The 18th January is the official birthday of Bognor Regis. This is the anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone in 1787 for the new fashionable seaside resort by it’s 18th century official founder, Sir Richard Hotham. Sir Richard was a hatter and MP (Southwark) from London, who wanted to develop the small fishing hamlet of Bognor into a rival for ‘Brighthelmstone’ 30 or so miles along the coast to the east. He wanted to call the town ‘Hothamton’ – which (some say unfortunately) didn’t catch on!
Each year there is a wreath laying ceremony to celebrate the anniversary, at the grave of Sir Richard in the churchyard of the early 15th century South Bersted Church.