Description: The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene
Date Listed: 18 June 1959
English Heritage Building ID: 413298
OS Grid Reference: SU8916620540
OS Grid Coordinates: 489166, 120540
Latitude/Longitude: 50.9774, -0.7313
Explore more of the area around West Lavington, West Sussex at Explore Britain.
1899/11/46 CHURCH ROAD
18-JUN-59 THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY MAGDALENE
Parish church, 1850 by William Butterfield, later alterations.
MATERIALS: Wealden sandstone, squared and snecked, with freestone dressings, oak belfry and porch and clay tiled roof.
PLAN: Three-bay aisled nave with south porch, chancel with vestry to north.
EXTERIOR: Plain Geometric Gothic style. Nave and aisles under a single canted roof without clerestory. West front has angle buttresses and three-light west window with intersecting tracery; shingled belfry with pyramidal roof above resting on plain stone corbels. North and south aisles each have single stepped buttress; windows are of two elongated cusped lights with quatrefoil above. Chancel has single buttresses to north and south, and windows of two uncusped lights with quatrefoil. East end has clasping buttresses, three-light window with three quatrefoils, stone coping and cross finial. South porch is of stone and timber with open timber tracery and benches within. South door has heavy strapwork hinges and is set within archway of two orders with hood-mould.
INTERIOR: Internal walls now painted white, obscuring Butterfield's original stencilling. Nave arcades have tall double-chamfered pointed arches, springing from octagonal piers with carved capitals; corbels forming east responds bear delicate carvings of fern-fronds. Double-chamfered chancel arch springs from two outsize corbels of Sussex marble with thick vegetal carving, emerging from colonettes which are integral with low blind-traceried chancel screen of the same material, its upper portion now missing. In south wall of chancel are two stone sedilia and a triangular-headed piscina, and in the vestry an arched cupboard recess with foliated finial above. Floor of red and black quarry tiles, with patterned encaustic tiles in chancel. Nave roof of crown-post construction; chancel roof has close-set polygonal trusses.
FIXTURES AND FITTINGS: All by Butterfield: simple pews with shaped ends; choir stalls with blind-traceried frontals; octagonal timber pulpit with tracery carving and stone steps; octagonal font of Sussex marble on star-shaped limestone base with four marble colonettes beneath pyramidal timber cover; brass communion rails with twisted uprights; high altar reredos of coloured and painted marble, added to Butterfield's design in 1882.
STAINED GLASS: Ten windows by AWN Pugin, 1850-2: patterned grisaille in north and south aisles; three angels in medallions amid grisaille in west window; saints beneath canopies in north and south chancel windows; New Testament scenes in medallions at east end of south aisle. In south aisle, two windows by Lavers and Westlake, 1897, and Burlison and Grylls, 1917: large figures of saints in canopies. East window by Powells of Whitefriars, 1915: Christ the Saviour with St Mary the Virgin and St Mary Magdalene.
MEMORIALS: A number of late-C19 and early-C20 brass plaques; two war memorial tablets at west end of nave.
HISTORY: The church of St Mary Magdalene at West Lavington Church was built in 1850 to serve an outlying part of the parish of Woolavington-with-Graffham, becoming a parish church in its own right the following year. Its construction was directed and financed by the wealthy local curate Charles Laprimaudaye, an ardent Anglo-Catholic who in 1851 was received into the Church of Rome, followed closely by the then Rector of Woolavington and Archdeacon of Chichester, Henry Edward (later Cardinal) Manning. The two men's religious affiliations were reflected in their choice of architect: the 35-year-old William Butterfield (also responsible for the adjoining rectory, now Redwood House) was at that time at work on All Saints', Margaret Street, the London flagship church of the Ecclesiological Society, and went on to design many of the supreme monuments of Victorian High Anglicanism including Keble College at Oxford, Rugby School and the cathedrals at Perth in Scotland and Melbourne in Australia. AWN Pugin, a Catholic convert since 1835, provided the designs for a number of Hardman & Co.'s original windows.
In 1865 the reformer Richard Cobden was buried in the churchyard, one of his pallbearers being the future Prime Minister William Gladstone. In 1882 the present reredos was installed, again to a design by Butterfield, and a number of memorial windows and plaques were added in the early C20. In the 1960s the interior of the church was painted white, obscuring Butterfield's original stencilling, and the upper part of the chancel screen was cut away. The church was made redundant in 2008; it is now closed for worship, although it remains consecrated.
Nairn I and Pevsner N, The Buildings of England: Sussex (1965), 374.
Thompson P, William Butterfield (1971).
Chandler R, The Story of St Mary Magdalene Church (1987).
Shepherd S, The Stained Glass of AWN Pugin (2009), 371-4.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of St Mary Magdalene is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality: a design of more than special quality (especially as regards the exterior) showing great subtlety of detail, massing and use of materials;
* Completeness: largely unaltered interior with near-complete scheme of original fittings;
* Importance of designer: the work of a leading C19 architect, with original stained glass by another designer of equal standing;
* Patronage: commissioned under the aegis of Henry Edward Manning, a major C19 religious figure;
* Historical Interest: the building's form reflects mid-C19 High Anglican religious practice at its greatest moment of crisis.
* Group value: with Butterfield's contemporary vicarage.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.