Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

St Andrew, Southease

"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.

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