Appledram (or Apuldram) – St Mary

The C12 nave was originally aisleless and the south aisle is C13.  So is the chancel, with fine work related to Bosham and Chichester cathedral.  There is a C15 screen.

Appledram (alternatively spelled ‘Apuldram’) has a harbour, now silted up, and consists of a few cottages and the C15 manor of Rymans.  The church was a chapelry of Bosham and though alienated under Henry I to Reading Abbey (VCH 4 p139), it remained in some measure subordinate to Bosham ecclesiastically until at least the mid-C15.  Even after that, it did not become a fully developed benefice.

The north and west walls of the nave are probably early C12, though a round window-head to the north cannot be in situ, as it is too low and the masonry around it looks later.  A low south aisle was added in the C13, with a three-bay arcade of standard type.  It has only east and west windows – the west one a renewed lancet.  There was probably never a chancel arch; the chancel is entirely C13, for what might seem the quoins of a shorter one to the north belong to a sacristy or vestry, which was probably added in the C14 or C15, to judge by the blocked hollow-chamfered doorway still visible inside.  The tall side lancets are closely set, with a south west lowside.  Their finely moulded rere-arches have Purbeck marble shafts.  The three stepped east lancets, of which the centre one has a stilted head, are similar and a string-course at sill-level links them to the side-lancets.  The ultimate source is Chichester cathedral, but Bosham, where there is comparable work, is more likely to have been the immediate one.

C15 changes included a south porch, of which the square-headed side-openings remain; in the survey of 1610 this had been described as ‘verie much decayed’ (SRS 98 p8). There was also work to the aisle, probably when the eastern bay became a chantry.  A squint links this to the chancel, with an ogee-trefoil-headed western opening and there are image brackets each side of the east window.  The C15 parclose screen (see below) may have been connected with the rood-loft, the stair to which is by the pulpit.  The former west window of the nave was also of this date.

There were a number of post-Reformation windows, including the east one of the aisle.  A restoration in 1845 by J Butler (Eccl Sept 1845 p238) was confined mainly to the interior and chancel.  In view of Butler’s links to the cathedral, this was probably the work for which the Dean and Chapter are said to have paid at an unspecified date (1 p83).  The roofs date from a further anonymous restoration in 1863 (ibid).  In 1877 L W Ridge (BN 33 p268) replaced the west window, the east window of the aisle and the boarded belfry, which Nibbs (c1851) shows with a cap.  Ridge renewed most other windows, the porch and doorway.  In 1890 he added a vestry north of the nave (CDK 1890 pt 2 p153).

In 2008 plans were announced for a new extension on the north side of the nave, designed by D Briggs in a vernacular style with flint walls and a pitched and tiled roof (church website).   There were protracted delays in raising funds and finalising the design, but the project was started in earnest in November 2017 (church website).

Fittings and Monument

Bench: (South aisle, west end) Probably C15 with poppy head ends, but it may have been made up in the C19 out of old seats in the nave recorded by Arnold (1 ibid).
Font: Weathered C12 Purbeck marble of standard type.  The corner shafts and their capitals were renewed in 1877 (BN ibid).
Font cover: Flat, by Jones and Willis, c 1884 (CDK 1884 pt 2 p156).
1.  (North chancel lowside) This formerly contained glass by Jones and Willis, 1884 (ibid).
2.  (East window) J Powell and Sons (designed by J H Hogan), 1936 (DSGW 1939).
Monument: (South chancel floor) C13 Purbeck marble tomb-slab, carved with a floreated cross and possibly commemorating a canon of Bosham (2 p256) or a prebendary of Chichester (VCH 4 ibid).
1.  (South chancel) C13 with a rounded trefoil-head.
2.   (South east corner of aisle) C14 or C15 pointed head with a renewed bowl.
Reredos: Alabaster and mosaic reredos by E Christian, c 1880.  It also contains Minton tiles (CDK 1880 pt 2 p162).  It is set in a panelled east wall.
Screen: (South aisle by doorway) C15 parclose, consisting of an opening, flanked by ogee-headed traceried arches that have traces of original painting.
Stoup: (By south doorway) Plain, with a restored bowl and probably C15.
Tiles: (Bottom altar step) C14, with C19 copies on the upper steps.


1.  F H Arnold: Appledram, SAC 18 (1866) pp74-86
2.  W  D Peckham: St Mary the Virgin, Apuldram, SNQ 2 (Nov 1929) p256
3.  F W Steer: Guide to the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Apuldram (Sussex Churches No 32), 1965


Measured plan in VCH 4 p140