Coordinates: 50°49′44″N 0°51′34″W / 50.8289°N 0.8595°W / 50.8289; -0.8595
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bosham Waterfront and Church
Bosham is located in West Sussex
Location within West Sussex
Area13.75 km2 (5.31 sq mi) [1]
Population2,900 [1] 2011 Census including Charlton and East Lavant
• Density210/km2 (540/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSU8003
• London57 miles (92 km) NE
Civil parish
  • Bosham
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPO18
Dialling code01243
FireWest Sussex
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
WebsiteParish Council
List of places
West Sussex
50°49′44″N 0°51′34″W / 50.8289°N 0.8595°W / 50.8289; -0.8595

Bosham (/ˈbɒzəm/ ) is a coastal village, ecclesiastical parish and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex,within the historic county of West Sussex, England, centred about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Chichester with its clustered developed part west of this. Its land forms a broad peninsula projecting into natural Chichester Harbour where Bosham has its own harbour and inlet on the western side.


The parish has an area of 3,400 acres (1,400 ha). In the 2011 census its 4,256[2] people lived in 1,833[3] households, of whom 2,063[4] were economically active.


An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward includes the civil parish of Chidham and Hambrook with a total population taken at the 2011 census of 4,256.[5]



Broadbridge, sometimes known as New Bosham more developed round the A259 road and the Coastway railway line including Bosham railway station as with most stations in the county with direct services to London as well as the cities of Brighton and Portsmouth. The locality is increasingly referred to by its earlier name, Broadbridge.[6]

Bosham village and Bosham Hoe[edit]

Bosham is surrounded by varying width green buffer land, the vast bulk of which is the south of the peninsula. This includes the site of the original village centre on the harbour as well as the farmland and private property of Bosham Hoe. At spring tides the sea comes up high flooding the rural lower road and some car parking spaces.



The site has been inhabited since Roman times, and is close to the famous palace at Fishbourne. Several important Roman buildings have been found in northern Bosham around Broadbridge including a possible temple, a small theatre and a mosaic.[7] The Bosham Head, part of the largest Roman statue from Britain was found nearby. A legionary's helmet was found in Bosham harbour and is now in Lewes museum. The helmet is of late Claudian date, the time of the invasion.[8]

Tradition holds that Emperor Vespasian maintained a residence in Bosham, although there is no evidence of this. There are also said to be remains of a building popularly thought to be a villa belonging to Vespasian, at the Stone Wall in the parish.[9] Pottery and tile fragments, of both Roman and early British period, have been discovered in the area, confirming pre-Anglo-Saxon activity. The possible Roman harbour here was part of the natural harbours between Portsmouth and Chichester known as Magnus Portus[10][i] and its position, as latitude and longitude, was plotted as part of Ptolemy's Geography.

Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods[edit]

The mill-stream where King Canute's daughter is reputed to have drowned.

Much of Bosham's history during the Early Middle Ages is ecclesiastical. Bede mentions Bosham in his book The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, speaking of Wilfrid's visit here in 681 when he encountered a Celtic monk, Dicul, and five disciples in a small monastery.[11] The village is one of only five places that appear on the map attached to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of around this time.

In 850, the original village church was built possibly on the site of a Roman building, and in the 10th century was replaced with Holy Trinity Church, situated beside Bosham Quay, that still serves as the local place of worship. There is a tradition that a daughter of Canute the Great drowned in a nearby brook and was buried here, although there seems to be little evidence for this. The tradition was originally linked to a fourteenth- or fifteenth-century effigy.[12] In 1865 a coffin containing a child's skeleton was discovered, buried in the nave in front of what is now the chancel of Holy Trinity Church.[9] This was thought to be Canute's daughter.[13]

There is a legend that around this time Bosham Church was plundered by Danish pirates, who stole the tenor bell. As the pirate ship sailed away, the remaining church bells were rung. The tenor bell miraculously joined in, destroying the ship. The bell is still said to ring beneath the waters whenever the other bells are rung.[14]

Harold Godwinson[edit]

In the Bayeux Tapestry's second scene, "Where Harold, Earl of the English, and his knights ride to Bosham Church." (above, AD BOSHAM ECCLESIA)

Bosham is mentioned by name in the Bayeux Tapestry, referring to the 1064 meeting of Harold and Edward the Confessor on the way to meet William of Normandy to discuss who would succeed Edward to the throne:

"Ubi Harold Dux Anglorum et sui milites equitant ad Bosham ecclesia[m]"
(Where Harold, Earl of the English, and his army ride to Bosham church)

Harold's strong association with Bosham and the recent discovery of an Anglo-Saxon grave in the church has led some historians to speculate that King Harold was buried here following his death at the Battle of Hastings, rather than Waltham Abbey as is often reported. The speculation began in 1954, when the nave was re-paved, and the body of King Canute's reputed daughter was re-examined. It was discovered that the body of a richly dressed man was buried beside the child's.[9] A request to exhume the grave in Bosham church was refused by the Diocese of Chichester in December 2004, the Chancellor ruling that the chances of establishing the identity of the body as that of Harold Godwinson were too slim to justify disturbing a burial place.[15][16]

Domesday Book[edit]

The Domesday Book of 1086 lists Bosham as one of the wealthiest manors in England. It included the nearby village of Chidham. Bosham was confirmed to be in the possession of Osbern, Bishop of Exeter, who had been granted the land by his kinsman, Edward the Confessor. It possessed 112 hides (~13,000 acres or 5,300 ha) in different parts of the country.[9] Unlike many places, lordship of much of Bosham remained in the same hands after the conquest as before, although the ownership of Earl Godwin's land was under the ownership of King William at the time of the survey.[17]

Holy Trinity Church. The lower storeys of the tower are Saxon.

