West Dean is a tiny village tucked into the South Downs in an idyllic location. When we visited the sun was shining, there was a stunning blue sky and it was glorious. The building is ancient, parts almost certainly dating from Saxon times.
Here is a view of the church interior.
And a closer view of the east window.
The window below is in the south wall of the nave and the inscription reads: "To the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and in memory of his faithful Soldier and servant Maurice Theodore Laurence. Born West Dene September 19th 1817 Killed France September 1916." Maurice was the son of the Rector of West Dean and was also responsible for locating the ruins of the nearby Exceat Church, which fell into ruins over 500 years ago.
The bust of Oswald Birley (1880 - 1952) once lived in Charleston Farm. The bust was executed by Miss Clare Sheridan and was unveiled by Lady Churchill on 1st June 1958.
The ancient piscina, with its beautifully scalloped bowl, is very high, presumably indicating the chancel floor has been lowered at some stage.
The rather ostentatious 17th century monument in the chancel is to William Thomas and his wife. Thomas was a wealthy citizen of Lewes who bought the manor of West Dean in 1611. He acquired much property in the neighbourhood including Charleston Farm, or manor as it is known today.
The bust of John Anderson first Viscount Waverley (1882 - 1958) who lived for a time at East Dean is by Sir Jacob Epstein. The bust was unveiled by the Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Macmillan, on 19th April 1960.
This tiny window in the north wall was unblocked in 1963. It may well be a relic of a Saxon building.
For me, the Norman tower arch is the most lovely part of this church.
Here is a view of the north side. The tower still contains the bell acquired in 1677 which has "William Hull made mee 1677" recorded on it.
The spire of this church is unique in Sussex and has been likened to a monk's cowl, while the small windows in the tower, when seen from a distance, give the appearance of a face.
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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