Willingdon, (East Sussex)

OPC for Willingdon is : Brenda Doyle

Email: Brenda Doyle.

Parish picture

The first priest at Willingdon on record is Godfrey, mentioned in the Domesday Book. He was a sub-tenant of Robert, Count of Mortain, and held one hide and one virgate of land, about 100 acres. Before the Conquest in 1066, the Manor was held by Earl Godwin. It was granted to Robert, who was a benefactor of the Abbey of Grestain in Normandy.

Bishop Seffrid of Chichester in 1200 refers to a church here and Bishop Simon, two years later, to a vicarage, with endowments to the Priory of Wilmington, an offshoot of Grestain.

After the confiscation of the monasteries in 1413, Willingdon was granted by the King to the Dean and Chapter of Chichester.

Parish picture

Two bombs caused extensive damage to the church in June and July 1944, including extensive damage to the roof and the destruction of most of the windows in the south wall. In 1946-47 the church interior was redecorated and many alterations carried out.

The ancient dedication of the church is lost, however in 1946 the Bishop of Chichester dedicated the church to St Mary in recognition of the previous existence of a Lady Chapel.

Sir Freeman Freeman-Thomas the 1st Marquess of Willingdon of Ratton was the Governor General of Canada from 1926 to 1931. He was born in England in 1866 and his family appear in the registers of the church.

Other Willingdon parishes:

Hampden Park, Langney.

Places of worship:

Church details, together with baptism, marriage, monumental inscription & burial records can be accessed by clicking on the church name.

Apostolic Church, Lower Willingdon

Baptist Chapel, Wannock

St Mary the Virgin

St Wilfrid, Lower Willingdon

Trinity Church

Wesleyan Chapel

Census returns:

People residing in the parish:

621 individuals in the OPC Database for the 1841 census.

People born in this parish but residing elsewhere:

14 individuals in the OPC Database for the 1851 census.

4 individuals in the OPC Database for the 1861 census.

2 individuals in the OPC Database for the 1871 census.

2 individuals in the OPC Database for the 1891 census.

The OPC has access to the 1841, 1851, 1861, and 1891 census returns and offers a look up service


Grid reference: 558974, 102500 ~ View on: Google Maps, Open Street Map, Streetmap, National Library of Scotland Map or Oldmaps.

Poll Registers:

The OPC database contains 68 poll register entries for people entitled to vote in this parish.

1641 Protestation Returns:

There are no protestation returns for this parish in the OPC database.


The OPC database contains 10 entries for people associated with this parish mentioned in Gazettes.

Parish histories:

Extract from "Handbook and Directory for East-Bourne - G.F. Chambers - 12th Edition - 1880".


There are 38 images depicting this parish in the OPC database.

POWPics (The new Roughwood churches album) contains 3 photographs of churches in this parish. This album will also display any postcards or other images of churches which are in the Sussex OPC database.

Postal directories:

The OPC database contains 29 postal directory entries for this parish, (breakdown below).

15 entries from the 1845 Post Office Directory.

14 entries from the 1851 Post Office Directory.

The OPC database contains the following directory sections which cover this parish.

1851 Post Office Directory for Willingdon, Folkington & Jevington.


There are 2 books about this parish in the Sussex OPC Bibliography.

There are 4 articles about this parish in the OPC Sussex Archeaological Collections Index.

There are 5 people from this parish in the OPC Sussex Archeaological Society Members Index.


The OPC database contains 1 will of someone who lived in this parish.

The OPC database contains 1 will which mention this parish.

Interest in this parish:

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