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St Mary, Battle, Sussex

(50°54′51″N, 0°29′17″E)
TQ 750 157
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Sussex
now East Sussex
  • Kathryn Morrison

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Feature Sets

The church comprises a late 12thc. aisled nave, a 13thc. W tower, and a chancel ofc.1240, with a chapel on its N and S sides. The nave arcades have pointed arches on alternating octagonal and cylindrical piers with foliate capitals. The font is the only carved Romanesque feature.


The church was founded by Abbot Ralph of Battle (1107-1124) to serve the citizens of the town which had grown up around the monastery. It was therefore a parish church under the jurisdiction of the Abbey rather than the Bishop of Chichester. The church was outwith episcopal jurisdiction until 1845. It was restored in 1869.





Few traces of the first church, built by Abbot Ralph, survive. The nave arcades date fromc.1190 (cf: Herstmonceux arcade). The font could be earlier than this work, or contemporary: it is of a type which appears to have been current in S England throughout the second half of the 12thc. and first decades of the 13thc.

Victoria County History: Sussex 9 (Rape and Honour of Hastings). 1937, 109-110.
Anon, nd. St Mary the Virgin, Battle, Sussex (church guide)
M. F. Drummond-Roberts, Some Sussex Fonts Photographed and Described. Brighton 1935, 9.
G. M. Livett, `Three East Sussex Churches: Battle, Peasmarsh, Icklesham. A Study of Their Architecture; Part I, Battle', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 46, 1903, 69-93.
J.L. Andre, 'Battle Church', Sussex Archaeological Collections 42, 1899, 214-36.
A. Mee, The King's England: Sussex. London 1937 (revised and edited by C.L.S.Linnell 1964), 16.
I. Nairn and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth 1965, 407-408.
A. K. Walker, An Introduction to the Study of English Fonts with Details of those in Sussex. London 1908, 72-73.