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Church of St Leonard in the Wood, Hastings

Description: Church of St Leonard in the Wood

Grade: II
Date Listed: 19 January 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 293741

OS Grid Reference: TQ7866311375
OS Grid Coordinates: 578663, 111375
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8743, 0.5380

Location: Church in the Wood Lane, East Sussex TN38 9PB

Locality: Hastings
Local Authority: Hastings Borough Council
County: East Sussex
Country: England
Postcode: TN38 9PB

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Listing Text


Church. C13, restored in 1865 (architect not at present known) with attached 1970s parish hall. Early English style.
MATERIALS: Built of stone rubble with tile-hanging to top of tower and tiled roof.
PLAN: Three bay nave with west tower and lower two bay chancel, south porch, north east vestry and north parish hall.

EXTERIOR: The west wall of the nave is of medieval stone rubble with a projecting central buttress. The two large pointed arched windows have two cinquefoil-headed lights of 1865. West tower of two stages, the upper stage tile-hung and with pyramidal roof with weathervane. The south side of the nave has two large C19 trefoil-headed windows with three trefoiled circular lights above and dripmould. The south porch is gabled with a cross-shaped saddlestone, a round-headed arch with colonnettes and the sides have arcades of four pointed arches supported on columns. The north wall of the nave is of medieval origin but is now concealed externally by the 1970s parish hall. The chancel is lower with a two-light C19 pointed window in the south wall and pointed arched doorcase. The east wall of the chancel is rendered with a three-light trefoil-headed window with circular feature above and deep plinth. The north wall of the nave is now obscured externally by a stone rubble parish hall added in the 1970s with three velux windows to the roof. The north wall of the chancel is obscured externally by a projecting vestry of stone rubble with two gables, the centre higher than the sides, each gable with a two-light cinquefoil-headed stone window.

INTERIOR: C19 scissor-braced roof to the nave but one of the tiebeams is original.The lower part of the tower has a C19 timber frame but photographs of the pyramidal roof of the tower show apparent original pegged timbers. The north wall of the nave has a pointed arched doorway and a plain medieval piscina which may have been moved from the south wall of the nave. There is a C19 octagonal stone font with wooden cover with decorative brasswork, a large Pyrenean marble pulpit with pilasters and multi-coloured patterned marble inlay and 1860s pews. A brass candelabra was taken from a Russian church during the Crimean War. There are stained glass windows of 1872 to the north nave of Mary and Elizabeth, the presentation to the Temple, and the bringing of the children to Jesus. South windows depict St Cecilia and St Catherine and two healing miracles. The west window is a war memorial window depicting Christ and a man in armour. There is a large chancel arch with half-columns and arcaded stone chancel railing.

The chancel also has a C19 scissor-braced roof, C19 choir stalls with quatrefoil cut-outs to the fronts and alternate plain and floral tiles to the floor. The sanctuary has a C19 double stoone sedilia with pointed arches an colonnettes and patterned tiles with floral and circular motifs. There is an elaborate wooden reredos with side panels donated circa 1890 by the widow of David Henry Stone of Castelham, a former Lord Mayor of London, and a Gothic style carved organ case of 1912. The east window is by a Brussels firm, Capronnier, of 1873 depicting the Risen Christ and miracles, above the figures C20 clear glass with leaded lights. There are also stained glass windows depicting Charity, dated 1875, in the north wall and Faith and Hope, of 1886, in the south wall.

HISTORY: There is a tradition that there was a hermit's chapel on the site in the C11. However, the earliest documentary reference to a chapel on this site is in the charter of benediction granted to Count Henry of Ely, who died in 1139, in which a reference is made to an earlier charter granted to his grandfather Robert, who died in 1090, mentioning a chapel at Hollington. In the middle of the C13 the chapel was replaced by a church, and a vicar was appointed by one of the prebends of St Mary in the Castle, who held the patronage. The names of the first vicars are not known until 1344, when John of Leveryngton exchanged benefices with Robert Brok of All Saints Church, Hastings. A bell in the tower is believed to be the work of William Burford and was cast between 1371 and 1392 in his London foundry. In 1865 a complete rebuilding of the church was carried out, the architect not at present known, the main cost at the expense of Miss Matilda Dampner in memory of her parents. The organ dates from 1912. The parish room was added to the north of the nave in the 1970s.

STATEMENT OF IMPORTANCE: A C13 stone church on an earlier, possibly Anglo-Saxon site, retaining some medieval wall fabric and the upper part of the tower, but otherwise comprehensively restored in 1865 in Early English style and retaining a little altered later C19 interior.

Nairn/Pevsner "Buildings of England. Sussex. 1985. P538.
Denis Baker "A History of church in the Wood". Church guide.


This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.