St Margaret, Eartham, Sussex

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Feature Sets (2)


The church comprises a nave with a W porch, a W bell-turret, a 13thc. S arcade and a simple two-bay chancel. The plain W doorway has a tympanum in a raised surround.


The church was not mentioned in the Domesday Book, but Eartham belonged to Aldingbourne manor and was held by the Bishop of Chichester. Between 1157 and 1169, Bishop Hilary gave the church to Richard, the chaplain of Chichester, with two houses, five acres of land and specified tithes, Richard undertaking to have mass said weekly for the bishop's brother, Robert. It was restored in 1869.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

The round-headed chancel arch is composed of two orders. The arches are quite plain, and the imposts have a high upright face, with no groove, and a plain chamfer. The inner arch descends onto carved capitals on half-columns; the bases are composed of two superimposed rolls, without a scotia.

The N capital is carved with crooks or stems, which rise to form angle volutes, with the exception of that on the E face, which curls inwards. Between these, on the main face, is an animal head (rabbit?) with long, upright ears. Flanking it are hollow chip-carved triangles and below it is a strange motif with three cusps on the top.

The S capital is also carved with crooks or stems, which rise to form angle volutes. Between these, on the main face, is a bearded male head, flanked by hollow chip-carved triangles.

The outer order descends onto plain jambs, but the upper course of that on the S side has been replaced by a projecting block.


The chancel arch capitals are closely comparable with those of Stoughton. The Stoughton arch is larger and is articulated with roll mouldings, while that of Eartham is simpler, with unchamfered arches. In each case, however, the inner order is carried on half-columns with volute capitals. Curiously, the capitals of Stoughton seem earlier typologically. They have fat crooks, which do not form proper unified angle volutes but, despite the flounce added on the N side, seem applied to a smooth bell. On the Eartham capitals, the crooks have become stems, which issue proper volutes, with the exception of that on the E face of the N capital which appears to be purely decorative, and is descended from a type of 11thc. capital represented on the Sompting W tower. The Stoughton and Eartham capitals can be datedc.1100. The capitals are usually compared with Chichester choir caps.


  • Victoria County History: Sussex.4 (Chichester Rape) 1953, 152-54, with plan.
  • A. H. Peat and L. C. Halsted, Churches and Other Antiquities of West Sussex. Chichester 1912, 73-74.
  • I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 210-11.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SU 938 093 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Sussex
now: West Sussex
medieval: Chichester
now: Chichester
now: St Margaret
medieval: St Margaret (1514)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Kathryn Morrison