Oving – St Andrew

The tower, transepts and north doorway are C13, with possibly C14 transept arches and some windows.

Oving lies on the eastern edge of Chichester and in the C19 much of the parish near the city was transferred to the newly established Portfield.  The church is mostly late C13, a dating supported by the finding of a penny of Edward I under the south transept (1 p203).   Older foundations found in 1881 (Peat and Halsted p114) were probably connected with the fragments of chevron moulding that are reset in the west wall of the north transept, which look mid-C12.  Some lancets are renewed and others were re-instated in the C19, including three in the north transept.  The chancel has a plain south doorway and the interior sills of the lancets are linked by a string-course, with lowsides each side.

The unbuttressed tower with lancets barely rises above the roof and has a broad shingled broach spire.  The late C13 date of the double-chamfered tower arch is confirmed by its semi-octagonal responds without abaci, though it is today largely concealed by the organ.  The handsome north doorway is also of this date.  It has a moulded head that emerges from upward extensions of the small capitals.  The, two slender attached shafts on each jamb, abaci decorated with nailhead and foliage stops on the label.  The aisleless nave is strikingly broad, possibly because it was built round the previous church (2 p196).

Though rebuilt, a hollow chamfer on the broad chancel arch shows it is late C13 in origin; the inner order rests on scalloped corbels on slightly chamfered square responds.  The transepts (properly transept-chapels as there is no crossing and they are lower than the nave) are also C13, but the arches into the nave with three chamfered orders look late C14, though they have abaci.  However, the earlier date is indicated by the three stepped south lancets of the south transept; the lack of scoinsons suggests that this transept at least was built in the earlier C13.  Late C14 at the earliest are the four-centred north and south nave windows, with large elongated hexagons and lights with slightly ogee-shaped heads (best seen inside), and the moulded south doorway now leading into a vestry.  The undated Burrell Collection drawing shows the larger of the east windows of the north transept with panelled tracery, which was probably of the same date; there are now two C19 lancets.  The main east window may also have been of this date, though the Burrell drawing shows no tracery.  There is now a C19 traceried one.

Three C19 restorations have left the interior bare and little old work outside.  The first was in 1840 (1 p200) at the expense of Miss Katherine Woods who lived in the parish.  The architect is unknown, but the local architect J Elliott worked on the school and almshouses opposite (Colvin 4th ed p1207), which she had donated, and in 1839 designed a new vicarage (WSRO Ep I/41/34), so he may have been responsible.  Much of the exterior is now finished in galletted flintwork, which was used by Elliott elsewhere and is further evidence in favour of his involvement.  Work at this time included a plastered roof and a west gallery, now gone, and lancets high in the west wall either side of the tower for a gallery (VCH 4 p169).  The north porch is all C19 and could date from this time or later.  E Christian in 1881 (BN 40 p484) replaced the windows, including the east one, rebuilt the chancel arch (WSRO Par 145/1/2/2) and renewed the roofs; the cost of this work was £2305 (KD 1899).  Finally, the tower was restored in 1900 (CDG 82 p116), probably by J O Scott, who produced plans in 1897 (BAL/MSS ScJO/2/2).


Altar stone: Found buried in 1881 (VCH 4 p170) and set up in the north transept when that was turned into a chapel in 1969.  Mediaeval of uncertain date and carved with five crosses.
Font: Plain octagonal on shafts.  It has been considered to be probably C19, but the most recent study suggests it is C13 (www.crsbi.ac.uk retrieved on 15/4/2013), though there has in that case been considerable restoration.
1.  (East window) J Powell and Sons, designed by H Holiday, 1880-81 (JSG 19 p57 and Hadley).
2.  (South chancel, first window) Lavers, Barraud and Westlake, 1881 (www.stainedglassrecords.org retrieved on 18/3/2013).
3.  (South chancel, second and north chancel second and third windows) T Baillie and Co (JSG 19 p57 and Hadley).  The most recent is dated 1879 and the colours are bright.
4.  (South chancel third and north chancel first windows) Dixon and Vesey, 1881 (www.stainedglassrecords.org retrieved on 18/3/2013).
5.  (Chancel, north east window) Dixon and Vesey (St Wilfrid) (Hadley p116).
6.  (West lancet of tower) Baillie and Lutwyche, 1891 (signed), in belated commemoration of the 1881 restoration.  Despite its date, this consists of a single figure in dark colours and its pictorial nature must have seemed very old fashioned.
7.  (South transept, south lancets) C E Kempe, 1901. The blue ground is unusual at this date.
8.  (North nave, second window) G M McDowell, 1902 (Ascending Christ/Harold Brown) (CDG 109 p132).
Piscina: (Chancel) C13 with a renewed head.
Royal Arms: (Over vestry door) Small plaster-cast of arms of Queen Victoria, varnished to seem like wood.


1.  H M Davey: A History of the Parish of Oving, SAC 34 (1886) pp185-214
2.  W D Peckham: St Andrew, Oving, SNQ 8 (Aug 1941) pp196-97


Measured plan by W D Peckham in VCH 4 p169

1.  My thanks to Richard Standing for the photograph of the east window.
2. My thanks to Nick Wiseman for pointing out the Royal Arms and for the photograph of them