Approached by a narrow country lane, Holy Sepulchre, Warminghurst, lies between the villages of Thakeham and Ashington. With only a farmhouse as a neighbour this is the second church I have visited which is maintained by The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT). Described on the CCT website as a ‘Country gem from a gentler era’ you only have to step inside this sandstone church to know the description is very appropriate. It is quite lovely and well worth finding the time to visit.
On raised ground above the lane itself, the churchyard has views across farmland to the Iron Age fort of Chanctonbury Ring in the distance, but it’s inside the church when the true beauty of this building reveals itself. Thought to date back to the late 13th century there is evidence to suggest the timbers in the bell frame are from 1158. The interior furnishings are from the 1700’s and the silvery oak pews, triple decker pulpit and three arched screen are all rather special and in part make this church such a wonderful place to visit. Clear glass leaded windows ensure the interior is well lit, and when the sun shines, splendid shadows are cast in the window reveals.
Churches which are maintained by The CCT depend on donations but also the knowledge that the church attracts regular visitors. I was there for over two hours taking photographs and a good number of people came and went in that time. I am pleased to say that some just came to sit and pray quietly and I respected their visit and stopped what I was doing, so they could be find peace in this charming unspoilt country place of worship.
Historians might find it interesting to know that Warminghurst Park was owned by the Quaker, William Penn. Purchased by James Butler he later demolished it, as he was determined to remove all trace of the old Quaker, who as a Trustee of West Jersey gave his name to what later became known as Pennsylvania.
Do click on any of the images to view a larger version or visit the West Sussex Gallery page for other churches in the same county.
For more information about my ongoing Churches Project do click here.