The parish was united with Rodmell in 1944.
This is delightful Sussex country church, one of only three with round towers in Sussex. The others are St Michael's, Lewes and Piddinghoe. One of the two bells in the tower is the third oldest in Sussex, c. 1280, inscribed "IOHANNES ALEYN ME FECIT". The other bell is also medieval.
Southease belonged to the Abbey of Hyde, Winchester, and the church is mentioned in a charter of King Edgar, dated 966.
The existing building is the nave of a 12th century church which has kept its round tower but has lost its original chancel and aisles. There are two Norman windows, one blocked, and a pair of blocked arches which once opened into the aisles. There are now no traces of the aisles above ground, except for a piscina on the outside of the north wall which would have served the vanished altar in that aisle. The walls have interesting 13th century paintings, the clearest one being on the west wall depicting Christ in Majesty and the symbols of St John and St Luke. The paintings were exposed in 1934-5 and are the remnants of a scheme that would have once covered the whole of the church interior.
A wooden rood screen was added to the building in the 15th century to form the present chancel. Later this screen was removed and replaced by a modern timber arch, but some of the original red colour may be seen on the north east face of the structure, below the sawn off beam of the rood screen.
Here is the nave and chancel, with the remains of the wall paintings on the north wall.
The organ is a fine example of 18th century design and craftsmanship, having been built in 1790 by Allen of Soho. It probably started life in a great house in London whence it passed to St Anne's Church in Lewes, then to Offham, and finally to Southease. It had suffered badly during these travels, and need careful restoring in 1965 by N. P. Mander Ltd and was brought back to its original appearance and tonal scheme. There are few organs of this type and date still in existence. St Margaret's Westminster, York Minster, and the private Chapel at Buckingham palace have similar ones.
Here are the pipe organ, the Georgian Royal arms over the door and a striking window with modern glass.
Visitors to this album since June 2003
If you would like to purchase any of the images featured here or commission others of this church, please click here.
If you found this page using a search engine or other link, please use the icons below to link to one of the main sections of the Roughwood web site:
Please do not reproduce or store any of the pictures on this site without asking first.