St Mary, Ringmer, East Sussex - 14th February 2004

There has probably been a church in Ringmer on the present site for at least 1000 years. The earliest part of the fabric which can be dated is the nave arcade; the arches are Early English in style and are therefore probably 13th century. The masonry indicates that the aisle roofs have been raised at some point in the building's history.

Sadly the church was locked so I was unable to obtain internal pictures.

St Mary, Ringmer, East Sussex - 14th February 2004 - MTC

The Lady Chapel to the north of the Sanctuary and the Springett Chapel to the south were built as Chantry chapels shortly before the reformation at the start of the 16th century. The heightening of the south chapel in brick was probably done in the 17th century.

In the early 19th century in Ringmer, music was provided by a church band, which was replaced by a pipe organ in 1856. A larger organ, the gift of Mr John Christie of Glyndebourne, replaced the original one in 1922. It is still in use after a major refurbishment in 1988.

This statue of the Virgin Mary greets worshippers from here place above the entrance to the south porch.

St Mary, Ringmer, East Sussex - 14th February 2004 - MTC

There must have been a tower in the 16th century, for there is a record of a bequest to the bell ringers from about 1550. However this tower had disappeared by 1682, either collapsed or burned down, as there is a reference to "the want of a steeple".  A new tower was built about this time which in turn burned down in about 1800 and replaced by a simple bell turret.

The present tower, a gift from Mr William Langham Christie of Glyndebourne, was built in 1884 complete with a ring of 8 bells.  The second was a "people's bell" and the original list of donations towards its cost hangs in the ringing room. There were about 200 donors (at this time the population of the parish was about 2000) who gave anything from 3d (children) to 2 guineas.

The tower, St Mary, Ringmer, East Sussex - 14th February 2004 - MTC

John Harvard, founder of the American University that bears his name, was married in the church to the vicar's daughter, Anne Sadler, in 1636.

The first, and latest, major addition to the church since the building of the tower was the addition of a Church Room on the north side of the nave in 2000 which also provides a kitchen and toilets.

The church has its own website, which is where most of the information in these notes was gleaned.

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