After a tasty toasted sandwich in a tea shop in Burwash we visited the Parish Church - here is the view from the road.
A church consisting of chancel nave and tower was built in Burwash in about the year 1090. The tower alone remains from this period, the wide mortar joints evidence of its Norman origins.
In about 1190 the church was enlarged by removing the south wall of the nave and adding an aisle and similar treatment was given to the north fifty years later. The church was partially rebuilt and extensively restored in 1856. The work included rebuilding the chancel (except the arch) and lowering the floor, which in turn required a significant amount of soil to be removed from the surrounding churchyard. The effect of this can be observed on the outside of the tower, where the soil has been removed to a depth of about three feet. The church floor was again renewed again due to rotting in the years 1989 to 1990.
The replacement chancel is a faithful copy of the former one, as it is of 13th century style. The arch is the original; it has nice 14th century corbels.
Here is a picture of the font (with its baby brother!) and the pipe organ. The organ was built in 1878, however the mechanism was reported beyond repair in 1954. The money required to fully renovate and improve the instrument was estimated at £2,500 and by November 1954 the organ had been completely rebuilt and modernised, with electro-magnetic action and a stop-key console. The old pipe work was incorporated after restoration and re-voicing. The new organ was first played at a thanksgiving service held on 11th November 1954.
The font is octagonal with invected sides (i.e. with a border line of small convex curves). The Pelham family left its mark in Burwash - the font has the "buckle" carved upon it. At the battle of Poitiers, September 19th 1356, John de Pelham seized the French King John by the buckle of his sword belt and the king surrendered his sword to him. In honour of this King Edward III bestowed a buckle to him as a crest. The font itself is likely to be post-reformation.
The attractive window below carries the inscription "To the glory of God and in memory of James Edward Hill Sawyer born 1874 died 1953". The window was unveiled by the Assistant Commissioner of Scouts for Sussex, and dedicated by the Bishop of Lewes. It was placed here in memory of Colonel J.E.H. Sawyer who died in Burwash in 1953. The cost was met by local subscription, organised largely by those who had served in the Scout troop in which he had taken a great interest. One light shows St George, the patron saint of Scouts, above a fleur-de-lys, their badge. The second light portrays St Luke commemorating Colonel Sawyre's service in the Royal Medical Corps, whose badge, the snake of Aesculapius twined round a rod, appears beneath.
This colourful window was installed to celebrate the millennium in 2001. I'm not sure about the colour choices, however its good to know that we can still add to our historic churches with attractive new windows.
There is a photo of one of the southern windows in the chancel in my Photo album here.
Here is the interior of the church, the first looking east from the nave into the chancel and the second looking back west into the nave from the chancel. I suppose someone must have liked those light fittings which to my eye don't suit the building at all!
This final picture is of the church from the south.
The tower contains eight bells, two having been added in 1949 when the others were also recast. In that year all the bells were re-hung on a new iron frame, the tower having been reinforced with a massive band of reinforced concrete. The bells were dedicated by the Bishop of Chichester on 1st July 1949.
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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