top of page

History of Westhampnett

Page last updated: 15 Mar 2018

The Old School House, Stane Street, Westhampnett

Westhampnett is a village and civil parish in the district of Chichester in West Sussex, England located 1.2 miles north-east of Chichester on the former A27 road, now by-passed. 

As originally developed, the village is a scattering of houses around an Anglican parish church of Saxon origin, dedicated to St. Peter. The large churchyard contains an unusually large number of elaborate headstones, including plain and Celtic crosses, indicating a wealthy congregation in past centuries. 

For photographs and full details of those commemorated on the Roll of Honour in the church, visit

The civil parish includes the hamlets of Maudlin, 0.3 miles north east, along the Roman road called Stane Street, and Westerton, 0.6 miles to the north. The north the parish extends to Goodwood Racecourse high on the South Downs, including Goodwood House and most of Goodwood Airfield and motor racing circuit. To the south the boundary is along the A27. The parish has a land area of 888.52 hectares (2,195.6 acres). In the 2001 census 460 people lived in 161 households, of whom 234 were economically active. 

RAF Westhampnett began as a World War II fighter base, opened in 1940 during the Battle of Britain when it was home to two Spitfire squadrons. Later used by the United States Air Force fighter squadrons, flying British Spitfires and Typhoons. Goodwood is now the venue for the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, at Goodwood House, and Goodwood Revival, at the motor racing circuit. (right)

Between Westhampnett church and Maudlin is the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars assembly plant, producing and testing the finished cars. Just to the south of the church is Chichester District’s main waste recycling centre. 

England cricketer James Lillywhite (right) was born in the village. Lillywhite was a member of England's first Test team in the first ever Test match in 1887 against Australia. Lillywhite was also the first captain of the England team.

St Peter's Church

The Goodwood Motor Circuit

James Lillywhite

bottom of page