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Church of St Cosmas and St Damian

A Grade II Listed Building in Hassocks, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.922 / 50°55'19"N

Longitude: -0.1306 / 0°7'50"W

OS Eastings: 531489

OS Northings: 115282

OS Grid: TQ314152

Mapcode National: GBR JMZ.3SS

Mapcode Global: FRA B6MN.T2V

Plus Code: 9C2XWVC9+RQ

Entry Name: Church of St Cosmas and St Damian

Listing Date: 21 June 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392037

English Heritage Legacy ID: 502709

ID on this website: 101392037

Location: St Cosmas and St Damian Church, Keymer, Mid Sussex, BN6

County: West Sussex

District: Mid Sussex

Civil Parish: Hassocks

Built-Up Area: Hurstpierpoint

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Clayton with Keymer

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Tagged with: Church building Gothic Revival

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1144/0/10075 KEYMER ROAD
21-JUN-07 Church of St Cosmas and St Damian

Parish Church. The chancel is Norman and parts of the north and south walls probably contain medieval fabric. Circa 1864 the church was restored, the south aisle added and the tower rebuilt by the Brighton architect, Edmund Scott in Early English style. In 1889-90 a north aisle and vestry were built and the chancel arch replaced. In 1909 the south porch was added.

MATERIALS: Flint with stone dressings and tiled roof.

PLAN: Three bay nave with apsidal-ended chancel, south aisle with south west tower to the western end, north aisle with vestry at east end and south porch.

EXTERIOR: The south west tower is of two stages with buttresses to the lower stage and paired lancet windows to the upper stage. There is a squat broached spire with bell chamber in the lower part with decorative wooden louvres. The west end of the nave is gabled with arched trefoil-headed window and arched doorcase. The north aisle is a scaled down replica but without the doorcase. The south aisle has two double trefoil windows and a large projecting gabled south porch with arched doorcase. The east end of the south aisle has a double trefoil window and a small trefoil window above. The north aisle has, from west to east, a lancet followed by two large arched windows with double trefoils and quatrefoil above, a double cinquefoil-headed window and the vestry has a tall chimney, doorcase with Caernarvon arch and trefoil-headed window. The east end has a trefoil window in the gable end and a one storey section with hipped roof. The chancel is apsidal-ended with early medieval flintwork and trefoil-headed windows.

INTERIOR: There is a pointed arched stone arcade with octagonal columns to the south aisle and circular columns to the north aisle. The nave roof is canted with chamfered crownposts and tiebeams. The west organ loft is supported on wooden columns and the gallery has a Royal Coat of Arms. The C19 stone font has a bulbous stone bowl on a circular central column surrounded by four red marble columns and there is a bracketed wooden font cover. The pulpit has a splayed stone base with splayed carved wooden superstructure. C19 pews. The south aisle has a boarded and ribbed roof. The north aisle has a simple canted roof. There is a large pointed arched chancel arch with semi-circular colonnettes. The chancel apse has a ribbed and boarded roof and there is a wooden reredos. The church has a number of stained glass windows of C19 and C20 date. The east facing window in the south aisle of the Annunciation is by Hardman and Co, given by the Turner family. The large south window in the south aisle of the Adoration of the Three Kings is also by Hardman and Co, given by Hugh and Ruth Saunders in 1865 in memory of their sons. A further Hardman window is the small south window of the Nativity. The lower stage of the tower has a window depicting the Flight from Egypt, also Hardman and Co. The north aisle has a window depicting a Sussex shepherd in a smock and his flock of sheep signed GHB 1883-1961, donated in memory of Philip and Martha Jenner, and the north west wall depicts the Miraculous Draught of Fishes, in memory of the Rev Edmund Clay (d. 1872). The west window of the north aisle has early C20 stained glass depicting the Hand of God, birds nests and daffodils. The west window of the nave also has early C20 stained glass depicting a series of musical instruments. The south wall of the south aisle has two wooden wall monuments commemorating parishioners killed in the First and Second World Wars.

HISTORY: A church at Keymer is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1095 the Lord of the Manor, Ralph de Kayneto, presented Keymer church to the Cluniac monastery of St Pancras at Lewes. In 1186 the church was dedicated to St Mary and a chapel at Keymer is mentioned in 1291 in the Taxation of Pope Nicholas. The Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538 severed Keymer's links with Lewes Priory, and the right to appoint priests passed through Thomas Cromwell, Queen Elizabeth and then the patronage of local families. By the early C18 the steeple was decayed and cracked by ivy and the bishop's report of 1726 called upon the rector, Laurence Price, to repair the chancel. There is a description of Keymer church in 1826 by Sir Stephen Glynne: "The church of Keymer...consists, as almost most of the neighbouring churches of a nave and chancel without aisles. It is built of flint...and has a tower at the west end of Early English work having some small lancet windows and a plain pointed doorway. The tower is surmounted by a heavy and low spire of two stages. ...The font is not now used and is much mutilated." A sketch of 1846 of the interior showed a Norman chancel arch with medieval wall paintings above. In spring 1864 it was agreed to enlarge the church by building a north and south transept amd to rebuild the tower. The Brighton architect, Edmund Scott drew up plans which also included a transept but the cost was too high and in the end only a new south aisle and the rebuilding of the tower were undertaken. The builders were also from Brighton, the chancel was repaired by a Mr Norman from Burgess Hill, a Mr Robertson from Hurstpierpoint undertook work to its roof, Mr Pepper of Brighton carved the seats, and stained glass was provided by the firm of Hardman of Birmingham. In 1889-90 the north aisle and vestry at the east end were built and the chancel arch was replaced. In 1909 the south porch was built. An early Ordnance Survey map calls the church at Keymer St John's, but by 1895 the patron saints were St Cosmas and St Damian.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: An historic church, between 1095 and 1538 belonging to the St Pancras Priory at Lewes with a surviving Norman apse and probably some medieval fabric to the nave, much restored by Edmund Scott circa 1864 in Early English style with the addition of a south aisle and the rebuilding of the tower and later additions of a north aisle, vestry and south porch. The interior has a good survival of C19 interior fittings, including 1860s Hardman and Co stained glass.

Pevsner and Nairn, "Buildings of England. Sussex " 1965. Pp 546-7.
Margaret Rose, "The Story of Keymer Church" 1986.
Wikipedia entry on St Bartholomew Church, Brighton for details about Edmund Scott.

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