Hastings – Christ Church, Old London Road, Ore

Typical of the period around 1860, the church is built of ragstone with complex Decorated tracery with seven lights in the east and west windows.  It has a north aisle only, which is gabled, and the detail and plan match the requirements of The Ecclesiologist, though it is not mentioned there.  It cost £4,268 (PP 125), a substantial sum by the standards of the day as the church is not large and lacks a tower.  Instead of the last, there is an octagonal turret at the south west corner with a conical stone top.

A D Gough designed it as a chapel of ease for Ore in 1858-59 (BN 5 p759) and the reason for Pevsner’s erroneous dating of 1878-81 (BE p520) is unclear, not least since Gough had died in 1871.  The relatively generous budget shows in the detail, including varied foliage on the capitals of the arcades and roof corbels and moulded arcade arches.  The chancel arch is similar, but though the specification of c1857 refers to ‘foliated drop corbels’ (BAL/MSS DB/18/10), the trailing vegetation with which it is decorated is wrong for the date and according to an inscription it was added in 1929.

In the chancel, what looks like a small triple south arcade with trefoil heads is the entrance to a vestry and two recesses with shelves.  Apart from the altered chancel arch, the only later change is a further vestry in the transept-like projection at the east end of the aisle, which is a memorial to the fallen of World War II.  This is likely to have been part of work known to have been carried out by H Ward and Son in 1950 (ICBS).


Font: Octagonal bowl, carved with traceried patterns.
1. (East window) Heaton, Butler and Bayne, 1913 (WSRO Fac 3991)
2. (South nave, first to third windows) Heaton, Butler and Bayne, 1922 (DSGW 1939).
3. (North aisle, first to third north windows) Heaton, Butler and Bayne, 1928-39 (WSRO Facs 1706-07 and 39/16). 
Painting: (East wall of chancel and above chancel arch) Decorative.  No date is recorded, but the inscription round the east window seems to match the tablets beneath (see under reredos below) and the work probably dates from soon after the completion of the church.  It is said to have been repainted in c1992 (EH), but part of that over the chancel arch has had to be removed (2014) because of necessary repairs to the fabric (information from Nick Wiseman).
Reredos: On the east wall of the chancel are tablets bearing the Ten Commandments, Creed and Lord’s Prayer, which by the mid-C19 are an indication of evangelical sympathies.

My thanks to Nick Wiseman for the photographs.

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