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Tony Grist

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St Andrew, Southease [May. 15th, 2019|08:45 am]
Tony Grist
"Little lost Down churches praise
The God who made the hills..."

Southease is about as lost as it gets. It's off the main road- to the South of Lewes- on a loop of very narrow road that goes nowhere else- and yet it gets more visitors than any rural church I've ever been in.

Because it's on the South Downs Way.

And most of the visitors are very visibly hikers and cyclists. They sit on the benches by the gate and eat their sandwiches. They take pictures- and we all do our best not to get in one another's line of sight.

The building is Saxon and Norman and a bit of this and a bit of that. It has ghostly smudges of 12th century wall paintings- which I puzzled over and failed to interpret except that I think the least faded image represents St Luke's winged bull. It is wonderfully rustic. And it has a round tower- one of only two in Sussex- the other belonging to St Michael's Church on Lewes High Street. Simon Knott, who writes about East Anglia where there are lots of round towers, says they're easier to build than square ones. I'll take his word for it because I've never tried. Where they survive it's a sign of rural poverty- because patrons and rectors with a little money to flash liked to replace their round towers with square ones because square was grander and smarter.

I like the roof. I like the patterns it makes. Some of the timbers look new and some look very old. I stood in the chancel and pointed the camera upwards and this is what I got.


[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2019-05-15 11:43 am (UTC)
A round tower! I've never come across a round church tower... What a fantastic church.

And the churchyard full of cow parsley just adds to the beauty.

Edited at 2019-05-15 11:44 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-05-15 04:00 pm (UTC)
I love to see a round tower, if only for the novelty. I think they're rare outside of Norfolk.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2019-05-15 04:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think I've ever seen one. It is a lovely ancient looking church.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-05-15 04:44 pm (UTC)
The tower is 11th century, I think, and elements of the church are claimed to be pre-Conquest.
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[User Picture]From: mallorys_camera
2019-05-15 01:03 pm (UTC)
Very interesting! Thanks for these pix!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-05-15 04:01 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2019-05-15 02:31 pm (UTC)

That is a magnificent example of a round-towered church. We have seen quite a few up in Norfolk but this one is far more rustic and lovely than most.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-05-15 04:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, they're common in Norfolk, but rare outside of East Anglia.
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2019-05-15 03:06 pm (UTC)
Absolutely charming church, just love it. If we ever come back to holiday, I shall definitely put that on our list.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-05-15 04:08 pm (UTC)
There are a lot of small, quaint, unspoiled churches scattered about among the South Downs. I love them all.
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