Visit Churches

Links to the historic Churches of Westbourne Deanery

Bosham  Chidham   Compton   E.Dean   Forestside   Funtington  The Mardens (E, N, Up)   Racton   Sennicotts   Singleton  Southbourne   Stansted  Stoughton   Westbourne W.Dean   W.Stoke   W.Thorney   Woodmancote

deanery churches

Amazing church. So alive and welcoming. (Chidham)   So lovely it is open. (Forestside)

For centuries our churches have been gifted with the skills of craftsmen, from 11c stonemasons to the stained glass and textile artists of today. Local people have contributed their talents too, reflecting each community’s affection for the buildings and confidence in the future. Our churchyards contain interesting memorials and provide a haven for wildlife.

BOSHAM Holy Trinity

  • Bosham church from the Quay Oldest site of Christian worship in Sussex; links to St Wilfrid, King Cnut and King Harold, who sailed to Normandy in 1064 from here; featured in the Bayeux tapestry.
  • Saxon origins; First 3 stages of the tower and first stage of the chancel are Saxon; remainder of chancel is Norman and 13c early English; notable 11c Norman chancel arch. 12c font, medieval piscinae (where vessels used in the Mass were washed), mass dial and other features.
  • Stained glass SE aisle window 4 fragments of 15c. glass (angels)
  • Bells: change ringing each Sunday. A ring of 6 bells in F, the earliest one cast in the 16c.
  • Memorials WW1 and WW2 inside the church with information on the 72 men remembered. Memorial stone outside under the clock tower with a Remembrance Poem.
  • Textiles: kneelers and seasonal altar frontals.
  •    Royal School of Needlework Festival Altar Frontal based on Bayeux Tapestry images
  •    Thought provoking modern pulpit fall and altar frontal for Ordinary Time blending Bosham’s dependence on the sea with ecclesiastical imagery (Mark Cazelet; Philip Sanderson and West Dean Tapestry Studio).  
  • Hand carved wooden boards listing the names of the Vicars of Bosham of the second millenium.

PhotoGallery for Holy Trinity Bosham, a Grade 1 listed building. (Photo above from Bosham Church website)

  • St Nicholas church hall – modern building north of the A259 used by community groups and for services.

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One of the hidden treasures of Sussex. A calming experience – so peaceful

  • Inline_Chiham_Map_church_IMG_0835-copy13c country coastal church, Grade 1 listed building. [Possible site of earlier Saxon worship.]
  • Modern, 800th anniversary window 2010, based on local saints and the Christian symbol of fish and fishing. St Cuthman pushes his mother in a wheelbarrow along the coast road; St Wilfrid fishes. Also stained glass 1860-70s.
  • Colourful children’s art in St Cuthman’s chapel. Don’t miss the teasel people above, 20 or so key figures of the last 800 years.
  • Memorials WW1 and WW2.   Photo gallery and more on the church here
  • Textiles. Some older kneelers. Beautiful millenium patchwork and embroidered map of Chidham with the community’s history. Read more on the map

St Wilfred’s church hall – modern building north of the A259  used by community groups and for services.

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COMPTON St Mary (The Octagon parish)

  • Part of the Octagon parish, situated near the school, pub and village store/tea room
  • 11c-14c origins; 12c chancel arch and north arcade still visible. Font probably 14c. Substantial 19c rebuilding. Reredos, late 19c, with 4 tiles showing the evangelists.
  • Stained Glass 1890s and 1924.
  • Memorial for Compton and UpMarden, WWl, WWll and N Ireland.
  • The Octagon parish says ‘The church, which is light and airy, can hold some 160 in comfort and more with enthusiasm’.

[photo gallery to be added]

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EAST DEAN, All Saints (valley parish)

Our churchyard – a small area of Sussex chalk downland where we invite you to enjoy the natural, unspoilt beauty of God’s Acre.

  • East Dean church early summerPart of the Valley Parish with nearby West Dean and Singleon, tucked away in a downland village (pub and village hall but no shop) adjoining the Goodwood estate.
  • 12c -13c cruciform church with 19c restoration. Fine 12c south doorway.
  • 127 species of wildflowers, trees and shrubs listed for the churchyard
  • More on the Grade 1 listed church here and the 2013 Flower Festival here

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FORESTSIDE Christchurch (The Octagon parish)

  • Small Victorian country church, once part of Stansted Park estate
  • Mid 1850s  stone and flint church, designed with an integral school and teacher’s house (the latter now private houses). Built by philanthropist Charles Dixon, owner of Stansted Park
  • Glass, mid 1850s Tree of Jesse window including a blue/green dragon
  • Textiles, colourful 21c kneelers

‘Nice that the church is open’.
‘Stopped by for a few minutes of peacefulness.’

