Madehurst – St Mary Magdalene

Originally C12 with an early C13 tower, it was virtually rebuilt in the C19 with an aisle added.

Madehurst lies off the main road over the Downs west of Arundel, with only a few cottages and a former school by the church.  This dates from the C12 and consisted originally of an aisleless nave and a chancel.  The only survival of this period is the round-headed west doorway with plain abaci, which led originally from the church into the outside, but now opens into the tower.  The tower was added c1200 and is lower than the nave roof, with a pyramid spire and heavy, later triangular buttresses.  Its chamfered west doorway is off-centre to the north.

The windows were replaced in the C14 and C15, as the Sharpe Collection drawing (1805) and Adelaide Tracy (1850) (II p11) show.  Two C14 windows, both partly renewed, remain; one is an ogee-quatrefoil window in the south wall of the nave and the other an ogee-headed lancet, which is patched in cement and reset in the C19 north transept.  The Sharpe drawing is not ideally distinct but indicates that the then east window consisted of two lancets with a roundel over had panelled tracery, which suggests a late C13 date.

In 1802-03 Sir George Thomas of nearby Dale Park added extensions housing pews on both sides of the chancel, which had hipped roofs (1 p69); otherwise little was altered until the vicar, Henry  Nicholls, in 1863-64 commissioned his Oxford contemporary, Sir T G Jackson, to restore the church (Jackson: Recollections p90).  Jackson had only been in practice for a year and was later to restore other churches in the area, including Binsted, Slindon and Burpham.  He refaced the exterior and added a north aisle with an elaborate arcade and chancel arch with shafts and foliage capitals.  He replaced the roofs except for the tiebeams and crownposts in the nave and rebuilt the chancel 8ft longer (1 p67).  Previously the tower had no openings and Jackson inserted paired west lancets and small quatrefoil bell-openings.  His other windows were also C14 in style, except the side-windows of the chancel and the geometrical tracery in the east window.  Those in the aisles have shafts in the centre of each rere-arch.  Bomb damage in 1944 (1 p62) affected only the glass (see below).   Repairs in 1957 by S Roth with P I D Tetley are recorded (ICBS), but it seems likely that the bomb damage was made good before this.


1.  Red marble with inward sloping corner shafts, c1864.
2.  (Formerly) Probably early C19. Arcaded octagonal bowl.  Adelaide Tracy in 1850 shows a shapeless one, which looks C17 or C18, but this is not the same.
1.   (Head of nave south east window) A single rather worn angel from a window by Morris and Co, designed by Sir E Burne-Jones, is all that is left of a window of the Four Evangelists, 1876 (Sewter p126). The ornamental top of a second window also survives.  On display in the church are the cartoons for both and allowing for some fading, these show some significant changes in design.
2.  (Chancel) A few fragments only remain of the east window by J Powell and Sons, designed by H Holiday, 1890 (Hadley).  The three side lancets still contain single figures by the same maker and designer (Order book).
Monument:  (West wall above doorway) Sir George Thomas (1815?) by J J P Kendrick (Roscoe p689).
Pulpit: This is of stone and clearly related to the adjacent chancel arch, so it is likely to be by Jackson, though it has been commented (in BE(W) p504) that it looks more like 1900 than 1860s.
Reredos: Tiled and though no designer is known, it is probably part of Jackson’s work.


1. F W Steer: The Rebuilding of Madehurst Church, SAC 110 (1972) pp61-69