St Mary, Easebourne, Sussex

Feature Sets (3)

Description

The church, heavily restored by Sir Arthur Blomfield in 1876, incorporates some 12thc. fabric, namely the NW tower, one and a half bays of the N nave arcade and a blocked S doorway. Blomfield's extensive restorations included the removal of the dividing wall between the parish and priory churches (see para. VII below) and the reconstruction of the E end of the arcade. Romanesque sculpture is found at the W end of the nave arcade.

History

Easebourne is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but a church was erected in the course of the 12thc. A priory of Augustinian canonesses was founded by one of the de Bohun family before 1238 (Nairn and Pevsner, 212) or c.1238 (Field; Hinkley), and was endowed with the parish church of Easebourne and its chapel-of-ease at Midhurst. The chancel and E end of the old nave became the priory church, and were closed off from the remainder of the building, comprising the W tower, the W end of the nave and the newly enlarged N aisle, which now served as the parish church. Conventual buildings were erected on the S side of the church. At the Reformation the priory was given to Sir William Fitzwilliam, owner of Cowdray.

Features

Interior Features

Arcades

Nave

N arcade

The E respond and the first pier of the N aisle arcade were rebuilt in 1876, but the second pier and the W respond survive. Pier 2: octagonal, with plain necking, octagonal multi-scallop capital, with three cones on each face, separated by sheaths, and hollow-chamfered impost block with a large groove on the face. The SE section of the capital may be an insertion. W respond: polygonal bracket with multi-scallop capital comprising eight plain shields: two facing N, S and E, and one facing SE and NE. The cones are separated by sheaths of V-shaped section. Plain necking and hollow-chamfered impost block with a groove on the face.

Furnishings

Fonts

Situated in bay 2 of the N nave aisle. A square, lead-lined, Sussex marble bowl, supported by a central cylindrical shaft and four angle shafts. The central column is original but the angle shafts were replaced in 1876. The original upper part of the plinth, including weathered bases for the shafts, is set on a square, modern pedestal. The bowl is carved with five shallow round-headed arches, each of one continuous order, on its N, S and E faces. The plain W face must have been placed against a wall at some time. The centres of all four faces are very worn.

Dimensions
h. (basin only) 0.26 m
h. (incl. modern plinths) 0.955 m
h. (incl. original plinth only) 0.61 m
int. diam. of basin 0.555 m
l. of each side 0.68 m

Comments/Opinions

The scallop capitals of the nave arcade date from the second half of the 12thc., and may be contemporary with the font. Nairn and Pevsner date the font to the late 12thc.

Bibliography

  • Easebourne Priory guide: Easebourne Priory, 1977 revision Hinkley 1919.
  • Victoria County History: Sussex. 4 (Chichester Rape) 1953, 52-53, with plan on p. 48.
  • I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 211-13.
  • A. K. Walker, An Introduction to the Study of English Fonts with Details of those in Sussex. London 1908, 72-73.

Location

Site Location
Easebourne
National Grid Reference
SU 895 225 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Sussex
now: West Sussex
Diocese
medieval: Chichester
now: Chichester
Dedication
now: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church, formerly priory church  
Report authors
Kathryn Morrison