Part of the polo playing countryside around South Ambersham and Midhurst, Selham's most striking feature is its miniature church which resembles a Monopoly playing piece both in shape and relative size. It's absolutely tiny.
The nave of St James's Selham is only 350 square feet in area. Parts of the church undoubtedly date from late Saxon times.
Selham church has some rugged but beautiful stonework, arranged in a roughly arranged herringbone pattern (which you can see in the photo below). Inside there is a chunky Norman font.
The stained glass windows, although only 150 years old, have an interesting story behind them. They were installed by the Reverend Robert Blackburn, who was Rector of Selham for over half a century in Victorian times.
Blackburn's wife Eliza was related to many of the great names of the English aristocracy. The Rector spent years tracing her ancestry through various noble and even royal lines to the point where he felt able to demonstrate that Eliza was a descendent of the Emperor Charlemagne and other great figures of European history. To make his point Blackburn produced a hefty book of genealogical charts and commisioned the stained glass windows in Selham church. The windows incorporate the coats of arms of a selection of the noble lines Blackburn believed his wife was continuing - including those of the Counts of Anjou, King Egbert, King Edward I, William the Conqueror and the Dukedoms of Burgundy, Aquitaine and Norfolk.
Incredibly, for such a small place, Selham once had its own railway station. The village lies on the railway line from Midhurst to Pulborough. The line has been closed for over 50 years now and while the massive overgrown railway bridge is obvious, already nature has swallowed up many traces of the railway's existence.
Near the railway bridge, The Three Moles is one of the great features of the village and had a reputation for many year's as one of the best real ale pubs in West Sussex. Idiosyncratically run and untouched by interior designers, the Three Moles was popular with CAMRA members and light years away from the modern concept of what a heavily branded pub should be like. Like Selham Church, the Three Moles is both tiny and special. It will be interesting to see how much it changes over the coming years, especially if the proposed new polo centre near the village brings more people to this sleepy part of West Sussex.
Selham Bridge, one of the smallest of the many fine stone bridges along the River Rother, was built by the Earl of Egremont at the very end of the the eighteenth century. The Rother often floods here in the late winter.
Lodsworth Castle is nearby, opposite Lodsbrige Mill. A 6 metre high motte, or mound of earth, is all that's left of the small fortification which once stood guard over the River Rother - one of the key transport routes in Plantagenet Sussex.
SELHAM VILLAGE INFORMATION
- Bognor Regis
- Burgess Hill
- East Grinstead
- Haywards Heath
- East Dean
- Lavington Common Nature Reserve