History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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the Lord's Supper, and consists of seven figures: our Saviour in the centre, with glory crowned, is in the act of giving the blessing, and on the table are various drinking vessels and the bread. The next compartment contains a kneeling figure; the third which is larger, has a boat on the sea with the sail unfurled, and two figures, one presenting a small barrel or vessel to a bishop, who has his mitre and crozier and is giving bread to a female. Both figures are in the water : these are supposed to represent the first preaching of Christianity among the South Saxons. The fourth division consists of three arches, in each of which is a figure, the centre appearing to be the principal, the whole sculptured in basso relievo. Over these compartments is a line of zig-zag and lozenge work and beneath them is a row of exceedingly handsome ornamental work of leaves and flowers. The church stands 160 feet above low water mark, and is dedicated to St. Nicholas, Bishop of Mira in Lycia, who lived about the fourth century and was the reputed saint of fishermen, on account of various miracles he had performed in their favour. It was a noted land-mark for seamen, prior to its being surrounded by houses, and the tower of the edifice nearly represents the four cardinal points of the compass. It was given originally in the reign of Stephen, by Ealph de-Cheney, to the priory of Lewes, but it appears from the terms of an award or arbitration between Eichard de-Wich, Bishop of Chichester, and William de-Ruslous, Vicar of St. Pancras, near Lewes, made in 1252, still extant in the episcopal archives at Chichester, that the Priory obtained no full possession of this church before that period. By this award, as soon as the then Rector of Brighthelmstone should die, or resign the living, the Prior of St. Pancras was to appoint the Vicar who was to have all the offerings of the altar, and as far as they belonged to altarage, and the small tithes (the great tithes belonging to the Priory) with a
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