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Rustington Village Centre - - 12082.jpg
View of the main highstreet
Rustington is located in West Sussex
Location within West Sussex
Area3.72 km2 (1.44 sq mi)
Population13,883 (Civil Parish.2011)[1]
• Density3,732/km2 (9,670/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ054022
• London51 miles (82 km) NNE
Civil parish
  • Rustington
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBN16
Dialling code01903
FireWest Sussex
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
WebsiteRustington Parish Council
List of places
West Sussex
50°48′37″N 0°30′19″W / 50.81019°N 0.50521°W / 50.81019; -0.50521Coordinates: 50°48′37″N 0°30′19″W / 50.81019°N 0.50521°W / 50.81019; -0.50521
Lych Gate, Rustington Church, John White postcard, sent 1905

Rustington is a village and civil parish within Littlehampton in the Arun District of West Sussex. Rustington is approximately at the midpoint of the West Sussex coast and midway between the county town of Chichester and Brighton. The A259 runs along the north of Rustington, westward to Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Chichester, and east to Worthing and Brighton.

With a population of over 14,000 in 2014, it has the size and facilities of a small town, including a shopping area with a mix of independent and chain stores. The parish of Rustington includes the neighbourhood of West Preston.


Rustington was in World War I home to an American air base, at the east of the High Street.[citation needed]

Conservation area and information centre[edit]

Rustington contains a conservation area which extends from the south end of North Lane to The Lamb in The Street. Here, where trees are protected, are the largest number of pre-1850 listed buildings in the post town, with The Street and surrounding roads containing some of the finest 17th and 18th century Sussex flint cottages in West Sussex, some of which are thatched.

There is a village information centre at the Churchill Parade car park.[2] Rustington has its own museum, containing artworks and artefacts and a coffee shop, housed in an 18th-century thatched house recently converted for the purpose.[3]

Annual events[edit]

Rustington competes annually in the South-East in Bloom competition. It holds an annual carnival and fête in August. Close to Christmas Eve, Rustington has a village carol concert which is free for local residents and features local school children accompanied by the Littlehampton Concert Band.


Rustington adjoins the English Channel, and ranges between 2 metres and 7 metres above Ordnance Datum. It has three main recreation grounds and neither woodland nor fields.[4]

In music, literature and the media[edit]

Rustington is a well-known hymn tune by Hubert Parry who lived and died in Rustington (see Notable People below).

Rustington achieved national fame in 1956 with the launch of Flanders and Swann's show At the Drop of a Hat, in which the Gnu Song contains the lines:

I had taken furnished lodgings down at Rustington-on-Sea
Whence I travelled on to Ashton-Under-Lyne, it was, actually...

Shopping facilities[edit]

Rustington has independent shops such as butchers, greengrocers and bakers. It has some major banks and a post office serving a population of 40,000. Pedestrianised areas benefit the Churchill Court Shopping Courtyard. On display in the high street is a large Late Ice Age erratic boulder; this was brought to Rustington on ice during the last Ice Age. It was re-discovered in a local field named Stonefield having been used as a boundary marker for many years. Rustington also has a retail park on the A259 road.

Sport and leisure[edit]

Rustington has an amateur football club Rustington F.C. who play at the Recreation Ground. Also a cricket club based on the same ground and play throughout the summer with two teams on Saturday's and one on Sunday's. In 2006, they didn't lose a single match, earning them a mention on Sky Sports News on New Year's Eve. In 2017 the club celebrated its 125 Anniversary. The Saturday teams play in the West Sussex Invitation League and in 2016 the first eleven won the Division 4 title.


Rustington shares Angmering railway station with Angmering and East Preston. Trains from this station go to Brighton and Portsmouth/Southampton, as well as regular services to London.

Bus services to Brighton and Portsmouth are provided by the 700 Coastliner with many stops within the village itself.

Popular culture[edit]

In the Gnu Song, introduced in the 1950s by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, the second verse begins with the line, "I had taken furnished lodgings down at Rustington-on-Sea". This is the setting for an apparition of a gnu.

In the news[edit]

Hot cross bun[edit]

  • Paul Pegrum, of Pegrum's bakery (now Forfar's), created the world's biggest hot cross bun[citation needed] to publicise Rustington at Easter 2002. After four hours of cooking, the bun surpassed two out of the three existing records. A weights and measures inspector from Brighton and Hove Council found the bun had smashed the current weight record of 38 kg (84 lbs), weighing in at 42.8 kg (94 lb 6oz).It is also the widest, with a diameter of 4 ft 4in (132 cm).[5]

Air speed records[edit]

Two world air speed records were set over Rustington sea front.

  1. Set on 7 September 1946, by Group Captain Teddy Donaldson, flying a Gloster Meteor Star. Donaldson also became the first man to exceed 1,000 km/h.[6]
  2. Set on 7 September 1953, by Squadron Leader Neville Duke, flying Hawker Hunter WB188, at a speed of 1170.9 km/h.

To celebrate, on 7 September 1996, Neville Duke returned to Rustington to unveil a plaque, marking the event, joined by a Gloster Meteor and a Hawker Hunter, which flew over the sea front.

Twin towns[edit]

Notable people[edit]

  • Lindsay Anderson, Indian-born English feature film, theatre and documentary director, film critic, and leading light of the Free Cinema movement and the British New Wave. He wrote If.... while living in his mother's house on the village's Sea Estate.
  • JM Barrie, Scottish author and dramatist; a friend of the Llewellyn Davies family who had a house in Rustington and were the inspiration of his book Peter Pan
  • Delirious?, English Christian rock and worship band members lived in the village.
  • Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, landscape architect, garden designer, architect and author, raised in Rustington.[7]
  • Sir Hubert Parry, composer; hymn melodies some becoming templates including Rustington. He lived in Sea Lane (from 1880-d.1918).
  • Andrew Pearson, cricketer who played for Bedfordshire.[8]
  • Ed Petrie, British comedian, actor and television presenter. He was born and raised in the village.
  • Ben Thatcher, drummer of the popular British rock duo Royal Blood.
  • George Posford, English composer, most notably famed for "Good Night Vienna"
  • Graham Sutherland OM, English artist
  • Mitchell Symons, journalist and bestselling author. He has lived just outside the village since 1995.
  • Nigel Hitchcock, Saxophonist
  • Brian White, Cartoonist. He spent much of his later life in the village.
  • Leslie Arthur Wilcox R.I., R.S.M.A., marine artist. He lived in Cove Road from 1963-1982.
  • Agnes Garrett (who, with her cousin Rhoda Garrett opened the first interior design company in Britain to be run by women) had a house in Rustington. Agnes's sister Millicent Garrett Fawcett (suffragist leader) also lived there after she was widowed. Another sister, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (first woman to qualify as a doctor), also visited.


  1. ^ Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 10 May 2014
  2. ^ Littlehampton Gazette
  3. ^ "Rustington Museum". Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  4. ^ Outline civil parish map Neighbourhood Statistics. The Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  5. ^ The Argus 28 March 2002
  6. ^ Thomas, Nick. RAF Top Gun: Teddy Donaldson CB, DSO, AFC and Bar Battle of Britain Ace and World Air Speed Record Holder, Pen & Sword, 2008. ISBN 1-84415-685-0
  7. ^ 1996 Obituary for Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe who grew up in Rustington
  8. ^ "Player profile: Andrew Pearson". CricketArchive. Retrieved 3 August 2011.

External links[edit]

Media related to Rustington at Wikimedia Commons