The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, East Wittering, Sussex

Feature Sets (2)


The only Romanesque sculpture in the church is the S doorway.


East Wittering, but not its church, is mentioned in 1086. The church is thought to have originated as the private chapel of Oliver de Wystringes, who held the manor of the bishops of Chichester. Oliver held part of a knight's fee of the Bishop in 1166, and towards the end of the century he gave the church and the house and croft of the chaplain to Chichester Cathedral.

At the time of visiting the Chapel was undergoing conversion into a museum of 20thc. paraphernalia (1990).


Exterior Features


S Doorway, nave.

Of two orders.

h. of capitals 0.195 m
h. of opening 1.87 m
w. of opening 0.925 m
First order

Plain with segmental arch.

Second order

With two free-standing nook shafts with scallop capitals carrying a round-headed archivolt decorated with chevron. The W capital is multi-scalloped with four slightly tapered cones on both faces; the E capital is a triple-scallop capital with triangles, joined by loops at their bases, rising between the cones. The imposts have a hollow chamfer and grooved upright. The archivolt is carved with multiple rows of shallow, lateral, centripetal chevron (one fat roll, three narrow rolls, one fat roll, three narrow rolls), terminating in a flat disk (not compass drawn). Only half of the springers are carved (cf. East Lavant, North Marden, etc). Several of the voussoirs have been replaced. The chamfered surface of the label is carved with a zig-zagging ribbon, similar to ruban angevin but with additional vertical incisions.

Exterior Decoration



Voussoir from S doorway, reset in S nave wall, below easternmost window.

l. 0.235 m
max. w. 0.11 m


The chevron on the S doorway archivolt is similar to that on the Canon Lane doorway in Chichester, and on the S doorway of North Marden. It is, however, much flatter and is centripetal while these other examples are centifugal. At East Wittering the discs are on the inner points of the chevrons; at Chichester and North Marden they are between the inner points. The segmental arch of the inner order may be post 12thc. The voussoir in the facing of the S nave wall is probably one of those replaced by a modern copy.


  • Victoria County History: Sussex. 4 (Chichester Rape) 1953, 216-17.

  • J. Morris and J. Mothersill (ed.), Domesday Book: Sussex. Chichester 1976, 3.8.

  • A. H. Peat and L. C. Halsted, Churches and Other Antiquities of West Sussex. Chichester 1912, 174-75.

  • I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 216-17.


Site Location
East Wittering
National Grid Reference
SZ 802 979 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Sussex
now: West Sussex
medieval: Chichester
now: Chichester
now: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
medieval: St John the Baptist
Type of building/monument
Deconsecrated chapel  
Report authors
Kathryn Morrison