Facts about Littlehampton
Littlehampton is a town, seaside resort and pleasure harbour, and the most populous civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex, England. It lies on the English Channel on the eastern bank of the mouth of the River Arun. It is 51.5 miles (83 km) south south-west of London, 19 miles (31 km) west of Brighton and 10 miles (16 km) east of the county town of Chichester.
A human settlement at Littlehampton can be traced back to prehistoric and Roman times, while it appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the small hamlet of ‘Hantone’. The settlement is believed to have been a fishing community around this time, appearing on a French map in around 1100 as ‘Hanton’. The settlement is then believed to have been given to the Abbey of St Martin de Seez in Normandy, who owned Littlehampton until around 1400. The area then passed back to the ownership of successive Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk, whose successors still reside in Arundel today.
Littlehampton began to develop as a port as a result of constant silting of the River Arun, perhaps leading to the prefix of ‘Little’ being added to ‘Hampton’, in order to distinguish it from the larger Southampton further along the coast. The expansion of port activities led to a new river mouth being cut in 1735, alongside the building of a wooden harbour. At this time it was also known as Arundel Port.