St Michael, Newhaven, Sussex

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Feature Sets (3)


Newhaven church is poised on a hilltop, high above the Ouse estuary. It comprises a simple semi-circular apse, a central tower without transepts and a double aisled nave of 1791. There is a vestry (1825) at the E end of the N aisle, and a porch at the E end of the S. The church was largely rebuilt by Habershon in 1854.


Newhaven was known as Meeching until the 17thc., when a new harbour was created there.


Exterior Features


Central tower, E face

There is a double bell-opening in the E, S and N faces of the central tower. All are Norman, but while those on the S and N sides have simple chamfered jambs and arches, that on the E side is more elaborate. It has a central (or mid-wall) shaft with a shaft-ring or annulet, base and capital. The capital is very worn, but may have had a waterleaf design originally. An edge roll runs around the heads of the arches and down the lateral jambs. There are angle rolls on the corners of the tower.

Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Central tower, E side (S to N)

SE corner: very worn, but with two blobs, which may have been heads.

E1: human head

E2: plain roll

E3: animal head?

E4: a long corbel possibly carved with indecipherable symmetrical motif

E5: a kneeling caryatid figure, possibly in ecclesiastical garb (bishop??)

E6: animal head with bridle

E7: animal head

E8: animal head

E9: very worn: two heads?

E10: animal head with horns?

E11: head?

Central tower, N side, E to W

NE: worn

N1: animal head (?worn)

N2: double roll (?worn)

N3: human head

N4: damaged

N5: damaged

N6: human head

N7: large spherical form

N8: small spherical form

Central tower, S side (W to E)

SW corner: damaged

S1: cat-like animal head with pointed ears

S2: animal head with furrowed snout and brow, and bulging eyes

S3: damaged

S4: broken off

S5: Animal head (worn)

S6: two heads?

S7: cusped form with edge frill

S8: damaged

S9: quadruped facing W (?)

SE corner: two heads (?)

Central tower, W side, N to S

NW: worn

W1: two heads (?)

W2: long corbel

W3-7 (approx number) concealed by nave roof

W8-12 all damaged


Carved stone

A carved stone between corbels E4 and E5 may represent an animal.

Carved stone

A carved stone beneath corbel E6 appears to be carved with a boat.

Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Tower arches

The round-headed E and W arches of the central tower have been very restored.

The E arch opens into the apse. Its E face has a plain arch and jambs enhanced by an angle roll. The W face comprises two orders, both with a plain angle roll carried on imposts with a groove on the face and hollow chamfer, carved capitals, engaged columnar shafts and attic bases. All four capitals are double-scallop type, with plain shields and sheaths. There is a drilled band on the angle of capitals N1 and S1. The bases of the inner order have spurs.

The W face of the W arch has a single order, with an angle roll on the arch and jambs, and no capitals. The impost blocks (groove on the face; hollow chamfer) run through to the E face of the arch, which comprises two plain orders with double-scallop capitals. Capitals N1 and N2 both have a drilled band on the angle, while S1 and S2 are plain.



  • Victoria County History: Sussex. VII (Rape and Honour of Lewes). 1940, 64-65.
  • M.A. Lower, 'On the Churches of Newhaven and Denton' Sussex Archaeological Collections 9 1857, 89-95.
Church Plan
Church Plan
Church Plan


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TQ 442 011 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Sussex
now: East Sussex
medieval: Chichester
now: Chichester
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Michael
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Kathryn Morrison