On the day we visited the church a flower festival was in full progress - and the church was buzzing with people. We also noticed Lucifer both inside the church and out - the variety of the flower Crocosmia that is, not the personage with the cloven feet!
St Mary's is reputed to be the first Norman church in England. Standing near the western gate of Pevensey Castle, the church originally belonged to a hospice and dates from about 1100. Externally, the only clue is on the south side, as a tower and north aisle were added in the early 15th century, and the chancel rebuilt.
The ancient timber roof structure above the nave, here looking to the west, is amazing, and beautifully lit.
Here is a view of the nave towards the east with the flowers and their visitors much in evidence!
The font, here beautifully decorated, is at the west end of the nave. The base of the tower has been tastefully converted, in use at the time of our visit, as a cafe. The original small window containing a stained glass representation of the baptism of Jesus is at the west end of the south wall of the nave.
On the outside of the south wall an line on the wall marks the roof of a long vanished cloister, and all the windows would originally have been above this, the small window in the above picture being an indicator of this. Most of the rest of the windows were inserted in the 15th century.
The window below, depicting St George and St Hubert is in the south wall of the nave.
Here is the large east window.
The window below, now partially blocked by a staircase, is in the north wall to the west of the entrance porch. The detail is from the centre light.
The pipe organ is situated behind screens at the eastern end of the north aisle and was being played when we arrived.
The final picture is of the north side of the church from the church yard.
I have been supplied with the following transcription from a memorial to the Fagge Family on the North Wall of Westham Church by Anne Johnson, who has kindly allowed me to share it here. The inscription was copied out by her husband's great grandfather. Anne would be pleased to hear from anyone who can confirm the continued existence of the memorial and perhaps supply a photograph, if so please contact me.
"Here lyeth the body of Thomas Fagge who dyed 1700 aged 13 months; also of Mary Fagge who dyed 1706 aged 20 months; also of Allice Fagge who dyed 1708 aged one day. Here lyeth interred the body of Mrs Margaret daughter of Sir Robert Fagge Bart: late of Wiston in this county who died August ? aged 31 years. Also here lyeth ye Body of Elizabeth daughter of Sir Thomas Fagge Esq of glinley who died July ye 22, 1717 aged 21 years Likewise of Thomas son of John Meres Fagge Esq and Allice his wife of glinley who departed this life June 6 1749 aged 18 years
Here lyeth the body of John Meeres, Gent, who depart’d this life the one & twentieth Day of January 1621 aged 81
Beneath is interred the body of Anne, widow of John Beaton of Wiston, who piously departed this life Jan 17, 1709 in the 71st year of her age
Sacred to the memory of John Merres Fagge, of this Parish, Esquire who having fulfilled the duties of a Christian, as husband, parent, friend and guardian and in every other relation of life, as far as frail mortality permits, assigned his soul to his Blessed Redeemer on March 25th 1769 aged 41 and is buried near this pillar.
In the same vault is like wise laid the body of Allice Fagge, his wife, who by an equal discharge of every duty enjoys the eternal reward of piety and virtue. She was daughter of Thomas Woodyer Esqre. And died Oct. 2 nd 1753. aged 55
Here also lies the body of John Meres Fagge, their eldest son, of the Middle Temple Esq and fellow of Trinity Hall Cambridge who, having lived to adorn human nature by his exemplary manners, was unkindly snatched away on 18th May 1750, aged 24.
With these are laid the remains of Tho: Fagge their youngest son who died June the 6th 1749 aged 17 and of Allice Fagge their youngest daughter who die in her infancy
In grateful remembrance of the virtues of her family, this monument is erected by their only surviving child. Dame Elizabeth Peachey. Relict of Sir John Peachey. Bart "
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