Cross-in-Hand – St Bartholomew
Although close to Heathfield, the hamlet of Cross-in-Hand was historically in the parish of Waldron. In 1863 a chapel was consecrated, designed by J P St Aubyn (B 21 p641) and built by A Cheale of Uckfield (ibid p463) at a cost of £1500 (PP 125). It stands in a dip beneath the road, which is today considerably more open than when the church was built when it was closely surrounded by trees. They made the building dark, exacerbated by the deep brown local stone of which it is built.
The aisleless church has windows of plate and bar tracery, and a proportionately large tiled timber belfry set diagonally on the roof ridge, well back from the west end. The main entrance is through a stone north porch and there is a big vestry-like structure with two gables that straddles the south side of the nave and chancel; unusually, the roll-moulded opening is into the nave. Inside, both the nave and chancel are roofed with open timbers and the chancel arch has two orders, of which the inner one is on conical corbels.
There were repairs in around 1972 by J D Clarke and Son, the responsible partners being D Clarke and F E Ford. Either then or shortly after, the southern structure was partitioned off from the church as a Sunday School room, using a light wood screen that looks older.
Font: Contemporary with the church with an octagonal bowl decorated with nailhead on the angles, standing on red speckled marble shafts.
1. (East window) Lavers and Barraud, 1863 (B 21 ibid). Typical of their work at this date with intense colours and relatively small scale panels set in ornamental glass.
2. (South nave, second window – tracery only) J Powell and Sons, 1905, with an angel holding a scroll (Order book).
3. (North chancel second window) Kempe and Co, 1913-14. This is a striking design which gives the lie to the belief that the company’s skill in design disappeared after Kempe’s death. There is none of the plain glass used in so many of their windows; instead the design centres on a grey-blue swirl in the centre.
4. (South nave window) P Bacon and Brothers, 1915 (BE(E) p314). The figures stand on the company’s favourite reddish brown grounds.
Pulpit: Timber, with open traceried sides.
My thanks to Nick Wiseman for the photographs and further information about the alterations of the 1970s or 1980s.