Felpham (sometimes pronounced locally as Felf-fm) is a village and civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex, England. Although sometimes considered part of the urban area of greater Bognor Regis, it is a village and civil parish in its own right, having an area of 4.26 km² with a population of 9611 people that is still growing (2001 census). The population at the 2011 Census was 9,746.
Felpham lies on the B2259 coastal road.
The 12th century Anglican parish church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There is also a Methodist church close to the three-way junction of Felpham Way, Flansham Lane and Middleton Road, in the east of the village.
Felpham was in existence long before Bognor Regis, having been mentioned in the Domesday Book of the 11th century, under the hundred of Binstead: "St Edward's Abbey [Shaftesbury] holds and held Felpham before 1066..." Its value before 1066 was said to be £10.
William Blake, introduced to the village by his friend William Hayley, lived in Felpham for three years while writing his Milton: A Poem in Two Books. The poem contains his famous words about "England's green and pleasant land", today known as the anthem "Jerusalem", which were inspired by Blake's "evident pleasure" in the Felpham countryside. The cottage where he lived is depicted in the illustrations for the poem. It lies within the original village, close to the Fox public house. Of the village he wrote:
Away to sweet Felpham for heaven is there:
The Ladder of Angels descends through the air
On the turrett its spiral does softly descend
Through the village it winds, at my cot it does end.
The "turrett" in the verse is Hayley's house, east of the church, which he built around 1800. It was in Felpham that Blake had his altercation with the drunken soldier John Scofield, who was trespassing in his garden. This led to Blake's trial for sedition because of Scofield's allegation that he had cursed the king. Blake has a road named after him, Blake's Road, the road on which his former residence is sited, and a memorial window dedicated to him in St Mary's Church.
Blake's host, Hayley, was so famous in his day for having turned down the offer of the position of poet laureate in 1790.
The village has a village hall, called the Memorial Hall, built in remembrance to the fallen from the First World War and a church community hall called St Mary's Centre.
Great expansion of the village took place between 1930 and 1960 when three (nominally) gated housing estates were developed, and again in the 1970s when two public housing developments took place on farmland between Felpham and its neighbouring village of Middleton-on-Sea. In December 2006 planning permission was granted for further development, this time on farmland to the north.
Felpham has three primary schools, Bishop Tufnell CE Infant and Bishop Tufnell CE Junior Schools (both Church of England Aided Schools) and Downview Primary (Infant and Junior) School. A third infant and junior school is planned to be added as part of the current housing plans.
Felpham Community College, the main school in the area, operates its own youth wing. It is situated next door to the Arun Leisure Centre which has extensive playing fields.
Felpham has a recreation ground, King George's Field, named after King George V.
Sport and leisure
Felpham Colts Football Club (including mixed teams, boys' teams and girls' teams) is the largest youth football club in West Sussex. The club is completely independent and not attached to any of the large local senior football teams. It has 26 teams competing in local football leagues and has been in existence since 1973. The club's teams can be found training at King George V Field on Saturday mornings and playing at Shrubbs Field in nearby Middleton-on-Sea and King George V Field on Sundays.
Predators Youth and Blue FC. Predators started in 1994 with only a few players and has grown to 14 youth teams a women's team and a successful adults team. Predators is one largest youth and adults football clubs in West Sussex and they play and train within the Bognor Regis area.
The Felpham & Middleton Country Dance Club is one of the oldest extant English country dance clubs in England.
Felpham Church Hall was also the starting point for the 2008 Scout Overland Hike.
Arun Gymnastics Club which caters for all ages and abilities. Gymnasts have competed and had success at local, regional and national level that's to its highly trained coaches.
Predators Youth Green FC is a small youth football club whose aim to offer football for everyone, regardless of ability. Based in Felpham, they train at Larks field, the Arun Leisure Centre or Bishop Tufnell School, and play their matches at King George's or Larksfield.
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