This church is situated off Preston Drove. The building was open for services until 1988, and finally closed in 1990. It is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust and is well worth a visit.
The best picture I could obtain was of the south side of the tower. The church was locked on my first visit, but as there is a nearby key holder I returned in August 2005 to take internal views.
Some of the present building dates from 1260, although there is a church mentioned in the Domesday Book. In 1551 the parish was joined to that of Hove and remained so until 1878. In 1896 it was decided to build a new church, St John the Evangelist, so serve the rapidly growing area north of Preston Park.
The church suffered a serious fire on June 23rd 1906, which destroyed the west gallery and caused significant smoke damage throughout the building. There are pictures of the aftermath in my Postcard Album. St John's subsequently took over the role of Parish Church in 1908.
Here is a view of the nave, taken from the small platform which houses the organ console. Notice the two small windows high in the east wall of the nave.
The church's main claim to fame are the medieval wall paintings, which are presented on a separate page, here.
Here is the (sadly no longer working) organ console. The pipes are mounted high up in the roof at the west end of the nave.
The many stained glass windows were all photographed and are presented on a separate page, here, or by clicking on the window detail of the Good Samaritan, below.
To the right of the chancel arch is the font, which, despite appearances, is probably 18th century, and comprises a shallow stone bowl on a stem of different stone. There is also a 13th century piscina in the south wall which was discovered under plaster during the renovation of the nave by James Woodman in 1872, prior to which the nave had been full of box pews and a large pulpit halfway along the south wall.
The three-seater sedilia was restored in 1877 when the chancel underwent major restoration by the rector Vere Fane Bennett-Standord and his wife Ellen. They used the architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, Ewan Christian.
Here is a view of the chancel, looking west into the nave.
The altar was first erected as a chest tomb to Edward Elrington (d.1515) who was tenant of Preston Manor. It originally stood on the north wall inside the altar rails, but as part of his restoration in 1877, Ewan Christian moved it to form the altar itself. The front and sides are finely carved with the coats of arms of families associated with the Eldringtons. The altar top is made from a later ledger slab commemorating Anthony Shirley, who had inherited Preston Manor in 1569.
The lighting, trees and angles did not conspire together for a great photograph of the south side in 2004.
Here is a final view of the north side, taken in 2005.
Quoting the Trust's website:
"In a small wooded churchyard adjoining the 18th century Preston Manor, now part of the Brighton Museum, this simple 13th century flint church makes a pleasing mediaeval contrast with its suburban surroundings. It is notable mainly for the substantial area of 14th century wall paintings that survived a disastrous fire in 1906. Those on the east wall of the nave depict the Martyrdom of St Thomas of Canterbury on one side and St Michael weighing souls on the other, are particularly impressive."
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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