St Mary, East Lavant, Sussex

Download as PDF

Feature Sets (2)


12thc. nave with 13thc. aisle, chancel and brick tower of 1671 on the S of the nave. The church was restored in 1863 by G. M. Hills. The only Romanesque sculpture at East Lavant is the W doorway.


The manor and church of East Lavant belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury from pre-Conquest times until the Reformation.


Exterior Features


W doorway, nave

Of shelly limestone, set (or reset) in flint-faced wall. Round-headed and of two orders.

h. of capitals 0.185 m
h. of opening 2.32 m
w. of opening 1.142 m
First order

Plain jambs, impost blocks and round-headed arch with angle roll.

Second order

Nook shafts with worn capitals. The N face of the S capital retains traces of two cones carved with V incisions and may have been a triple-scallop capital, while the N capital is a variant of trefoil-scallop, with two principle scallops per face, and a shorter, cylindrical scallop separating their cones. The arch is carved with back-to-back chevron, comprising two rows of chevron set at right-angles to one another, one frontal to the face, the other frontal to the soffit, separated by an angle roll. The label is carved from the same blocks as the voussoirs.


A very similar doorway at Amberley Castle may have been executed by the same workshop. Both ensembles can be datedc.1150.

VCH records the medieval dedication as St Mary Magdalene, but gives no dates. (VCH, iv, 102-03)


  • Victoria County History: Sussex. 4 (Chichester Rape) 1953, 102-03.

  • A. H. Peat and L. C. Halsted, Churches and Other Antiquities of West Sussex. Chichester 1912, 96-99.

  • I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 260.

Exterior from SE
Exterior from NW


Site Location
East Lavant
National Grid Reference
SU 861 085 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Sussex
now: West Sussex
medieval: Chichester
now: Chichester
medieval: St Mary Magdalene
now: St Mary
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Kathryn Morrison 
Visit Date
22 April 1990, 18 September 2014