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Church of St Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Walberton, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8454 / 50°50'43"N

Longitude: -0.6061 / 0°36'21"W

OS Eastings: 498231

OS Northings: 106017

OS Grid: SU982060

Mapcode National: GBR FJ4.X5Z

Mapcode Global: FRA 96MV.TZ1

Plus Code: 9C2XR9WV+4H

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 5 June 1958

Last Amended: 28 June 2021

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1274877

English Heritage Legacy ID: 413983

ID on this website: 101274877

Location: St Mary's Church, Binsted, Arun, West Sussex, BN18

County: West Sussex

District: Arun

Civil Parish: Walberton

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Binsted

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Tagged with: Church building

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Church, of C12 origins, with later modifications, including a mid-C19 restoration scheme undertaken by TG Jackson.


Church, of C12 origins, with later modifications, including a mid-C19 restoration scheme undertaken by TG Jackson.

MATERIALS: flint with ashlar dressings, on a brick and stone plinth, all topped by tile roofs and a shingle-clad bell tower with a pyramidal roof.

PLAN: the rectangular footprint is orientated west to east. The church consists of an undivided chancel and nave with a projecting south porch and north vestry.

EXTERIOR: the two-cell church is covered by pitched roofs with a small bell tower at the west end. There is evidence for various phases of stonework and masonry repairs. The building retains some medieval masonry, including around the surviving C12 round-arch windows in the chancel and nave (two of the windows are visible externally, the third is blocked and only visible internally). The walls have mid-C19 cement pointing. The pointed-arch and ogee-arch windows throughout the building are mid-C19 replacements. The west-end and top of the east end wall have also been rebuilt, most likely around the time of the mid-C19 restoration work.

Attached to the south elevation is a mid-C19 timber porch with a brick plinth and fretted bargeboards. Within the porch is the south timber door with large C-hinges, set within a pointed-arch. To the right is a two-light nave window with quatrefoil within a pointed arch opening, a single-lancet window, a round-arch window, and a pair of buttresses. The west end includes a lancet window under an ogee arch. Above this end is a low shingle-clad bell tower with louvre openings, topped by a pyramidal roof with a weathervane. The north elevation includes a mid-C19 pitched-roof vestry with square-headed windows. There is a pre-1850s lean-to buttress which covers a blocked round-arch nave window; it incorporates two stone memorials in the north and east returns. Also on this elevation is a pointed-arch double-lancet nave window, a single-light round-arch chancel window and a further pair of buttresses. The east elevation incorporates a tall double-lancet window with quatrefoil, all under a pointed arch; the window is flanked by buttresses. The stonework in the apex of the east elevation differs slightly from the rest of the building, with the rubble flint incorporating stone laid in out in diamond pattern; this end is topped by a date stone reading ‘1868’ and a metal cross. The tile roof has an ashlar ridge; the roofline over the chancel is slightly lower than the nave.

INTERIOR: the chancel and nave are one uninterrupted space. Opposite the south entrance is the round-headed north nave doorway that leads through to the vestry. Near the centre of the west end is the late-C12 circular stone baptismal font; the bulging basin, with carved arcade detailing, projects slightly over its wide, round pedestal. The nave floor has C19 red tile with black tile detailing, installed by Godwins. There are mid-C19 pews in the nave and chancel. At the junction of the nave and chancel are the stumps of a former rood beam, embedded in the north and south walls; the shape of the moulding indicates a C14 date. The mid-C19 timber pulpit has foiled panels. The elaborate opus sectile chancel floor was installed by J Powell and Sons, and laid as a Cosmati-style mosaic. In the south chancel wall is a C12 piscina with a multi-scalloped projecting basin. Above is a triangular-headed aumbry; the aperture is probably C12, and is lined by later timberwork. A chancel window in the north wall retains a C12 wall painting within its splays. The motif is a three-branched tree on one side and a crowned woman on the other believed to depict either St Mary or St Margert of Antioch, with a star in the apex. There is also a mid-C19 wrought-iron and timber communion rail. Much of the glazing was replaced in the mid-C19. There are C19 memorial tablets on the chancel walls. The east window was created by J Powell and Sons to designs by Jackson, and incorporating panels by H Holliday. The north and south chancel stained glass windows are by Lavers and Barraud. The C19 west-end window incorporates stained glass with an armorial motif reused from the former east window. The exposed mid-C19 roof is supported by a pair of timber posts near the middle (separating the nave and chancel) and at the east end (supporting the bell tower) of the church; both have similar moulded detailing. The roof has six principal trusses with chamfer and stopped tie beams reinforced by metal straps. They have a variety of forms; queen-post truss at the west end, four central trusses with crown posts flanked by raked struts, and an A-frame truss at the east end.


