History in Structure

Church of St Mary, Chidham

A Grade II* Listed Building in Chidham and Hambrook, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8295 / 50°49'46"N

Longitude: -0.8825 / 0°52'57"W

OS Eastings: 478796

OS Northings: 103926

OS Grid: SU787039

Mapcode National: GBR CF9.ZN4

Mapcode Global: FRA 961X.20H

Plus Code: 9C2XR4H8+RX

Entry Name: Church of St Mary, Chidham

Listing Date: 5 June 1958

Last Amended: 17 October 2022

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1026418

English Heritage Legacy ID: 300733

ID on this website: 101026418

Location: St Mary's Church, Chidham, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester

Civil Parish: Chidham and Hambrook

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Chidham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Tagged with: Church building

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Parish church, of C13 origins, north aisle added in the early-C14, two phases of restoration in the mid-C19.


MATERIALS: rubble stone and flint with ashlar stone dressing, topped by clay-tile pitched roofs.

PLAN: the church is orientated west (nave) to east (chancel), with a small aisle to the north and a porch to the south.

EXTERIOR: the stone church is topped by pitched roofs with a double-arch, pitched-roof bellcote over the west end. The chancel has a lower roofline than the nave. The nave’s south elevation has three lancet windows; the central is in the position of a C13 opening, and the flanking windows are C19 openings. Towards the east end of the nave wall is the partial remains of an earlier blocked pointed-arch window. The C19 pitched-roof timber porch sits on a stone plinth. Within the porch is the pointed-arch south door. In the west end is an early blocked door with a pointed-arch door surround and above is a large lancet window. This is flanked by early buttresses that meet in an arch. The buttresses support a C19 stone bellcote that contains a pair of bells cast by John Ware and Sons of London in 1864 (refurbished in late-C20). On the north elevation of the nave there is a further early lancet window. There is also the C14 north aisle with a mono-pitch roof. The aisle’s east and west ends contain pairs of C19 lancets arranged in descending size and topped by trefoil arches. The chancel has two early lancet windows on both the north and south elevations. The east end has one large C19 lancet flanked by smaller windows. The gable end is finished by stone coping supported by kneelers and it is topped by a stone cross pinnacle.

INTERIOR: at the west end, in the location of the infilled west door, is a section of exposed C15 stone panelling which may have been reused from a chest tomb. In front of the south porch is the font consisting of a round bowl on a chamfered square base. On the north side of the nave is a double arcade with polygonal pillars supporting pointed arches, this leads through to the narrow aisle. At the east end of the aisle coloured glass windows were installed in 2010. Within the wall between the nave and aisle is the remains of the access to the rood loft, including rectangular openings with timber surrounds on either side of the wall, and a timber step. At the east end of the nave’s south wall is a square stone recess, attributed as the site of a former piscina. The chancel arch is of two chamfered orders; the inner arch rests on conical corbels. The chancel arch was heightened and widened in the C19, reusing early stonework. On the south wall of the chancel is a piscina with a C13 frame with the remains of a trefoil arch; the basin is C19. Adjacent is the aumbry, a low-level recess topped by a segmental arch, also around C13. A C13 Purbeck marble tombstone has been recorded in the floor below the aumbry, and a stone altar slab set in the floor under the communion table (both concealed). There are stone wall monuments on either side of the chancel to Henry Bickley and George Meggott. The chancel windows have deep reveals and link by an ashlar continuous cill. The church's C19 stained glass has been attributed to Clayton and Bell. The roof structure, collar trusses to the nave and scissor trusses to the chancel, are C19. The timber pews, altar rails, panelling, pulpit and tile floor are also C19.


The nave and chancel of the Church of St Mary are of C13 origins. It was under the ownership of the College of Bosham. In the early C14 a narrow aisle was added to the north side of the nave. A drawing from the Sharpe Collection (1805) shows the church with a boarded bellcote supported by a pair of buttresses. It also depicts a pointed-arch west end doorway below a small round-headed window.

In 1850 an initial phase of restoration included the replacement of the chancel east window with three, stepped lancets. The chancel arch was also likely heightened at this time. The second phase of restoration took place in 1864 including the re-roofing of the nave and aisle, the rebuilding of the outer face of the south doorway, the replacement of a south brick porch with a timber structure, and the replacement of the bellcote in stone. A drawing from 1864 shows the roofless nave and a crown-post roof to the chancel, this differs from the current structure and indicates the chancel roof has been replaced since the mid-C19. During the C19 restoration, some of the stone dressing was repaired or replaced, and two of the nave lancet windows in the south wall and the west end window were installed to replace earlier openings. Windows in the east and west end of the north aisle were also replaced by pairs of lancets. In addition, the font bowl was found under the floor and placed on a new base. The date of the font bowl is unknown, with suggested dates including the late-C12 to early-C13, or the mid-C17.

In 1998 a wall monument on the north side of the chancel was removed for restoration and a section of text, dating to around 1640, was revealed and conserved before the monument was returned. In 2010 a new coloured glass design was installed in the north aisle’s east windows, by glass artist and designer Mel Howse; it was part of the commemoration of the church’s 800 year anniversary.

Reasons for Listing

The Church of St Mary, Chidham, West Sussex is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for its retention of significant medieval fabric including lancet windows, the blocked west-end doorway, as well as stone-carved piscina and aumbry apertures, and fragments of early joinery;

* the mid-C19 restoration has been carefully considered and sympathetically carried out.

Historic interest:

* as a church of C13 origins which, despite later modifications and additions, retains evidence of its early proportions and circulation

Group value:

* with the nearby listed building including Manor House (Grade II, List entry: 1354464) to the north and The Old Rectory (Grade II, List entry: 1230680) to the south.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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