The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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180                   THE SUSSEX COAST
ment of a rather Byzantine character has bas-reliefs, one of which undoubtedly represents the Last Supper, and another may depict St. Nicholas stilling the storm, but the latter seems very doubt­ful, if only because the general style of the work and the fact that our Lord and some of the Apostles are moustached seem to indicate that it is a Saxon work. The sculpture, which is of great interest, rather resembles the bas-reliefs in the south quire aisle of the Cathedral (p, 27). Stones of Norman date, one of them with part of a corner shaft, are built into the walls of the tower, which, as well as the nave arcades with octagonal pillars, seems to date from about 1370, i.e., the period when the Decorated style was just giving way to the Perpen­dicular. The fine rood screen and loft, much restored and provided with gunmetal gates, as well as the arch between the chancel and its south chapel are good specimens of fifteenth-century work. The church, as it stands, is mostly modern, and possesses a noble series of stained-glass windows, the work of C. E. Kempe (p. 201). In the churchyard remain the four octagonal steps, the base and a fragment of the shaft of the old cross. Like many others in England (in every county except Derbyshire) this church is dedicated to genial St. Nicholas or Santa Claus, a precociously pious but lively and most kindly person, who was Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he stilled a storm, three murdered children he restored to life, for three sisters who were in danger of becoming old maids he provided dowries by the delicate and unconventional method of throwing through their windows three gold balls, objects which have now become the emblems of a calling that claims him as patron saint. At
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