Rogate – St Bartholomew

The C19 exterior conceals a complex development with C12, C13 and C19 arcades and a C13 chancel.  The fine timber belfry-frame is late C14.

The church stands by a crossroads in the sizeable village.  Its exterior is mainly C19, using pleasingly unpretentious materials, mostly tiling and local sandstone.  The present uniformity conceals a complex building history, starting in the C12 with the round-headed  eastern arch of the north arcade.  This has a rounded respond, its corners removed, and cannot be later than c1150.  It is narrower than the other, later arches and may have led originally to a transept chapel.

The chancel and the chancel arch, which is double-chamfered throughout though widened in the C19, are C13.  A C13 south arch with semi-octagonal responds, now leading to a C19 organ chamber and largely concealed by the instrument, would have opened into a chapel.  At much the same time, in the nave, the presumed transept was absorbed into the eastern part of a north aisle.  To make a two-bay arcade, a further arch to the west was added and there was a wholly new south arcade, also of two bays.  All these arches have double-chamfered heads growing out of upward extensions of the round piers so they are late C13 and there is a semi-circular south east respond.  The Sharpe Collection drawing (1804?) shows a lancet in the south aisle, but the walls have been rebuilt, with some C13 stones reset in the north doorway.

C14 changes included a three-light reticulated east window, as seen on the Sharpe drawing, and a south window with a cusped ogee head.  A north chancel chapel has a shouldered doorway and a trefoil-headed lancet in what must be the original walling, since the brick patching would not have been put back if it had been rebuilt.  The arch into the chancel has two hollow-chamfered orders and no abaci.  Most carpentry was replaced, as the restored tiebeams and crownposts of the eastern part of the nave roof show, though all roofs are partly obscured by plaster.  The belfry framework has been altered and moved into a low C19 west tower, no higher than the nave, but keeps its four corner-posts and heavy transverse braces forming pointed arches.  Before the tower was added, there was a west porch and some timbers were re-used in the C19 north porch.  From the C15, there is only a two-light square-headed north chancel window.  There were several post-Reformation windows and the Sharpe and Burrell Collection (1791) drawings show dormers for galleries.

In 1840 J Elliott planned a virtual rebuilding (ICBS), which Adelaide Tracy’s drawing (1848) (I p36) confirms was not carried out, but J W Penfolds restoration of 1874-75 (B 33 p760 – wrongly given as ‘Penford’) was thorough.  He replaced the roof and stonework of the chancel, designed a new east window and widened the chancel arch.  He rebuilt the aisles with plastered roofs and, unusually for the period, they have plain rectangular side-windows, with square-topped rere-arches with curved corners.  He added a third west bay to the nave, copying the arcades and roof, with a vestry in the extended north aisle, as well as relocating the belfry  further to the west so that at first glance it seems little altered.  As before, it is low but consists in effect of two stages, with a shingled broach-spire above the bell-frame.  The arch to the nave follows its curved braces.


Aumbries: (East wall of chancel) two recesses, one pointed, that are almost certainly aumbries, like the pointed one in the north wall.
Bench ends: (Mostly in north aisle) There are a few that are C16, particularly the ends.
Candelabra: (Chancel) Brass, made in 1776.
1. (No longer on display) C13.
2. (South aisle) C17.
Font: C19 plain but deep octagonal bowl on marble shafts.
1. (East window) Lavers, Barraud and Westlake, c1873 ( retrieved on 18/3/2013).  Like their later west window (see below) this is vivid in colouring but crowded in composition.
2. (West window) Lavers and Westlake, 1892 (signed).
3. (North chapel, east window), 1912, A E Child (attr) (ibid).
4. (North chancel) Clayton and Bell, 1927 (WSRO Fac 2937).
6. (South chancel) C C Powell, 1954, memorial inscription and monogram in plain glass ( retrieved on 31/3/2014).
5. (South aisle, west window) C Swash, 2001 (signed).
Monument: (Outside north porch) C13 flat tomb-slab bearing floreated cross.
1.  (Chancel) C13 plain pointed head, restored.
2.  (North chapel) C14 trefoil-headed.
Sedilia: Restored C13 triple with plain pointed heads resting on corbels.
War memorial: (North west of church, built into churchyard wall) Tall crucifix with Mary and John by Sir J N Comper.


1. W H Godfrey: St Bartholomew, Rogate, SNQ 4 (Aug 1932) pp 76-78


Measured plan by E F Harvey in VCH 4 p26

My thanks to Nick Wiseman for most of the interior photographs, especially the glass, and that of the war memorial