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St Thomas a Becket, Pagham, Sussex

(50°46′13″N, 0°44′57″W)
SZ 883 975
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Sussex
now West Sussex
  • Kathryn Morrison

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Feature Sets

The church comprises a 13thc. nave with N and S aisles, N and S transepts and a chancel. The NW tower stands over the W bay of the N aisle. The W front, apparently inspired by church facades in Western France, seems to date from the 1837 restoration by John Elliott.


Pagham was famously given to Wilfrid by King Cædwalla of the south Saxons in the 7thc. Pagham and its church are mentioned in the Domesday Book, at which time the village was held by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Throughout the 12thc. the Archbishops occasionally visited their palace at Pagham.





The form of the font and the arcading of the S and E sides point to a 12thc. date. The N and W sides may have been recarvedc.1300. The form of the W facade, while reminiscent of W French facades, appears 19thc. and this is confirmed by the capital forms which use Romanesque motifs in a very un-Romanesque way. The stone is friable and extremely worn despite its relative youth.

Victoria County History: Sussex. IV (Chichester Rape) 1953, 231-33, with plan.
J. Morris and J. Mothersill (ed.), Domesday Book: Sussex. Chichester 1976, 2.5.
D. Freke, 'Excavations in the parish church of St Thomas the Martyr, Pagham', Sussex Archaeological Collections 118, 1980, 245-56 (discovery of footings of pre-Conquest church and fragment of 10th century ring-headed cross).
A. H. Peat and L. C. Halsted, Churches and Other Antiquities of West Sussex. Chichester 1912, 116-19.
I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 289.