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Tours > Sussex Churches > Penhurst

St. Michael - Penhurst
TQ 694167; Four Miles West of Battle

There are few books on Sussex that do not mention this delightful spot. Manor House, Church and Farm Buildings are grouped together so perfectly that they might be a film set. Yet this is all genuine - even the church whose interior is perfect in every respect that it might have been built yesterday.

The fourteenth century church consists of nave, chancel and north chapel. Seating is in highly individual box pews constructed in the nineteenth century. How unusual in an age when so many box pews were being swept away! The font stands at the east end of the nave in front of a prominent Hagioscope. This is a rectangular window leading from nave to chancel, the purpose of which was to allow a priest standing at an altar where the font now stands to see, and coordinate his service - with a priest at the main altar. This common architectural feature is often explained in church guidebooks as allowing people sitting in the nave to see into the chancel whereas its sole function was for the priest. At the time these features were installed - and this one is fourteenth century - there were few seats in the nave of our parish churches.

Just to the west of the chancel arch you can see a hook from which the Rood Beam supporting the statues of the Crucifix, Our Lady and St John originally hung. This is a rare, though not unique survival. The Rood Screen which divides the nave from chancel is of fourteenth century date although it has lost its loft. In the base of the tower there is an unusual carved stone that allowed the stonemasons to carved windows of the same size and design. This 'setting out stone' is a rare thing to find in a parish church although examples may be see in many of our greater churches.

Next Stop: Icklesham

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