Goring – St Mary

Rebuilt in 1836-38, the church retains the late C12 arcades of its predecessor and possibly its general proportions.

Goring is now effectively part of Worthing and little of the village remains.  The church was rebuilt by D Burton in 1836-38 (B 41 p780), but dates back at least to the late C12.  An engraving in The Gentleman’s Magazine (1808 Part I opp p121), the Sharpe Collection drawing (1804) and some remaining fragments give an idea of its appearance.

Burton retained and retooled the late C12 arcades, which appear to have been the earliest part of the old church.  The plain, pointed and slightly chamfered arches, rest on square responds and round piers with square abaci and scallop capitals.  The south aisle had lancets, which were probably of the same date.  Though nothing else visible survives, the chancel is unusually long for the 1830s and may be built on the re-used foundations of its predecessor.  This probably dated from the C14 with pairs of cusped lancets to the south.  The GM engraving shows a large east window that was blocked with a four- or five-light window set in it.   The latter appears to have pierced spandrels, which are a C14 feature, though the opening itself was also presumably of that date, so the smaller window was clearly reset.  An inset into the GM engraving shows a cusped piscina from the chancel, which is also earlier C14.  The present exterior is rendered, raising questions of whether some old walling or at least foundations elsewhere in the church  might remain.  The lower part of the chancel arch responds may also be old, though the rest is unquestionably by Burton.

The rebuilding was undertaken at the expense of David Lyon, to whose wife there is a memorial (see below), and is said to have cost £6000 (KD 1874).  Burton derives his gothic detail from almost every period.  Thus, the windows of the gabled aisles and chancel are in the style of about 1300 and the clerestory windows of the C15.  The tower at the west end is entirely by Burton, for the previous one was at the south west corner.  It is shown in the GM engraving with double bell-openings, which appear to be round-headed and thus probably later C12 like the arcades.  Its heavy buttresses may have been connected with a bequest in 1361 for work on the church and tower (SRS 42 p214).  The replacement has bell-openings with Y-tracery, a favourite of the early gothic revival, and a shingled octagonal spire behind a parapet.   Shafts are arbitrarily inserted into the moulded west doorway.

The present interior, characteristic for its date, has a west gallery with an arcaded front, supported on iron piers.  The roof has moulded four-centred supports with traceried spandrels and big bosses.  Much detail is in plaster, which would have been inconceivable ten years later, though the main part of the chancel arch which is certainly by Burton is quite plain except for a continuous chamfer.  J O Scott replaced the pews in 1888 (CDK 1888 pt 2 p142) and made other alterations over a period of some years at a cost of £628 (KD 1899).  These included many of the chancel and other fittings (BAL/MSS ScJO/2/1 and /2).

More recently, a vestry was added to the north of the chancel in 1966 and in 1999 a toilet block was placed against the north side of the tower (www.BritishListedbuildings.co.uk).

Fittings and monuments

Brass: Man in armour and his wife of c1490, believed to be to members of the Cooke family (Mosse p83).  It is assigned to Series F of the London workshops but in spite of this, the workmanship is not of a high order.  The GM engraving shows it on a tomb-chest, said to be of Petworth marble, with elaborately cusped sides; this stood in the centre of the chancel (VCH 5(2) p124).  It was probably removed at the rebuilding and the brass alone was found in a local antique shop and returned (1 p123).
Font: J O Scott 1888 (CDK ibid).  A striking design, with the ribs on the stem terminating in ogee-quatrefoils carved into the curving base of the round bowl.
1. (South aisle, east window) J Powell and Sons, 1908 (Order book).  Figures of saints set in plain glass.
2. (North aisle, east window) J Powell and Sons, 1907 (ibid).
1. (above south east pier of arcade) Younge (d1759), Martha (d1784) and Younge (d1790) Willes by B and R Shout  (Roscoe p1125)
2. (North chancel) Isabella Lyon (d1836) by Sir F Chantrey.  It incorporates a profile medallion of the deceased in a lace cap on a draped stele. This is a late work (carried out in 1841 (M Baker p327)) and the design is unusual in his work.
Painting: (Over the chancel arch) Christ in Glory, 1954 by H Feibusch.  Its strength is its composition, with muted colouring.  It aroused great controversy and Bishop Bell of Chichester used his authority to override the anticipated reluctance of the Diocesan Chancellor to grant a faculty (CBg 2 p17).  Sketches by the artist for the main figures are to be found in the vestry (NB. These are not normally to be seen).
Pulpit: 1888, timber, with carved sides, and probably part of J O Scott’s new fittings.
Reredos: Probably by Burton with tablets in taller panels either side of the east window, showing the 10 Commandments etc, and a lower part beneath the sill.
Sculpture: (In Bible garden in churchyard) Bronze statue of Christ by R Hore, 1996 (church guide).


1. J  I C Bolger: The Kington Brass Restored at Goring-by-Sea, TMBS 7 (1934-42) pp113-25

1. My thanks to Richard Standing for most photographs of the exterior.
2. Ny thanks to Nick Wiseman for those of the Feibusch mural and the related sketches, the Powell glass and the font.