[photo gallery to be added]

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Near the village centre with its pub, restaurant and fruit farm/shop.

  • 13c origins – 16c with extensive 19c restoration.
  • Bells: change ringing each Sunday morning. 6 bells Tenor: 5-3-21 (302kg) in Bb, GF
  • Glass, 1859-73 and 2007, (Dove, tracery, and blue glass window by Mel Howse).

[photo gallery and building information to be added]

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THE MARDENS (The Octagon parish)

‘Romans, Saxons and Normans penetrated these downs. They sowed, reaped and …. also prayed, and did so in churches of the utmost simplicity……Most are described as Saxon-Norman. I would describe them as Early English Christian.’ (Simon Jenkins, The Spectator, 3 Sept 1994)

[photo gallery and  information to be added]

Mardens – EAST MARDEN, St Peter

Downland church overlooking small Green and a thatched well. ‘The most modest and least ecclesiastical looking church in the world’.

  • 12c or early 13c single cell church. Possibly 12c font
  • Glass, 2 early 20c windows
  • Victorian organ said to have belonged to Prince Albert
  • Textiles, 21c kneelers, bright, original designs based on local area, with particularly fine altar rail ones.  Millenium canvas work picture of E and N Marden rural life and buildings hangs on the wall

Mardens – NORTH MARDEN St Mary

Access down a short track by an old farmyard. No electricity.

  • Remote, simple 13c single cell country church with apsidal (semi-circular) end. Built of flint rubble with ashlar dressings. Elaborate Norman south doorway of Caen stone. Font, bowl 12c or earlier and 14c stem
  • Wooden boards with the Creed, Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer, possibly early 19c
  • Glass, 1890s, 2 small windows
  • Textiles, some colourful 21c kneelers

Mardens – UPMARDEN St Michael

Park down a track off a narrow lane and walk across a grassy churchyard. No electricity.

‘Among the loveliest interiors in England’ (Nairn & Pevsner ‘Sussex’).

  • Remote, simple 12c/13c with possibly some reuse of older pre Conquest material. Pulpit mid 19c moved here 1920s from Stoughton.
  • Fragments of medieval wall paintings, one figure, possibly St Christopher with a staff.  [link to more information to be added]

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RACTON St Peter  (The Octagon parish)

Only the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is used in services at this small country church. Just a few cottages beside it.

  • 12c small church
  • Monuments to the Gounter family (16c. Easter Sepulchre, 17c. kneeling figures, 18c bust.) Helmet and gauntlet. 18c. Royal Arms. Painted boards of 10 Commandments
  • French Alexandre harmonium accompanies services
  • East window, WW1 memorial to the Christie family designed by Whall
  • Textiles – seasonal altar frontal for Ordinary Time of a cockerel by Jane Venables

See photos and find out more here

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Part of Funtington parish, situated on the outskirts of Chichester.

  • Flint chapel, built 1829 by an East India Company merchant
  • Retains its box pews and pink walls
  • Glass Pre1920.

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SINGLETON Blessed Virgin Mary (Valley parish)

S_inline_IMG_1700Downland village church near Goodwood and Open Air Museum

  • 11c features and later. Some medieval graffiti. 15c font. 19c reredos depicting the Last Supper.
  • Tudor pew ends
  • Glass 1870s and 1979.

Photo gallery and further information here

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SOUTHBOURNE St John the Evangelist

In the centre of this large village on the A259. Visit on a weekday morning and come into ‘Coffee Connect’, a coffee shop for the community in the church. Lots of things happening here, both teaching and service to others.

  • Victorian building, 1870s, re-ordered in the 1990s as a light and spacious area for its large congregations
  • Glass, 19c windows. Late 20c door of glass and wrought iron
  • Textiles, modern banners created by the church’s talented craft group

[[photo gallery and building information to be added]]

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STANSTED St Paul *(The Octagon).

