St Simon, East Dean, Sussex

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Feature Sets (2)


The font, which incorporates a 12thc. fragment, stands in an extension of the nave dating from 1961; there is no other Romanesque sculpture in the building.


East Dean, but no church, is mentioned in the Domesday Survey.





W end nave. Substantially modern cylindrical or tub font, modelled on incorporated 12thc. fragment, in present location facing W. The bowl is carved with three horizontal bands of decoration. The broad central band is carved with interlacing circles and semi-circles, which, while not compass-drawn, are remarkably accurate: the full circles are alternately ribbed, plain and drilled; the semi-circles are all ribbed. The top and bottom borders are narrower than the central band. The top border is carved with large spheres between two bands of nebule moulding and the lower border with a three-strand plait.

circum. of bowl 1.825 m.
h. of bowl 0.39 m.
max. w. of original fragment 0.28 m.


The fragment was found in 1887, supporting one of the tie-beams of the nave roof (although said by Drummond-Roberts to have been found in a farmyard). The designs of the upper and lower borders resemble those of the fonts at St Anne, Lewes and Denton, both of which have a central band of basketwork.

The dedication of the church is cited by Drummond-Roberts in 1935 as St Swithin and St Jude.


  • M. F. Drummond-Roberts, Some Sussex Fonts Photographed and Described. Brighton 1935, 31.

  • J. Morris and J. Mothersill (ed.), Domesday Book: Sussex. Chichester 1976, 9.44.

  • I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 45, 491.

  • Rev. A. A. Evans, `Three Sussex Fonts', Sussex County Herald, 1 May 1920.

  • A. K. Walker, An Introduction to the Study of English Fonts with Details of those in Sussex. London 1908, 52-53.


Site Location
East Dean
National Grid Reference
TV 556 976 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Sussex
now: East Sussex
medieval: Chichester
now: Chichester
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Simon and St Jude
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Kathryn Morrison