St Nicholas, Bramber
Places Of Worship
Title: St Nicholas, Bramber
Description: Consisting of a nave, tower, transepts and a chancel-apse, St Nicholas was built in 1073 by William de Braose. One of the oldest Norman Churches (if not the oldest) in Sussex, features include rare early Norman figured carvings, a Royal Coat of Arms and a small number of attractive stained glass windows.
Address: Bramber Castle, , Bramber, West Sussex
Post Code: BN44 3HP
Built in 1073, St. Nicholas is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) Norman churches in Sussex. When William de Braose was put in charge of the 'Rape of Bramber', an established religious monopoly existed in the area. Most other Norman warlords concentrated on building defences and worried about constructing a church at a later time. De Braose, however, was keen to break the Benedictine monopoly and so built himself a church almost as soon as he arrived.
Originally consisting of a nave, a tower, transepts and a chancel-apse, the later had been replaced by 1250 with a more conventional Norman chancel. During the Civil War, the church was badly damaged. By the time the restoration started, the church was almost derelict; parts of the nave and tower were completely in ruins and the transepts and chancel had completely collapsed. The nave was rebuilt soon after the end of the war, but it was over a century later that the rest of the building was repaired. Unfortunately by this time, the stones from the chancel and transepts had already been used elsewhere.
Inside, the chancel arch bears eleventh-century Norman carvings; these are one of only three such examples which can be found in the country. The carving found on the north side is more basic than the other and probably dates from the time the church was built.
Never having had a peal of bells, the undated bell, which still exists today, is inscribed 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: Nicholas made me'.
Although there is not much stained glass to be found, the three small windows showing Jesus Christ, St. Peter and St. Nicholas are particularly attractive.