Sennicotts – St Mary

According to Lower (I p195), there was a mediaeval chapel dedicated to St Faith at Sennicotts, which can also be written as Sennicots.  This chapel was in the parish of Funtington, but the site is unknown.  The present one was built in 1829 privately by Charles Baker of Sennicots House, an East India Company nabob, after a dispute with the vicar.  It is in a rural, wooded setting and only in 1930 did it become part of the parish.

The architect is not recorded, but an attribution to G Draper (BE(W) p395) is plausible as he designed the new church of St Bartholomew, Chichester, to which Baker was a major contributor; the date is too early for possible local alternatives such as J Elliott or J Butler.  The chapel is a plain box of soft grey stone, with flint galletting and windows, which have wooden Y-tracery, with the exception of the curly reticulated tracery in the east window.  The stepped gables may be copied from the south chapel at Aldingbourne.  The small west tower may not initially have been planned, for it is not bonded into the chapel walling and the inner doorway is like the outer one, suggesting it was planned as the entrance.  The detail of the tower resembles the rest, though the dimensions of the pinnacles suggest they may have been cut down.

The interior has a coved plaster ceiling.  It is quite plain, as the wooden cusping originally inserted between roof-ties and ceiling has gone.  Ironwork is used in places, notably the curved roof-ties and the supports for the west gallery.  Most interesting is the survival of many low box-pews, which face inwards to the communion table on the south side.  Only to the north has the arrangement given way to a later pulpit.


Altar rails: These have turned balusters and are presumably an example of early C19 rustic survival, rather than older ones re-used.
Font: Small octagonal, presented in 1913.
Glass: (East window) M Lowndes, 1913 (CCL list 1920).
Painting: Madonna and child by D Colles, 1983 (BE(W) ibid).
Royal Arms: (Front of west gallery) Cast iron of George IV.