Situated in the midst of a Christian Conference Centre, the parish church is well worth a visit.
With the exception of the tower the entire church was rebuilt in 1665 in Gothic style. This style is called 'Gothic Survival' as the main period of Gothic architecture in England had by this time been superseded by the use of Classical forms and a complete Gothic building of the mid seventeenth century is a rarity (although Staunton Harold Church in Leicestershire is another example).
This elaborate depiction of the ten commandments hangs on the south wall of the nave. The Commandments are unusual in that they are painted on canvas in a carved wooden frame with white doves and cherubs.
Here are the font (convenient tap nearby!) and the pipe organ (housed on the west gallery).
The nave is wide and light, filled with box pews and dominated at the west end by a gallery reached by a staircase with beautifully turned balusters. At the east end of the church the chancel and its twin north and south chapels are raised a great height above the floor of the nave in order to accommodate family vaults beneath. The north chapel, separated from the chancel by a beautiful wrought iron screen made locally by the forge that made the village famous throughout England, contains two superb monuments to the brothers who rebuilt the church.
Here are two pictures showing the nave looking east and west.
There is a Jacobean painted and gilded iron screen, very probably made by the estate blacksmith, Carolean staircase round three sides of the tower leading to the west gallery, where now is situated the organ, and complete 17th C. seating (although theses appear to have been lowered at some time). There is documentary evidence that the gallery stair was given in 1649. The gallery has been altered to fit.
The final picture is of the church from the western churchyard entrance.
In 1649 king Charles I was executed, and some gruesome souvenirs were brought back to the church, which were believed to have healing properties. These consisted of the shirt, silk drawers, and garters which he wore when executed, together with his watch, a lock of his hair, and the sheet thrown over the body. The items were brought back by John Ashburnham, the King's Groom of the Bedchamber, who was also the MP for Hastings.
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