The Church of St Mary, Binsted is of around mid-C12 origins. The church retains masonry and three round-arch window openings of Norman date (Williamson et al, 2019). Other notable medieval survivals include a C12 font, piscina, aumbry and the remains of a wall painting in the splay of the north chancel window. By 1291 the church had been appropriated by the nearby Tortington Priory (scheduled National Heritage List for England (NHLE) entry 1021459 and a barn listed Grade II* NHLE entry 1221996). Subsequent modifications to the church include the C16 north nave doorway. Various drawings, dating to around the 1850s, show the church with a variety of openings, including probable C18 sash window (north elevation) and multi-casement windows (south elevation and east end).

Between 1868 and 1869 a scheme of restoration was undertaken, led by TG Jackson. The builder was Mr Booker of Walberton. News articles published at the time noted that the church ‘which was in a very dilapidated and unsafe state, has undergone a substantial and decorative repair’ (West Sussex Gazette, 1869). External work included the rebuilding of the top of the east end, cement repointing, the replacement of the south porch and roof, and the addition of the vestry and buttresses. The west-end wall also shows signs of being rebuilt, most likely at around the same time as the mid-C19 restoration. The C18 windows in the nave and the east window were replaced with pointed-arch windows, and some of the C12 chancel windows were unblocked. Internally Jackson, added a screen at the junction of the nave and chancel (removed in 1947), and was responsible for designing the new joinery including the pews, pulpit and altar rail. He replaced the entire roof structure in the same style as the original. The chancel and nave flooring was also replaced. During the mid-C19 work, medieval wall paintings were uncovered which had probably been white-washed following the Reformation; the only wall painting understood to have survived following the restoration is the C12 image within the splays of the north chancel window. It has been recorded that the lost wall paintings may have included depictions of Christ in majesty and Christ's entombment. Jackson collaborated with other notable C19 craftspeople including Powell and Sons who installed some of the windows in the chancel, as well as an elaborate opus sectile chancel floor. In 1932 repairs to the shingles of the pyramid spire were undertaken by M Gill. A section of timber floor at the chancel end was replaced in the early C21.

Sir Thomas Graham Jackson (1835-1924) was a renowned late-C19 and early-C20 architect, known particularly for his designs of academic buildings, as well as churches across the country. Jackson entered the office of George Gilbert Scott in 1858, and began his own practice in 1861, opening an office in London one year later. He designed around a dozen churches and added to, or restored many more. His work at the Church of St Mary, Binsted was amongst his earlier work. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1896, and was awarded the royal gold medal for architecture in 1910. He was made a baronet following his work in 1913 stabilising and underpinning Winchester Cathedral.

James Powell and Sons were pre-eminent in producing glass for much of the C19 and into the C20. They became associated with leading designers and produced glass for William Morris's Red House. Opus sectile is a decorative technique using cut pieces of glass of different sizes, a technique rediscovered and refined by Powell and Sons in the 1860s, reusing waste glass to produce opaque coloured pieces. TG Jackson was a close friend of the Powell family and may have coined the term for the technique. It was reported at the time that their work at Binsted was the first application of this technique in flooring.

Reasons for Listing

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

Architectural interest:

* for its retention of significant medieval fabric including round-arched windows, a well-carved font and piscina, and the relatively rare survival of a section of C12 wall painting;

* for the 1860s restoration, which has been carefully considered and sympathetically carried out, and includes good-quality craftsmanship.

Historic interest:

* as church of mid-C12 origins which, despite later modifications and additions, retains evidence of its early two-cell proportions;

* for the involvement of the nationally-important architect, TG Jackson who was well known for his ecclesiastical designs and restorations, of which this is a very good example of his work carried out a relatively early point in his architectural career.

Group value:

* with the Glebe House (Grade II, List entry 1221993) and Church Farmhouse (Grade II, List entry 1222198) to the north.

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