St Andrew & St Mary the Virgin, Fletching, East Sussex - 12th January 2005 (& 1980)

The nave

The clerestory windows contain glass depicting angels holding the names of God.  The height, strong external lighting and lack of a tripod made the pictures I produced unsuitable to share (in other words they are terrible!).  Perhaps I will return and have another go more suitably equipped.

The aisles

The narrow aisles are contemporary with the arcades and the simple narrow lancet windows in the west end wall are quite lovely, especially the tall one in the southern aisle.

Western window in the south aisle, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTCWestern window in the north aisle, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTC

Here are the two transepts, the south and the north - both are viewed across the nave from the opposite side of the church.  They were part of the general rebuilding in Early English style in the 13th century. 

The transepts

In the east walls of both are two Early English lancet lights, the two in the south transept and one in the north filled with ancient 14th century glass which was dug up in the churchyard about 1880, where it had probably been buried to escape the vandalism of the 17th century.

Here are the two eastern windows of the north transept; sadly the light was blocked by builder's scaffolding on the outside, so the illumination of the glass is poor,  Firstly the southern one containing the ancient recovered glass mentioned above, and secondly the northern one which contains modern glass in memory of Gerald Thubron, 1903-1992.  This window was designed and made by Alan Younger.  Its theme is St Francis of Assisi's "The Song of Brother Sun," which celebrates and praised God for all things, the sun, the moon, day and night, the earth, wind, water, flowers and stars.  To quote the explanation in the church:

"Horizontally there is a feeling of landscape - fields, hills, water and sky.  The warm colours around the sun in the centre can be associated with Summer and Autumn, and the cool colours, above and below, with Winter and Spring, to suggest the cycle of the seasons, which - linked with the sun and moon - forms an ancient symbol of Resurrection."

"Occasionally there are suggestions of vertical white shafts of light, grouped in threes, to symbolise the Trinity and a spiritual presence."

"A small figure in the base of the window represents Saint Francis preaching to the birds.  There are seven, to symbolise the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, three at his feet and four in flight about to separate and carry his message to the four points of the compass."

"At the top of the window is a star-like burst of light to suggest the six-winged seraph which appeared to Saint Francis.  Here is surrounded by five splashes of red for the wounds of the Crucifixion, and below, against Saint Francis, the five faint red poppies symbolise his stigmata - a sign of prediction and fulfilment."

"At the same time the abstract wing-shapes of the seraph might be interpreted as a fan of white peacock feathers, a symbol of immortality."

North transept window, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTCNorth transept window, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTC

The is a fine Decorated window in the south transept - the counterpart in the north transept is obscured by the Sheffield Mausoleum.  Sadly the strong light has resulted in an over exposed image.

South window in the South transept, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTC

The chancel

There are twelve lancet windows in this part of the building, arranged in pairs under rear-arches, the centre two on the north side were destroyed when the vestry was built in c1880.  The two easternmost windows on the south side are shown on old prints as being joined by a central mullion making one double window of the Decorated period, but the Victorian architect unfortunately separated them to be equidistant with the four other windows in that elevation. 

The westernmost windows in both the north and south wall are considerably elongated so as to allow the sill to be used as a seat.  These are known as 'low-side' windows, the lower portions were at one time shuttered.  It is uncommon to find two in one chancel, and also unusual to have them at such an early date.  The northern one has had the sill raised at some point.

Alas, the lighting for the pictures of the southerly windows was far from perfect.  First the most easterly pair (partially hidden by the Victorian sedilia), then the central pair, then the most westerly showing clearly the very tall nature of the one nearest the nave.

Chancel windows, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTCChancel windows, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTCChancel windows, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTC

The plaque under the third window from the east reads "To the Glory of God, this window is dedicated in memory of Sarah Attenborough, Widow of the late Revd. W. F. Attenborough, as an enduring tribute of affection from friends and parishioners in Fletching, where she had lived a faithful Christian life, full of good works, for forty-four years.  Entered into rest Sep 15, 1907 X"

The northerly windows were easier to photograph, however the scaffolding against the northern transept did rather spoil the most westerly of them, which also had the most clear glass!

The windows (from west to east) depict the Virgin & Child (In thanksgiving for the life of Dorothie Southon 1900-1974), St Luke, St Simon & St Matthew.  The St Luke window has the inscription below "To the Glory of God and in memory of the late Rev. Edwin Peter Hood, B. A. for 17 years Vicar of this parish, This window is dedicated as a token of true affection by his friends and some of his parishioners. Entered into rest on November 15th 1917, aged 71 years."

Chancel windows, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTCChancel windows, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTCChancel windows, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTCChancel windows, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTC

The east window is an interesting geometrical design, dating from the latter years of the 13th century.  It is of three lights, the arches springing from a point unusually low in the jambs, making the head peculiarly long and acute.  There are three cusped circles in the head.  It was carefully restored in 1880 and closely follows the original.  The dimensions of this window are 14 feet by 20 feet and the Victorian glass is by John Kemp, beautifully executed but rather dark to my taste.

East Window, Fletching Church, 12th January 2005 - MTC

Digital photographs

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The historical notes on this page were obtained mainly from the excellent guide for sale in the church "Fletching, The Parish & Church, 4th edition, December 1998, by B W Howe" and from notices in the church.

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