There has been a settlement at East Wittering for over a thousand years. The Witterings were included in a grant of land to Bishop Wilfrid in the late 7th century. The area is mentioned in the Domesday Book, as part of the Hundred of Westringes (later Manhood). The Witterings together with Sidlesham were rated as 36 hides at the time of Edward the Confessor. For centuries the manor of East Wittering was in the hands of the Wystryng family, who took their name from the place.
The former 12th-century Anglican parish Church of the Assumption of St Mary the Virgin, was replaced by the more modern St Anne’s Church. St Anne’s was built in the village centre during the 1950s, and the old church declared redundant in 1983.
The current building
St Anne’s church was designed by architect Harry Sherwood who was surveyor of the fabric of Chichester Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid on 6 June 1958 by the Bishop of Chichester who consecrated the building on 14 May 1959.
A storeroom and chapel dedicated to St Mary, built entirely with funds raised by the congregation, were added to the building’s North side in 1986.
Externally the church, built of brick and timber with dormer windows in the extensive, green tiled roof was designed to combine traditional and modern styles. The interior may be classed as spacious open planning, simply designed so that the entire congregation can clearly see the altar.
The octagonal font is difficult to date, but is believed to come from St Anne’s church, Eastbourne. The dedication is taken from St Anne’s in Eastbourne which was bombed in World War II and the reparations used to build St Anne’s East Wittering.
The church has ten small stained glass windows in the south wall, two in the west wall and six in the north wall representing Old and New Testament scenes. The priest’s vestry is entered through a door from the choir vestry off the North side of the chancel.
Above the choir vestry there is a galleried meeting room on the first floor. A large gallery at the west end accommodates the organ pipes to the front and some seating to each side of the pipes. Externally the grounds are surrounded by grass, trees and a flowerbed.