alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘St Mary the Virgin’

Churches Project no.16 – A return to North Stoke, West Sussex

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There is something to be said for returning to a location or indeed a church which I have previously visited. The benefit of familiarity and the knowledge of the images taken before, help me to see things with a fresh pair of eyes, to explore new angles and find fresh compositions. The light can of course be different even in the interior of a church building, so a return visit can hopefully yield some new images.

This was certainly the case when I went back to St Mary the Virgin in North Stoke last week. It’s a particular favourite of mine so whether or not I was able to make some more images didn’t really matter, as I was more than happy to be in this historic and rather timeless place of peace and solitude. I hope the four images in this post help to convey this feeling.

Cared for by The Churches Conservation Trust, the church is no longer used for regular worship but is still consecrated.

If you would like to read the original entry about North Stoke Church and see more photographs then please click here.

 

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As always do click on any of the images to view a larger version which will open in a new window.

Churches Project no.12 – St Mary the Virgin, Upwaltham, West Sussex

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The church of St Mary the Virgin is very often called ‘The Church in the Field’ and it’s very easy to see why it has adopted this name. Situated on a hillside with the South Downs for company, this lovely countryside church has fields and footpaths as its neighbours. At this time of year the graveyard is full of white daises and when they catch the wind the scene becomes quite enchanting.

 

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The interior has hardly changed since its origins in the 12th Century. Plain, simple and largely lit by candles; which is just how I like it. This is one of a handful of churches in the whole country with a semi circular or apsidal chancel. I visited another church recently with a similar feature in North Marden, also in West Sussex.

 

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There are very few properties in Upwaltham but I have read that at one time the church served a medieval village. In times gone by it would have been a very tranquil place to live, but today the valley floor plays host to the main road between Chichester and Petworth – the A285. It is perhaps the only thing which detracts from this delightful church; as cars rush by, the drivers probably fail to notice ‘The Church in the Field’. If only they stopped to enjoy the delights of this truly charming Sussex countryside church, it would take them back to quieter and possibly less stressful times.

 

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Churches Project no. 3 – St Mary the Virgin, North Stoke, West Sussex

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.

 

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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.

 

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A Bible lies open on a plain white cloth, covering an old table. Simple but evocative.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

Do click on any image to see a larger version which will open in a new window. Or click on the thumbnail below to view a larger version of the featured image.