St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004

This church, dedicated to St Pancras, really is a gem of a church and well up on my list of favourites. 

The nave was built by the Saxons, and still contains an original Saxon window to the east of the porch. Originally there would have been six lighting the nave. It is typified by the large stones (quoins) at the corners of the flint walls, with stones laid flat and upright alternately.  This is known as 'long and short work'.

St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

The nave was built by the Saxons, and still contains an original Saxon window to the east of the porch. Originally there would have been six lighting the nave. It is typified by the large stones (quoins) at the corners of the flint walls, with stones laid flat and upright alternately.  This is known as 'long and short work'.

Saxon window, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCSaxon window, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

The east window was presented in memory of William Chandless of Selmeston, and at its top has two tiny stone heads representing King Edward III and Queen Phillipa (mother and father of the Black Prince).  The heads are copies of masks in the British Museum, the king being recognisable by his twisted mouth.

East window, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

This lovely canopied piscina is to the right of the altar.  To the north of the chancel is a Norman chapel.  Between the chancel and chapel is an arch of early decorated work with carved finial and cherub heads at each springing (one shown below).  The floor space between the arch was formed of a large coffin lid with an early English cross raised on the surface, rather worn as it was once the only entrance to the chapel.  Under the lid was a chalk coffin containing a skeleton.  The lid has now been raised and has had protective stonework inserted beneath.

Piscina, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCStone head, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

The Norman chapel was constructed soon after the conquest.  It's western arch is of two orders and springs from 'dog tooth' mouldings.  Originally there were four lancet windows, two in the northern and two in the eastern walls.  The eastern lancets were removed and replaced with the present Decorated window. There is a tiny circular window above the roof of the northern aisle, visible here in this photograph through the chapel's eastern window from the outside.

Norman chapel, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCNorman chapel, east window, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

Here is a close-up of the dog tooth springing.

Dog tooth moulding, chapel arch, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCHarmonium, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

Here is the church banner and another view of the chapel from the outside, looking east.

Banner, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCNorman Chapel, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

The nave has fine king post roof trusses and rafters dating from c. 1450.  In 1889 when the Rev. Thomas Bunston became vicar, the Bishop of Chichester described the church as being 'in a state of ruin, dirt and decay, worse than any other Parish Church in Sussex and bare of almost every decent requisite of worship'.  The new, young, vicar threw himself into fund raising and restoration and his efforts yielded results.  The roof was retiled, the stucco covering the exterior was removed and the external stonework repaired and re-pointed.  The old box pews were removed and replaced with the oak pews here today (at a cost of 50) and the floor of the nave was lowered.  During these works evidence of two fires were found indicating remains from a wooden church predating the Saxon one.

Nave looking west, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCNave looking east, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

During the excavations to reinforce the foundations of the tower, near the tower arch, a fine pottery urn was discovered which is now on display in a glass case in the chapel.  The British Museum believe this to be a Medieval jar used for food storage. The Royal Arms of George III hang above the tower arch, "Fear God. Honour the King".

Pottery urn, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCRoyal Arms, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

During the restoration, the lath and plaster ceilings were removed to display the fine oak beams.  Remnants of the wall paintings and murals were carefully preserved.  The roses and crosses are 14th century and the 'Elizabethan' texts, 17th century.

Wall painting, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTCWall painting, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

Also during the renovations the porch was completely rebuilt using the original stones, the remains of the holy water stoup were clearly incorporated into the new work.

Remains of holy water stoup in the porch, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

This view is the one a visitor sees as they approach the church.  Notice the small Saxon window with thin roman bricks in its head and the eight sided 'broach' cedar shingled spire.  Simply lovely.

The Porch, St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - 17th July 2004 - MTC

The view below was taken on 25th February 2007 and shows the church from a distance across the fields.

St Pancras, Arlington, East Sussex - MTC

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