Bognor

BOGNOR, a market and post town, chapelry, and bathing-place, in the parish of South Bersted, hundred of Aldwick, rape of Chichester, W. division of Sussex, 7 miles (S. E.) from Chichester, and 67 (S. W. by S.) from London; containing 576 inhabitants. This place, anciently called Bogenor, implying, in the Saxon language, "a rocky shore," was prior to 1790 an insignificant village, inhabited only by a few labourers and fishermen; but in that year, Sir Richard Hotham, Knt., perceiving the natural advantages which it possessed, erected a handsome villa for his own residence, and several lodging-houses, which he furnished at considerable expense for the accommodation of visiters. The town is chiefly resorted to by persons suffering from pulmonary complaints, and such as dislike the tumult and expense of more populous watering-places; it has also been visited by numerous members of the royal family. The whole is divided into Upper and Lower; the former consisting of several beautiful marine villas, standing in grounds tastefully laid out; the latter comprising the town, pleasantly situated near the peninsula of Selsey, on a plain at the foot of the South Down hills, which shelter it from the north and east winds. The parade and drive along the coast have of late years been greatly improved, and extend about two miles, forming a delightful promenade, and commanding most extensive sea and land views.

The town is paved, macadamized, and supplied with water from pumps; and its internal regulation, under a general act of improvement passed in 1835, is vested in a body of commissioners. On the Steine are warm and cold baths, conveniently arranged; and for those who prefer the open sea there are numerous bathing-machines on the beach. Here are two subscription libraries; and a handsome assembly-room, with refreshment and other apartments, erected in 1837. Races occasionally take place on the sands. Bognor is celebrated for prawns and the silver-mullet, great quantities of which are sent to London and Brighton; and off the coast are extensive oyster-beds. A large brewery here is noted for its ale; and there is a small manufactory for Roman cement, made from the Kidney rock which abounds in the sands. The Brighton and Portsmouth railway passes a few miles to the north of the town. The markets, established within a few years, and for which a market-place has been erected, are on Thursday and Saturday; and a fair is held on the 5th and 6th of July. The living is a perpetual curacy; patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury; net income, £107, with a good residence. The chapel, dedicated to St. John, is a neat building, with an embattled tower at the east end; it was consecrated in 1822. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. In opening the rocks, various fossils have been discovered; beautiful agates and pebbles, and, after storms and high tides, pyrites, are found in profusion on the beach.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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