St Nicolas, South Street, Portslade, Brighton & Hove, Sussex - 14th January 2005

St Nicolas is the ancient parish church of Portslade, built long before Brighton & Hove sprawled all along the coast.  The old village still remains a tranquil refuge from the hubbub of the city.  This church is the second oldest one in Brighton & Hove and apparently is the only one that has been consistently been used for worship throughout its 850 year history.  St Helen's, Hangleton is the oldest.

The greater part of the building, including the tower, dates from about 1250.

St Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTC

The original church was Transitional, of which the columns and arches in the nave are the remaining parts.  The rest of the building was altered to Early English.  It consists of a nave of three bays with north and south aisles, a chancel with a modern vestry to the north and a western tower.  It is constructed of rubble with stone dressing.

Here is a view of the interior taken from the south west corner.  Sadly I couldn't find any booklet or historical information available in the church.

St Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTC

The two southern pillars of the south aisle (made of imported French limestone) are the oldest visible parts of the church, dating from the original building c. 1150.  About 1250 the church was enlarged, the Norman apse dismantled and the present Early English chancel erected.  A small section of the original Norman chancel arch is visible above the pulpit in the photograph above.

This is a view from the west end of the north aisle.

St Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTC

The Victorian Brackenbury chapel is situated at the western end of the northern aisle - is the grille to keep the living out or the dead in?  The chapel was built in 1869.

St Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTC

The only two other stained glass windows are in the western wall of the tower, of St Nicolas, and in the eastern end of the south aisle, of St Francis.  Sadly the bright sunshine coupled with the height of the window prevented me getting a decent picture of the former.  The St Francis window carries the inscription: "In loving memory of Vicars Armstrong Boyle M.A. B.C.K Vicar of Portslade & Rector of Hangleton from 1899 to 1919."

St Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTCSt Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTC

Under the St Francis window, a brass plaque has been mounted in the wall, brought from the ruins of West Blatchington church. It is dated 1499 & 1519.

St Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTC

The base of the tower has been adapted into a baptistry.  There is a plaque on the wall: "In memory of Brian Oscar Blaker, died June 2nd 1942 in Australia, whose family has been closely associated with this church from the year 1485, the space under this tower was adapted as a baptistry."   There is fine Perpendicular decoration on the base of the font.

St Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTCSt Nicolas, Portslade, Brighton, Sussex - 14th January 2005 - MTC

The last photo is of the Early English sedilia and piscina in the chancel.  These are 13th century.  The seats rise from the west to the east below arch hood moulding which terminated either end in mask-stops of crude design.

Much information on this page has come from the excellent web site describing the parish.

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