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The three brasses of note are, first, in the floor between the Lady Chapel and
the Chancel, a brass dated 1426 of Sir John Lowe in armour. In the floor of the
Sanctuary on the north side is a brass dated 1450 to the memory of Dean Clere.
He is depicted wearing mass vestments. On the south side of the Sanctuary is a
very fine Jacobean period brass to Dean Wythines 1615.

This was built circa 1350. To the right of the Holy Table is a fine ogee arch above twin Piscinae. In the middle ages these shallow stone basins were used for washing the Chalice and Paten after Mass.  The  beautiful  east window, installed in 1900, was inspired by the ancient hymn Te Deum Laudamus—it represents the worship of Almighty God by the Church triumphant in heaven and the Church militant on earth.  Between the Chapel and the High Altar is the Tudor tomb of Sir Anthony Browne and his first wife Alice. Sir Anthony was a favourite of King Henry VIll who granted him the Abbey and its estates in 1539 after the dissolution of the monasteries. The Lady Alice died in 1540, Sir Anthony in 1548. The alabaster tomb was probably made in London by Italian craftsmen and transported by cart to Battle.

In this 'Aisle of St. Catharine' is buried John Hammond, O.S.B., the last Abbot of St. Martin's Abbey.  At the entrance to the Chapel is the Senlac Memorial Window. It is dedicated to the memory of the English and Norman armies which fought on this site of Senlac Hill on 14th October 1066. It was designed by Michael Farrah Bell and installed in 1984.

The Chapel at the east end of the south aisle is dedicated to St. Catherine. In the top of the niche to the right of the altar there is a 'Catherine Wheel' carved in stone the emblem of the Saint's martyrdom.  This was the site of the original Norman tower and the outline of a massive Norman arch can still be seen in the masonry.  On the pillar behind the Dean's Stall are small Crosses probably carved by Crusader knights on their return from fighting the Saracen. The long indented slits are where they blunted the points of their swords.  The Parish Book of remembrance is kept in this Chapel.  The entrance gates are fine modern wrought-iron work.

The first church is described in the Chronicle of Battel Abbey as 'a chapel in honour of the Blessed Mother of God, in which a priest might, under the direction of the Abbot or the brethren, serve the parishioners.'  We may assume that it was a very small and primitive building, consisting of a plain nave about forty feet long, without aisles and with a little chancel some seventeen feet in length.

From the middle of the twelfth century the monks began to enlarge the church. A tower was built where St. Catherine's Chapel now stands. Narrow lean-to extensions to the north and south sides of the Nave formed aisles. The three pillars on each side of the Nave at the eastern end belong to the years 1190 -1200. This Transitional Nave, extended westward by two further bays some years later, is the chief glory of the church.

The Font is early twelfth century. A frieze of Norman arches, much worn, may still just be discerned round the square cut marble slab. The carved and gilded cover to the Font is medieval.  The tower was built about 1440. There is a ring of eight bells. The modern screen at the entrance to the Nave is made of Sussex oak carved by Sussex craftsmen to the design of  J. P. Denman.  The North Aisle was also added in the mid-fifteenth century. There is a remnant of early stained glass, which may have been the figure of Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury 1414-1443.

St Mary's has been at the centre of Christian life in Battle for nearly 900 years.  This beautiful Parish Church was founded by Abbot Ralph circa. A.D.1115. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Martin was built on the battlefield of the Norman conquest and established St. Mary's to serve the community which had grown up around the monastery.

The church is a haven of peace and worship built on the battlefield where in 1066 both Norman and Saxon died and history was made.  The church includes a magnificent transitional nave, a rare wall painting of St Margaret of Antioch c. 1300 and the gilded and painted Alabaster Tomb of Sir Anthony Browne 1548 - the man whom King Henry VIII granted the Abbey.  The visitor can also view the Crusaders' crosses carved by their swords and the superb Senlac window commemorating the battle.

Although now faded, the church once exhibited one of the most impressive painted interiors of the middle ages in Sussex. There are also three brasses of note dating from 1426. Saint Catherine's Chapel is situated at the east end of the south aisle and is avilable for you to pray or meditate in peace and quiet.

When Abbot Ralph founded the church of St. Mary the Virgin for the 'people of Battel', a village grew up around the monastery. The priest in charge was given the style and dignity of DEAN and the parish enjoyed 'PECULIAR' status, outside the authority of the Bishops of Chichester in whose diocese it lay. This privilege survived until 1845. Today the Sovereign is the Patron of the Benefice and the Incumbent is still the Very Reverend the Dean of Battle.

In late 2009 a number of helpful information boards were erected both inside and outside the church which offer the visitor more historic facts.

We worship a God who is alive and cares about each one of us. St Mary's Vision
is therefore to be a people led by God's Spirit who earnestly wish to see God's
kingdom grow through a healthy living Church. Our desire is to glorify God in
all that we do whilst reaching out and serving the community in Battle and the
surrounding areas. Our overriding desire is to worship God in the name of his
son Jesus and feel compelled to share Christ with the aim of seeing God bringing
restoration to people's lives.

We sincerely desire to be a worshipping and prayerful community sharing Christ within and outside the church,
demonstrating by word and action God's gracious, forgiving and healing love. We
recognise that the presence and power of Jesus is with us and made known through
the activity of his Holy Spirit. As such we want to be people who seek to live
under the direction and in the empowering of his Spirit in obedience to God's
Word. We want to share Christ because we know the difference that His grace and
love has made in our lives.

We are a friendly, active church that is involved in the local community. We are a growing church and believe we have an
exciting future ahead of us, so why not come along to one of our services and find out more.

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Video used by kind permission of Livingwaters.com

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