Crown Inn Vat

Crown Inn, 107 High Street, Selsey.

Blaster J. D. Francis.

Crown Inn Vat 7

Photograph made available by Sussex On Line Parish Clerks.    

The Crown Inn (double click on photo for a better view) in the centre of this photograph is on the High Street in Selsey, a seaside town about eight miles south of Chichester. J. E. Francis ran the Inn during the 1920’ and Blaster J. D. Francis was probably a relative.

Selsey is an ancient place with archaeological evidence showing that it has been occupied since the Stone Age. Roman and Medieval artefacts have been uncovered over the years and fossils may still be found on the beach.

Selsey was an important place for both the Atrebate tribe in the 2nd century and the the South Saxon kingdom in the 5th century, Selsey being the capital of the Kingdom. The Venerable Bede records that St Wilfrid arrived in Selsey around 680, converted the South Saxons to Christianity (after rescuing them from drought and famine by, so the legend goes, teaching them to fish) and became the first Bishop of Selsey with a monastery and cathedral at Church Norton. This Bishopric continued unbroken until 1075 when the Diocese moved to Chichester.

Selsey’s unique atmosphere has attracted many celebrities. Eric Coates (composer of ‘By the Sleepy Lagoon’ – the Desert Island Discs signature tune – the Lagoon being Pagham Harbour), R C Sherriff (author of the play ‘Journey’s End’), Bransby Williams (actor, comedian and monologist) as well as the late Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer, all lived here. ‘Bombardier’ Billy Wells (heavyweight boxer and ‘gongman’ for J Arthur Rank films) lived in Selsey too.