Modern times[edit]

Bosham was the scene of a brutal murder in 2013 that was not solved for nearly six years. The case featured on the Sky documentary series Killer in My Village (Season 4, Episode 8).[18]


The Grade II listed 18th-century Brook House with Holy Trinity church behind

The Holy Trinity Church is a historic building of some note – it has been in existence at least since Anglo-Saxon times, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It has been dedicated to the Holy Trinity since the early part of the 14th century; its previous dedication is not known. Much of the building retains its original Saxon architecture, dating from about the late 800s. The tower houses an original Saxon window. There is also a 13th-century crypt, which is speculated to have been a charnel house used to harbour the bones of those from the collegiate church nearby.[9]

Holy Trinity occasionally hosts concerts and recitals.[19]

Chichester Harbour, a Site of Special Scientific Interest is partly within the parish. This is a wetland of international importance, a Special Protection Area for wild birds and a Special Area of Conservation. The harbour is of particular importance for wintering wildfowl and waders of which five species reach numbers which are internationally important.[20]

Sports and recreation[edit]

Bosham Sailing Club[edit]

Bosham Sailing Club (BSC) is the oldest sailing club in Chichester Harbour and was founded in 1907.[21] Its clubhouse is the Old Mill on Bosham Quay with a terrace overlooking the picturesque harbour.

Bosham F.C.[edit]

Bosham Football Club was founded in 1901. They were one of the founding members of the Sussex County League Division Three in 1983. Bosham have won the Division Three title on three occasions – and finished runner-up once – earning promotion to Division Two, with their highest finishes being 7th place in 1985–86 and 1994–95 seasons. This period also saw the club take part in the FA Vase. In 2012, the club were demoted into the West Sussex League on ground grading issues, and now play in the League's Premier Division. Also known as 'The Robins', the team play their home fixtures at Bosham's local recreation ground on Walton Lane. The club also operates a reserve side, and youth team – known as the 'Bosham Cygnets', composed of local youngsters.

Bosham Cygnets[edit]

Bosham Cygnets is a youth football team who currently compete at both Under 15 and Under 18 level – where the club has two sides – in the Arun & Chichester Youth League. The club play their fixtures on a Sunday. Over the years, the Cygnets have been renowned for encouraging young footballing talent and acted as a feeder for regional Centre of Excellences at local professional Football League clubs, including Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion.

In media[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The name Magnus Portus was used for several Roman ports and harbours.
  1. ^ a b "Bosham Parish". Chichester District Council. Archived from the original on 4 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  2. ^ Services, Good Stuff IT. "Bosham - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  3. ^ Services, Good Stuff IT. "Bosham - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  4. ^ Services, Good Stuff IT. "Bosham - UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  6. ^ Map of the Civil Parish Office for National Statistics – Census Data page. Accessed 29 May 2015
  7. ^ Black, Ernest W. (1985). "The Roman buildings at Bosham" (PDF). Sussex Archaeological Collections. 123: 255–6. Open access icon
  8. ^ "Twitter: Tom Holland". 7 August 2020. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e Marwood, G W (1995). The Story of Holy Trinity Church. Chichester: Selsey Press, Ltd. pp. 3–15.
  10. ^ "Roman Britain, Magnvs Portvs". Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  11. ^ "British History Online: Bosham, in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, ed. L F Salzman (London, 1953)". pp. 182–188. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  12. ^ Discussed in 'Bosham', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4: "The Rape of Chichester" (1953).
  13. ^ Account of discovery in The Gentleman's Magazine, 1865 (page 435 onwards).
  14. ^ "The Bosham Bell". Bosham Tower. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  15. ^ In re Holy Trinity, Bosham [2004] Fam 124 – decision of the Chichester Consistory Court regarding opening King Harold's supposed grave.
  16. ^ "King's grave mystery may be unearthed". BBC News. 24 November 2003. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Open Domesday". Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Sky: Killer in My Village". Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Concert on 19 November 2016 - Holy Trinity Church, Bosham - The great and wide sea - Opus Anglicanum". Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  20. ^ "SSSI Citation – Chichester Harbour" (PDF). Natural England. Retrieved 7 April 2009. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  21. ^ 100 years afloat.. Bosham Sailing Club. Angela Bromley-Martin. pub 2008
  22. ^ Lowry, Brian (1995). The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. Harper Prism. pp. 128–129. ISBN 0-06-105330-9.
  23. ^ Lovece, Frank (1996). The X-Files Declassified. Citadel Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-8065-1745-X.

External links[edit]