St Mary’s Church, Westham

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2021

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

Standing near the west gate of Pevensey Castle and Roman Fort, this is supposedly one of the first Norman Churches in England. Today all that remains of the Norman church is the south wall with three small Norman windows. The rest of the church is later. Like so many churches, it was restored in the C19th.

The tower is large and squat and heavily buttressed, probably because it was built on marshy ground. The small turret on the outside of the north wall contains a spiral staircase reached through a doorway from the north aisle. No-one is sure what its purpose was. It may have held a sanctus bell or provided access to the roof. Another suggestion is that it may have been a leper’s tower.

By the west door is a holy water stoup, now behind iron bars. This was originally at hand height but since the church was built, the level of the ground has risen by about two feet.

Inside, it is a large church, with a nave, north aisle, south transept and chancel. The south transept was used as a school room until the mid C19th. It is now a ‘quiet room’. The north aisle is bare with a few tables and chairs used to serve refreshments. The organ is at the end of the north aisle.

High on the south wall are three small Norman windows.

A carved wooden rood screen dating from the C15th separates the chancel from the nave. The top is modern. A stone staircase in the chancel arch gave access to the top of the rood screen.

The chancel is simple with a carved altar screen and stained glass east window. On the floor is a stone grave slab dated 1694.

This is rather a plain and uninspiring church; its main claim to fame being its age… It is open 10-4. There is on street parking near the church. The nearest postcode is BN24 5LL and the grid reference is TQ641046.



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