Itchenor – an unusual village

Itchenor Village- a unique gem in West Sussex

Itchenor is an unusual village – if nothing else just for its unique name! It is 7 miles from Chichester on the Manhood Peninsula and has one road in / out. AT the end of the one road in is Chichester Harbour, the Ship Inn and the Sailing Club, the Harbour office, boatyards, harbour tours, pub, farmland and exceptional views.

It is surrounded by fields and the one farm (Itchenor Park) and has many large and beautiful houses which are well worth walking past slowly!

“The Street” is much the same as it has been been for over 100 years with old fishermens cottages covered in ancient roses. It leads down to The Hard – a shingle area for launching and retrieving boats and the Harbour Conservancy Office and Haines Boatyard.

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To the right of the Hard as you look North, is Itchenor Sailing Club, a top quality racing club which has large dinghy fleets and three keelboat classes based there. It also hosts weddings and receptions.

The South Downs are in front of you as is Bosham Hoe on the other side of the channel.

To the right, along the channel is Birdham and Chichester Marina and Dell Quay. To the left the channel leads to the Bosham channel itself (a tributary) and then down the Harbour to East Head and Hayling Island and the Solent.

Chichester Harbour is a mecca for all types of water craft and recreation activities – sailing, windsurfing, fishing, paddle-boarding and canoeing. It is a non-commercial harbour, although some fishing boats are moored here, and some shelter here during storms so by avoiding the danger of the exposed moorings at Selsey.

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There are Harbour tours available all year round on either the Conservancy operated Solar Boat or on “Harbour Tours” – Wingate. See the birds and seals if you are lucky as well as the beauty of the harbour.

One of the most unusual aspects of Itchenor is the not long ago there were very few houses here – mainly just The Street, the Vicarage, a few by the small and ancient Church of St Nicholas and some by the farm and Itchenor Gate House. They were small cottages and lived in by the farm workers or those who worked with the boats as it was a goods transit village for larger boats coming from The Solent and then transferred to barges to get to Chichester via the Canal. e.g. coal and wood and shingle.

Especially since the 1980’s when many more people came with money from London and bought land / built houses or modernised the existing ones – the village has grown enormously. The extraordinary thing is that they all tend to be huge, luxurious and unique, like their owners! As a result – it is well worth taking a slow walk along the road to “snoop” – even the gardens are pretty special! The village still has very few extra roads / closes so it isn’t difficult to see them! By using strict planning regulations the houses are kept relatively congruent to each other.

St Nicholas Church is over 900 years old. It is small and intimate with a lovely stained glass window. Opposite it is the village pond (and one of the streams) and the entrance to Itchenor Park Farm – footpath.

In 1175 the Lord of the Manor, Hugh Esturmy, built a chapel in West Itchenor, adjacent to the River Haven; prior to the construction of a sea wall and sluice in 1931, a spring tide would cause the river to rise and surround the building. Between 1180 and 1197 the chapel became a parish church dedicated to St Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers.

Itchenor is derived from the personal Anglo-Saxon name of Icca, the local village leader, and Ora, meaning bank or margin of. So the village was originally known as Iccannore (‘Icca’s shore’). The Domesday Book of 1086 names the village as Icenore, in 1187 it was called Ichenore, and by 1243 Westichenor. The Domesday Book also mentions that Icenore was held by “Warin”, a henchman of “Earl Roger” who invaded England with William the Conqueror. The manor later became a parcel of the Earl of Arundel.

Parking in the village is either in the public car park – Pay and Display turn left just before the pub, or in the Street for just an hour in the Summer, if there is space. (Yes, there are traffic wardens!)

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