St Marys Church, Sidlesham
Places Of Worship
Title: St Marys Church, Sidlesham
Description: Dating back to the 13th century, the pretty church can be found behind the Anchor Inn.
Address: Church Lane, , Sidlesham, West Sussex
Almost certainly built on the site of an early Saxon Church, St Mary our Lady dates from the early thirteenth century and this simple building is of the Early English style. The tower (complete with minstrel's gallery) was added in the fifteenth century, as were the bells; James the tenor weighs nearly half a ton and the treble a little less.
Once much bigger and certainly the largest church in the area, the chancel previously extended east of the existing boundary wall. Two Chantry chapels built in the fourteenth century and there was a vestry to the north of the chancel area. Part of the chancel and north chapel fell into disrepair and it was not until after 1660 that they were rebuilt using a great deal of the original material. It was at this time that the east wall of the chancel was moved to its present position.
Two small square stones can be found in the eastern columns with the inscription 'Chancel Boundary, 1814'. This suggests that there was once a disagreement between the vicar who was responsible for the chancel and the churchwardens who looked after the rest of the church. These stones made clear where each of the areas of responsibility ended.
As with many churches of the time, a Mass Dial was cut into an outer stone. This can be found above the south door and was used to let the parishioners know the time of the next mass.
Once surrounded by eight narrow windows, extra light was added to the nave in 1596 when the larger oblong windows, which can be seen today, replaced three of these smaller windows.
Treasures include the font which is probably the original (it certainly dates from the thirteenth century), the iron screen in the north chapel and the splendid brass candelabrum which was installed in 1750.