There are some occasions when from the moment I walk through the door, I just know that the interior of a church has something special to offer and will provide me with plenty of photographic opportunities. When I visited the Church of St Mary the Virgin in the tiny remote hamlet of North Stoke, this proved to be one of those occasions.
I have to say I do like simple churches; ones that are timeless and barring a few recent additions are largely unrestored. This particular church nestles in the South Downs about 2 miles to the north of Arundel. Apart from the adjacent farmhouse, together with various farm buildings, the church is isolated and surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Arun Valley.
The Church dates back to Medieval times; the nave being 12th Century in origin. It is no longer in regular use but maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust. Its quiet, calm and peaceful atmosphere evokes centuries of prayer.
A Bible lies open on a plain white cloth, covering an old table. Simple but evocative.
Though not large, its simplicity and elegant proportions give the impression of height and space. Light floods in through the clear glass of the beautiful Medieval windows to illuminate the interior.
The church is largely hidden by trees so taking a photograph of the exterior is not that easy, but the view below does emphasise the simplicity of the church. There is no tower, just a dormer belfry which cannot be seen.
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