About our church
The church of St Peter & St Paul has stood on the hill in the centre of the village for over 850 years and the Christian community who meet there reflect the diverse makeup of the village.
It is an integral part of village life and was voted the most important community asset after the village pub. At least one service is held every Sunday as well as services to mark special Christian and national festivals. The church is open every day and both the village school and pre-school have services and visits to the church. It is regularly visited by the children staying at Sayers Croft Rural Centre and members of local History and Bell Ringing societies. This is due to both the age of the church and its special bells, having a full eight which is unusual in such a small village church.
The main entrance
The church has a cruciform aisleless plan with a square tower at the crossing, supporting a shingled spire. It is built of local Hurtwood stone. The roofs, just under the 45o angle are covered with Horsham stone slab; the whole impression being one of robustness, rugged character and warmth.
The nave is the oldest part attributed to the 12th century by the listing description but with claims to the 11th century and Norman beginnings. The transepts and chancel were added in the 13th century around the original chancel which would have occupied the current tower. Repair work commenced in 1836 by the architect Robert Ebbels to underpin what by all accounts was a dilapidated church, but in the summer of 1837, the tower and spire collapsed taking with it “the roofs of the chancel, north transept and a great part of the walls."
The buttresses at the corners of the tower and the nave were added during the reconstruction. The west porch’s history and date are unclear. The listing description gives a 15th century date. Early 19th century illustrations show a porch over the south door to the nave. The exposed roof rafters in the west porch exhibit mortice holes
indicating reuse and the may come from the south porch or elsewhere.
The “Norman” south door may be a 19th century restoration. The sunken boiler room to the north of the Nave is of early 20th century date also built of Hurtwood stone.
The bell tower has always been a part of the church and unusually, for such a small church, it has a full eight bell peal. The bells were fully restored in 2018 with the help of a Heritage Lottery Award, plus other grants and Fund Raising by the Bell Ringers.
Like many old local buildings, it has a Horsham stone slab roof which covers a layer of slate with a waterproof layer. The ceiling below is lathe and plaster. The walls are local sandstone, probably quarried from Pitch Hill, the hill above the village, with flints added to the mortar to reduce weathering. Inside, the church walls are covered with lime plaster which may have originally been painted with murals, as were many churches of that age.