The parish appears in the Domesday Book, 1086, called Calvintone and Caveltone has four entries but the church is not mentioned. The church was among those taxed by Pope Nicholas IV in 1291.
The Lord Sackville of the Manor of Chalvington was granted the drowsing in 1346-47, and it has been thought that the original dedication may have been to Thomas-à-Becket, first because there is a small stained light portraying him in one of the windows, and secondly because there is in the Rolls of the Manor of Chalvington a record of a court held on "Saturday next before the Feast of the Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr" 1364, which may imply a connection.
There is no evidence of any church before the present building which is a perfect miniature example of the late 13th century decorated style; the curvilinear east window was added later, the gift of the rector, Thomas Diliwyt, who held the living between 1388 and 1409.
The church consists only of a chancel and nave, with a small bell turret and a modern north porch. It is built chiefly of flint with stone quoins. The chancel windows, two on each side, are small and have unusual flattened dripstones. The lights are paired trefoiled lancets.
The turret is wooden with a shingled spire and contains three bells inscribed (i) 1609, (ii) W.A.P. 1609 and (iii) Gloria Deo in excelsis 1639. After the storms of October 1987 and January 1989 the tower was seen to be leaning more than usual. Repairs were undertaken in 1991/2, when a number of timbers were replaced and strengthening bars inserted. When the bell frame was removed for repair, the sole of a child's show was found, dating from the time when the bells were originally hung, and when the tower was added to the church. All three bells were sent to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry for renovation and the Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings, the Venerable Hugh Glaisyer, officiated at a service of re-dedication in January 1993.
The nave is higher and wider than the chancel, the walls of which project into it and are overlapped by the nave roof. Here are two views of the nave one looking east into the chancel, the second looking west. The nave roof has six tie beams supporting crude king posts.
There are two triangular lights high in the nave looking east. One has a fragment of old glass. The head of the north-east window in the nave (no picture) contains a panel of stained glass, possibly the oldest in East Sussex (late 13th century). It shows the demifigure of an archbishop with a nimbus, in full pontificals. His right hand is raised in blessing, his left hand holds a crozier. A rather elaborate crocketed canopy is with the figure. The inscription is "S.TH/OM/AS".
The chancel has no arch and is small. There is a restored 13th century piscina with a simple pointed head and chamfered edges with a projecting bowl (straight in front, semi-circular behind) with a large drain. The decorated east window has three lights with tracery containing some old glass. Among the fragments is an inscription in Lombardic lettering, "John Diliwyt Rector Huise Ecclesie Me Fieri Fecit." Above in the tracery are the arms of Canterbury. Parts off the chancel roof are old.
The two windows below are at the west end of the nave, in the south and north walls respectively.
Each has a brass containing an inscription mounted on the wall underneath, the south reads:
"To the honour of God and in memory of John Trayton Fuller Esqre of Ashdown House, Sussex who died March 23rd 1811 aged 88 and of the Honble Ann Fuller his wife who died Feb 24 1835 aged 81. The gift of their son Thomas Trayton Fuller Eliott Drake Bart 1867."
The inscription under the northern one reads:
"To the honour of God and in memory of Sarah Maria Fuller, daughter of John Trayton Fuller Esqre and the Hon. Ann Fuller. She died May 2nd 1845 aged 63. The gift of her brother Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller Eliott Drake Bart 1867."
The square restored font with square shaft and very simple moulding is 14th to 15th century and is built against the north wall. It has an 18th century cover with ironwork. The hatchment is for the Hon. Ann Fuller, wife of John Trayton Fuller.
The electronic organ is modern.
The final photo was taken from the field north of the church. The west end is supported by an oblique buttress at each corner. The gable top is tiled woodwork similar to the roof. The 15th century west window is square headed with two lights. The north doorway is protected by a modern porch. The wooden door is said to be original and to the west of the door is a holy water stoup.
The factual information presented here was obtained from the interesting leaflet available in the church.
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