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The Nave

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.

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