St. Michael the Archangel Church, Litlington

Recorded by the Eastbourne Church Recording Group between 2007/2009

St. Michael the Archangel Church, Litlington

St. Michael the Archangel Church, Litlington

The church dates from about 1150 A.D. and is built mainly of flint, with the spire at the west end covered in wooden shingles. The church is set in the downland village of Litlington on the east side of the Cuckmere Valley.

Of particular interest are the three bells. The treble is said to be one of the oldest working bells in England, cast at the William Chamberlain Foundry dating from the early 15th century, inscribed in Gothic lettering, JOHANNES EST NOMEN EIUS (John is my name).

The second bell was made by John Palmar, a Kent founder who established his foundry outside the city walls at Canterbury. This bell is inscribed JOHN PALMAR MADE MEE 1651 JOSEPH GLID WARDEN.

The tenor bell is believed to have been cast by John Saunders in 1558 or 1559 perhaps with his successor William Welles.

Outside, on the porch, is a 15th century scientific sundial and two further sundials on a north buttress.

Inside there are several early features, including a piscine dated about 1220, a 15th century Easter sepulchre, a double sedilia and Norman Windows.

The large east window depicting (left to right) The Nativity; The Crucifixion; The Resurrection, is dedicated to the memory of Stephen Phillips (1863), who was the uncle of Emma, the wife of the Vicar, the Rev. Richard White R.A. There are several other charming small windows in the sanctuary.

The church was extensively restored in 1863 by the architect Ewan Christian.

The church possesses a fine silver chalice and paten made by Eric Clements in 1950 for the 800th anniversary of the founding of the church. This is not kept at the church. These two pieces of silver were included by the Goldsmiths’ Company in a display of contemporary work at their Hall as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations.

Charles La Trobe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Victoria, Australia died at Clapham House in the village of Litlington and is buried in the churchyard.

Services are held on the first and third Sundays in the month at 09.30 am. The church is open to visitors every day.

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