A Brief History
At the beginning of the 20th century there was a small number of Catholics living in Selsey, but the nearest places where Mass was celebrated were at the Carmelite Convent at Hunston or at St. Richard’s Church in Chichester.
In 1916 the first efforts were made to establish a Mass centre for the now growing Catholic community. An Assistant Priest in the Chichester Parish appears to have been delegated to serve the Catholics of Selsey. He first celebrated Mass in the village in a “suitable room for Mass over the Fisherman’s Joy” public house. In March 1918 the land on which stands the present Church, Hall and Presbytery was purchased and work immediately began on building a Church. The first Mass in the new Church was celebrated in May 1919 with a congregation of 20 people.
The present Church was built in 1961 replacing on the same site the older Church that could no longer accommodate the increasing number of summer visitors to Selsey. Summer visitors have always been an important part of the Parish, boosting our numbers considerably during the season: we hope they always enjoy the welcome we offer them.
The sculpture on the outside wall above the main entrance to the Church, in Cotswold Stone, represents Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Wilfrid is the work of Mr P. Lindsay Clark, FRBS.
The large abstract coloured glass window, with the Christian Fish (Ichthus) symbol, in the Church Porch is Loire Glass, by Gabriel Loire of Chartres.
The stained glass Stations of the Cross were the work of Mr Joseph Nuttgens, MGP.
Joseph Nuttgens also created the four Sanctuary windows representing the Four Evangelists. The seven small high windows on the rear wall of the Church, that represent the Seven Sacraments, are the work of a former Parish Priest, Canon Bernard Thom, and are modelled on the windows of the Four Evangelists.
The triptych on the rear wall of the Sanctuary (see our Home Page) depicts the Crucifixion in the centre panel with Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the left-hand panel and St. Wilfrid on the right-hand panel. It is the work of Mr. David O’Connell.
The stone Baptismal Font was by John Skelton, ARBS, FRSH.