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St Mary Magdalene, Lyminster, Sussex

(50°50′1″N, 0°33′0″W)
TQ 022 048
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Sussex
now West Sussex
  • Kathryn Morrison

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The church has a W tower (13thc), a large, high nave (Anglo-Saxon), a N aisle (c.1200) and a long, square-ended chancel (Anglo-Saxon and later). The W and N doorways are 12thc. (early and late respectively), but plain.


The church at Lyminster (Lolinminster) is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It was a 10thc. Benedictine nunnery (Lyminster = 'convent of St Leo') dependent on Almenesches in Normandy, but was suppressed by Henry VI, and its possessions given to Eton College. As a nunnery, the nave was used as the parish church and the long chancel as the priory church.

The church was restored in 1864 and again in 1884. The E bay of the N aisle, where the font is located, has been used as a baptistery since 1892, but was originally a chapel.


Interior Features






Johnson and Nairn dated the N arcade to c.1160-70, but the presence of stiff-leaf foliage in this relatively unsophisticated context is more indicative of an early 13thc. date. The font is of a type, which was common throughout the county in the late 12thc. and early 13thc., and can also be dated c.1200. Peat and Halsted 1912, p. 106, referred to a coffin-slab in the churchyard with a 'coped shape and fluted ornamentation disposed herring-bone fashion', which they datedc.1170. It was not noticed by us.

J. Morris and J. Mothersill (ed.), Domesday Book: Sussex. Chichester 1976, 11.59.
M. F. Drummond-Roberts, Some Sussex Fonts Photographed and Described. Brighton 1935, 58.
A. H. Peat and L. C. Halsted, Churches and Other Antiquities of West Sussex. Chichester 1912, 102-07.
I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 267.
Sisson, Rosemary(ed), The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene Lyminster (church guide) (based on Rev S P Duval, 'Notes on the Parish and Church of Lyminster' and P M Johnston Sussex Archaeological Collections 46), 1974.
A. K. Walker, An Introduction to the Study of English fonts with details of those in Sussex. London 1908, 94-95.