After recent problems it is nice to have some good news for a change. Last year I was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, specifically in recognition of this website.
Since completing the restoration of the website (both text and images) and introducing the new look which has been generally liked, I have been working to overcome the backlog of material. It’s surprising how quickly this builds up, some of it of general significance and some about individual churches and artists. A particularly valuable addition to the original sources on Sussex churches is the edition published by the Sussex Record Society of the church surveys of Chichester Archdeaconry in 1602-03, 1610 and 1636, edited by Joan Barham and Andrew Foster. Much of each of these is taken up with recording deficiencies in arrangements for the liturgy or in service books and fittings, particularly the survey of 1636, and that is outside my area of research. However, there is also much information about structural deficiencies and in some cases there is a direct link between a reported defect and the known dates of repair-work carried out within the next few years. A particularly striking example is the roof at Bury which is dated 1603, just one year after the state of the roof had been roundly condemned in the 1602 survey. That has to be more than co-incidence!
I have also been improving my coverage of C19 stained glass with the help of two volumes on Pre-Raphaelite stained glass by William Waters which were published in 2012 and 2017 respectively. The appearance of these was not as widely publicised as it should have been and the second one co-incided with the technical problems I had. The use of the term ‘Pre-Raphaelite’ beyond the original and short-lived Brotherhood can be problematic, but both these new works provide lots of new information about many of the major makers, especially those still awaiting proper study, such as Lavers and Barraud. Both volumes are admirably illustrated by Alastair Carew-Cox though inevitably only a small quantity is of glass from Sussex churches.
One reason that final progress on the restoration work was rather slow is that I was asked to comment on the entries on churches in the forthcoming volume on West Sussex in the Buildings of England series. After five years of use there will I think be widespread agreement that the volume on East Sussex is a great improvement on the relevant part of its predecessor and I am sure that every user will find the volume on West Sussex, which should be out this spring (2019), well worth the wait. Meanwhile, another addition to the same series has appeared, the volume for South Hampshire which is of particular interest for any study of Sussex. County-boundaries are far from impermeable and many of those active in Hampshire, particularly its adjacent south eastern parts, were also active in West Sussex, so a fuller picture of their activities can be built up.