Description: Church of St Mary
Date Listed: 22 July 1949
English Heritage Building ID: 297571
OS Grid Reference: SZ9493799880
OS Grid Coordinates: 494937, 99880
Latitude/Longitude: 50.7907, -0.6545
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745/18/40 FELPHAM ROAD
CHURCH OF ST MARY
Large church in a village which is now part of the outskirts of Bognor Regis. C12 origins, c.1200 north arcade; c.1300 south arcade and clerestory; c.1350 chancel; C15 tower and C15 raising and refenestration of the south aisle; porch of c.1800; 1899 rector's vestry; 1939 choir vestry.
MATERIALS: Stone rubble and flint with red tiled roofs. The tower has had extensive C20 tile repair.
PLAN: Plan of nave, chancel and west tower. Three-bay aisles: north aisle under lean-to roof with clerestory to nave; south aisle under catslide roof. South porch; rector's vestry at west end of north aisle; choir vestry on north side with link to the north aisle.
EXTERIOR: Handsome buttressed three-bay C14 chancel with diagonal buttresses to the east wall and buttresses with set-offs to the north and south walls. Three-light east window with Flamboyant tracery, north and south windows tall and two-light with Decorated tracery and pretty ogival arched priest's doorway on south side. On the north side the nave has two small trefoil-headed clerestory windows above the lean-to aisle roof, the aisle has three large gabled dormer windows with trefoil-headed lancets and a plate-traceried east window. The south aisle has square-headed windows, those flanking the porch with hoodmoulds. Handsome three-stage embattled C15 tower with diagonal buttresses, a low pyramidal tiled roof and a chequerboard frieze above the lower stage. The west face has a worn doorway and a three-light Perpendicular-style window. Two-light segmental-headed belfry windows; slate clock face in diagonal frame on south side commemorating Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The 1899 rector's vestry at the north end of the north aisle continues the form of the medieval aisle and has a two-light square-headed west window. The 1939 flint choir vestry is large and sited parallel to the north aisle. c.1800 gabled south porch with C15 or early C16 plank and cover strip south door with studs.
INTERIOR: Double hollow-chamfered chancel arch, the arch mouldings dying into the responds. Three-bay c.1200 north arcade with circular piers and square capital, narrow chamfers to the slightly pointed arches and some carved detail on the arcade wall above the capitals. Three-bay c.1300 south arcade with cylindrical piers with moulded capitals and double-chamfered arches. Tall double-chamfered tower arch. The responds have moulded capitals which extend across the west wall as string courses. C19 or early C20 crown post and tie beam nave roof with two-way bracing to the crown posts and a boarded ceiling. Probably C19 collar rafter chancel roof with ashlar pieces. The roof is ceiled with plaster board above the collars, which have straight braces. C14 ogival arched piscine in chancel. 1870s/1880s reredos with a gabled marble frame containing mosaic and tile Annunciation scene, with an integral mosaic and tile dado across the east wall; C19 encaustic floor tiles to the sanctuary; C19 timber Gothic sanctuary rail. C19 choir stalls and nave benches with ends with poppyhead finials. C19 timber drum pulpit with blind traceried sides, 'refashioned in 1978' (plaque). Font probably early C13 with a square Wealden marble bowl decorated with round-headed arcading. 1963 bell-ringers' gallery in tower.
Wall monuments include an oval tablet to Thomas Steele, Recorder of Chichester, d.1775 and a plain tablet to William Hayley, d.1820, poet and biographer of the poet Cowper inscribed with a long poem by Mrs Opie. C13 parish chest in rector's vestry not seen at time of visit, August 2002.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: St Mary's Church has special significance as a multi-phase medieval church, where each phase is clearly legible. It also has a C13 clerestory, which is rare in Sussex, and a good font, probably early C13. The C19 mosaic and tile Annunciation scene altar piece and a wall plaque to the poet, William Hayley adds interest, but the reredos and seating are of typical C19 character.
SOURCES: Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Sussex, 1965, pp 218-219
Guide to the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Felpham, Sussex. Compiled 1958, last revised 1991.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.