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Church of St Mary, Chichester

Description: Church of St Mary

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 5 July 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 300303

OS Grid Reference: SU8697604108
OS Grid Coordinates: 486976, 104108
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8300, -0.7664

Location: 50 Whyke Road, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 2JG

Locality: Chichester
Local Authority: Chichester District Council
County: West Sussex
Country: England
Postcode: PO19 2JG

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Listing Text

593/23/394 WHYKE ROAD
05-JUL-1950 (East side)

(Formerly listed as:

The nave and chancel date to the C11, the church was refenestrated and given some new liturgical fittings such as piscinas in the early C13. The church was very little changed until 1866, when a N aisle was added. A NE organ chamber was added in 1890. It was restored again in the mid C20, but was made redundant in the late 1970s. It was converted to offices by CMA architects in 2002.

Flint rubble with some Roman tile, stone dressings, some old render on S side, E end of chancel also rendered, tiled roofs. Inserted steel and timber mezzanine, with timber and ply lavatories and kitchen below it at W end. Interior largely painted and plastered.

Nave with N aisle, chancel with NE organ chamber. Mezzanine in nave.

Enormous, crudely tooled, C11 quoins survive at the SW and SE corners of the nave, and at the SE corner of the chancel. Traces of the nave NW quoin also remain. The other original quoins are reused on the N aisle NE and NW corners.

There is a small bell cote on the nave W gable. The W wall had a door with a lancet above until the C19, when both were replaced by the present two-light window. The nave S wall has a C13 roll moulded S door and a single, tall, early C13 lancet. The chancel S wall has two lancets, that to the west being longer, and there is another lancet in the E wall. The N aisle has a single lancet in the E wall and pairs of smaller lancets in the N wall. The N wall is low, and the roof has a long slope.

The interior is now dominated by the late C20 mezzanine in the nave, which is hung with tension cables from the nave roof beams. The plain C11 chancel arch is round-headed on plain, chamfered imposts and has crude tooling. C19 N aisle of 3 bays in an early C13 style has slightly chamfered pointed arches on polygonal piers with elegant waterleaf capitals and waterholding bases. The responds have moulded imposts. The N organ chamber opens from the chancel though a large pointed, slightly chamfered arch with two smaller, steeply pointed sub arches within it. The sub-arches are set on a single round pier with a square moulded capital and moulded base. A small, C12 window with a pointed head now opens internally above the pier. The outer arch replaces a pointed medieval arch that opened into a shallow recess of unknown medieval date. The nave roof has 5 old tie beams with queen posts, possibly C18, but the rafters are entirely closed in with C20 panels. C19 wagon roof in chancel, divided into panels with roll moulded beams and ribs. The aisle roof has exposed principal rafters and purlins, but is otherwise plastered in.

Probably C13 piscina in chancel has a pointed head and incorporates a pillar piscina made from an Anglo-Saxon baluster shaft. There is a roll-moulded statue bracket on the chancel E wall near the SE corner. There is a piscina in the SE corner of the nave with a trefoiled head, and stoup near the door also has a trefoiled head.

Simple C19 pitch pine pulpit, polygonal on a polygonal stem in NE corner of nave. Simple C19 altar rails are stored. C19 red and black checked tiles in chancel floor, now partly covered, and ledger slabs in nave under the present removable floor.

A number of C18 and C19 wall monument in both nave and chancel, mostly simple black and white marble slabs.

A large uncleared churchyard with many C18 and C19 slabs. The church forms a group with a one-storey cottage to the SW.

St Mary's church was also sometimes known as St Rumbold's church. The place Rumboldswyke is in the Domesday book, and while the church itself is not mentioned, the C11 fabric indicates that there was already a church there by 1086. The church was refitted in the early C13, when the lancet windows were added, probably replacing much smaller windows. The former recess in the N wall of the chancel may also have been added at this time. In the later middle ages, there were two fraternities in the church, one dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the other to St Rumbold.

Structurally the church was little changed between the C13 and the C19, but it had some new furnishings in the C17 that were subsequently removed in the C19 restorations. Despite being extended in 1866, the church was too small for the growing parish and went out of regular use in the early C20 after St George's was built, being used only for funerals and occasional services. St Mary's was restored in the late 1950s, but it was permanently closed in 1979.

In the late 1990s, it was taken on by CWA architects, the Chichester diocesan architects, and refitted for use as their offices in 2000-2002 with an entirely removable inner structure to create a mezzanine and service facilities.

Pevsner, N and Nairn, I, The Buildings of England: Sussex (1965)
Salzman, L F (ed), Victoria County History: A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4 (1953), 171-74

The church of St Mary, Rhumboldswhyke, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* An extremely interesting survival of a church of the C11, including its chancel arch and massive quoins with relatively few subsequent medieval additions and sympathetic C19 and C21 alterations.

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.