St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004

The church was founded about A.D. 1000 to serve the Saxon settlement of Wineltone, as Wilmington is recorded in the Domesday Book.  The Benectine Priory immediately to the south of the church, which was at one time connected by a covered cloister walk, was founded about A.D. 1100.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

Here are two views of the nave, the first looking east towards the sanctuary, the second looking west towards the Millenium window.  The Chancel was rebuilt in the twelfth century and from then until the 15th century was used as the monks' Quire - hence its unusual length and stone seats. The nave was rebuilt in the fourteenth century and its walls were adorned with mural paintings which were plastered over in the 17th century.  These depicted the Gospel story for the benefit of a largely illiterate congregation.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTCSt Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

In the north wall of the chancel is this strange carved stone figure thought by some to be an early Norman representation of the Madonna.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

Here is the Millennium window in the west wall beneath the tower.  The window was inspired by the ancient, 1600 year old, yew tree in the churchyard, symbolic of the tree of life.  The design is based on the rings seen in the transverse section of the trunk. They spread out in concentric annual rings, like rays of life or the spirit, rippling out to infinity.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

Here are other windows from the chancel and south aisle. One of the windows did not appear to have any back lighting, perhaps it is obscured on the outside.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTCSt Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTCSt Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

The nineteenth century south aisle was constructed on the site of a small transept from which the cloister-walk to the Priory emanated.  The picture below shows the altar at the east end of the aisle.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

The small chapel on the north side of the church was built in the 13th century.  Its window, shown below, is known as the bee and butterfly window.  Around a central panel of St Peter, probably of 15th century Flemish origin, it depicts a bee and nine different butterflies.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

The font is fourteenth century and the pulpit, with its sounding board, is Jacobean. The organ has in recent years been renovated and moved to the west end of the church.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTCSt Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTCSt Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

These Royal Arms hang on the church wall.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

Here is a final view of the tower with a fantastic blue sky. The church was restored in 2003/4 and I have to say is one of the cleanest and best kept ancient churches I have visited.

St Mary & St Peter, Wilmington, East Sussex - 18th October 2004 - MTC

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