The busy A27 roads cuts forms a barrier between the church and the village. Sompting nowadays has become virtually joined with neighbouring Lancing to form a conurbation the size of a small town, with only the width of Boundstone Lane dividing two villages along much of the parish boundary.
Two hundred years ago Upper Cokeham and Lower Cokeham were separate settlements within the parish of Sompting, but they too were long ago subsumed into the fast expanding village.
Sompting's unique churchThe Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin in Sompting is a special one. The tower of the church is unique in this country because of its pyramid shaped cap - the so-called Rhenish Helm. The church is thought to date from 960 AD although a lot of the church was remodelled by the Knights Templar in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Hidden behind the church, a little further up Titch Hill, the site of Sompting Manor House has a long history too, dating back to the days when, like Steyning and many other places in the Adur valley, the abbot of Fecamp in Normandy held the manor. The current building on the old site of the Manor House was built in 1856 and is now used by Sompting Abbotts school.
The land on which much of Sompting is built used to be a soggy marsh on the edges of the Broadwater River, which used to flow some distance inland here. The huge changes to the Sussex coastline over the centuries diverted the river, so that by the time the underwent a huge expansion after the second world war, worries about serious flooding were (largely) a thing of the past.
The river plain now provides a fine reason to keep a strategic gap (albeit only half a mile wide) between Sompting and Broadwater and the rest of the Worthing conurbation to the west.
SOMPTING VILLAGE INFORMATION
Map of the Sompting area
- Upper Beeding
- Cissbury Ring
- The South Downs Way
- Bognor Regis
- Burgess Hill
- East Grinstead
- Haywards Heath