  • In the grounds of Stansted Park estate. (Not normally open. See opening times for Stansted House)  The effects  of consecration were removed 2014 with a final service conducted by the Bishop of Horsham. The building is used for monthly prayer meetings, a carol service and occasional other events.
  • Unique regency gothic chapel with a Jewish theme; 20c restorations by Goodhart Rendall. Created from remains of the medieval former house c. 1812-17 by Lewis Way, owner of Stansted Park who worked for improved conditions for Jewish people across Europe and missionary work to the Jews.  Ten Commandments in Hebrew.
  • Glass, 1816 rare Georgian painted glass with a neo-classical interpretation of Jewish imagery, based on the Old Testament, and almost obscured Greek texts on Christ the Messiah. Restored 2010.
  • Other windows c1900 and possibly 1959 including heraldic shields of owners. Some window imagery is said to have inspired the poet Keats.
  • Memorial, WW1.

[photo gallery and further information to be added]

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STOUGHTON St Mary (The Octagon parish)

Country church in small village (pubs but no shops).

  • Believed to be a complete 11c cruciform Saxon church. Roman bricks possibly reused in N wall. Similar Saxon style proportions and chancel arch as Bosham, but dated c 1070. Minor changes and repairs over the centuries including 14c belfry. (Massive 14c timbers still support it.) Early 19c painted boards with the Creed, Commandments and Lord’s Prayer. Later renovations included 19c reredos,1920s pulpit and probably a 20c copy of the original font with an older ‘tree of life’ panel
  • Bells. Change ringing for Sunday services. Bells were cast 1849 (Treble, E), 1747 (2nd, D), 1597 (3rd, C sharp), c1390 (4th, B), 1602 (5th, A).
  • Glass 1870s and 1927.
  • Memorials WW1,WW2
  • Organ 19c Willis two-manual Organ, recently rebuilt.
  • Textiles. Modern altar frontal for Ordinary Time. Fine canvas embroidery wall panels show nearly 1000 years of parish history. Colourful 21c kneelers based on local scenes and nature. [Read more ]

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WESTBOURNE St John the Baptist


  • Original church 11c or earlier but nothing now visible. 13c-16c evidence. 18c spire. 19c heavy restoration. 20c additions. Grade 1 listed.
  • Yew avenue said to date from 1500. Fine 18c headstones.
  • Bells. A ring of 8 bells, hung for full-circle ringing. Used at 3 services each Sunday.
  • Organ. New Tickell pipe organ 2001.
  • Stained glass, 14 windows, 1840-1903.
  • Several books by local history group, including  the Westbourne memorials and Westbourne’s links with Stansted Park.
  • Normally open 10-4 summer, 10-2 winter.
  • Photos and church information here

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WEST DEAN St Andrew (Valley parish)

WDean_ExtGatewayCrop2inline-IMG_2211Country church adjoining West Dean house (former home of surrealist patron Edward James) and gardens.

  • 11c -13c with 18c tower and 19c restoration. Interior redesigned 1930s following a fire. Memorials to the James family and mid 17c Lewknor memorial
  • Stained glass 1956.

Photo gallery and further information

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Country church now part of Funtington parish.

  • Country church on the edge of the downs near Kingley Vale.
  • 11c, possibly pre-Norman conquest. Some Roman bricks reused. 13c, chancel, tower, carved bishop’s head and possibly South door.
  • Glass 1880s-1890s

[photo gallery and building information to be added]

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WEST THORNEY St Nicholas (Southbourne parish)

By the water on Thorney Island and part of a military site so photo ID needed for entry.

  • Early 12c origins with 12c tub font and some later changes. Mass dials on S Chancel doorway.
  • Cemetery contains graves of servicemen including wartime German casualties.

[photo gallery and information to be added]

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WOODMANCOTE   (Westbourne parish)

Woodmancote chapel

  • Small corrugated iron ‘tin chapel’, built 1892 for ‘any meeting or other objects having in view the spiritual, intellectual, moral or social wants of professing members of the Church of England’. Licensed for worship 1928.
  • Open for services only.

(Image by kind permission of )


1. Opening Most churches normally open daily (hours may vary) unless otherwise stated. For queries on visiting or disabled access, try, or contact the parish. Some smaller churches may be more difficult for wheelchair users.

2. Find out more.

  • General Church visitor leaflets, parish web sites (see contacts page) and
  • Architectural Good web site on the development of each church and its fittings, illustrated with references,   Books ‘Sussex – The Buildings of England’ Nairn and Pevsner, Penguin, 1965 reprinted as ‘Sussex – Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England’.  Victoria County History: vol 4 Sussex.
  • War memorials  information on men commemorated on some of the war memorials.  The Octagon sometimes includes their local roll on its web site. Bosham has information in the church.
  •  Stained glass. Listing of Victorian or later glass with subject, manufacturer, designer, who it commemorates and date in
  • Bells Sussex County Association of Change Ringers

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