Welcome to the website for St Richard’s the parish church of Aldwick, in the Diocese of Chichester. Here you will find all of our basic information, along with contact details and signposts to our social media pages and other helpful sites.
About Saint Richard
Richard of Wych (so called from the place of his birth, the Worcestershire town of Droitwich) was born in 1197. Although left with little money, he studied hard and made a good impression on the authorities at Oxford, eventually becoming chancellor of the University. About 1235 he became chancellor of the diocese of Canterbury under his friend Archbishop Edmund Rich, and he went with the archbishop during his exile in France. When they returned, Richard became vicar of Deal.
In 1244 Richard was elected Bishop of Chichester. King Henry III wanted another man and refused to let Richard have the income of the see or to enter Chichester. Richard was forced to live simply in the parsonage of his friend Simon of Tarring. From here he travelled around his diocese, becoming known to his people and knowing them.
Aldwick is a seaside parish in West Sussex, 2 miles from Bognor Regis and 6 miles from Chichester. It is a very welcoming residential community with many families and children, and also a desired spot for retired people. It was in Aldwick that King George V spent his convalescence, although Bognor claimed the credit and added ‘Regis’ to its name!
On 16 June 1276, in the presence of King Edward I, Queen Eleanor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a great crowd of people, St Richard’s body was moved to a shrine behind the high altar of his cathedral, where it became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for the people of Sussex.
Under Henry VIII the shrine was destroyed, but during the last century Richard’s shrine has been restored as a place of pilgrimage and he himself has been restored to a proper place in the life of the Church he served so faithfully as bishop.
The Parish Church of St Richard dates from 1934 and was the last stone-built church in Sussex. Here we rejoice in the Catholic heritage of the Church of England, and we come together to worship God as his Son Jesus Christ taught us at his Last Supper. There is a flourishing Sunday School group for various ages and we all join together for the Liturgy of the Sacrament. St Richard’s has 8 bells, a good choir and an organ, and an emphasis on offering our best to God in music and liturgy.
When Henry III was eventually forced to let the bishop have his rights, Richard entered Chichester and began reforming Church administration in the diocese. He was pious and accessible, strict with himself but loving to his flock, and he became their friend and hero. In 1253 he dedicated a chapel in Dover to the memory of his old friend, now St Edmund Rich, but shortly afterwards he died 3 April 1253.
The Prayer of St Richard
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you
for all the benefits you have won for us,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.
We hope you are able to find your way around the site, and really look forward to meeting you in person soon.