 June 1958 by the then Bishop of Chichester who consecrated the building on 14 May 1959. Within the Church there is a plaque giving thank for the safe return all all the men of the village from the Great War, which reads: "1914-1918 No lives were lost from this Parish. All returned safely. LAUS DEO"

In nearby Earnley is a much earlier church, of the early 13th century.

Surf culture

The village of East Wittering and the whole stretch of Bracklesham Bay is a favourite with many surfers. With a low beach gradient and the lack of any obvious dangers such as rips or obstacles it is a great beach for learners and with one of the UK's longest running surf clubs, Shore Surf Club.[7]


  1. Surfers Description
  2. Chichester Harbour- a history Reger, J. (1996 Chichester Phillimore & Co Ltd)ISBN 1860770133
  3. A Guide to the Buildings of West Sussex Pevsner,N./ Nairn,I. (Sussex (1965,Middlesex, Penguin p 216) ISBN 0-14-071028-0
  4. 'East Wittering', Victoria County History: A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4: The Rape of Chichester (1953) pp215-217 Salzman, L
  5. Vhs Video - D-Day: Eyewitness – 1994 FranboroughDD Videos DD 872 Ref:X102116997 1994
  6. Details of exercise
  7. http://www.shoresurfclub.co.uk/

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about East Wittering)