The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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round a newel about 20 inches in diameter and is unusually wide. The transept chapel still retains its deep altar recess with a rough round arch, a plain door opens into the tower. The quire (or west tower) arch is an insertion of beautiful Early English character, whose corbels and capitals to the corner shafts have carved foliage; it may belong to the rebuilding after 1216, but its details would seem to indicate a slightly earlier date, perhaps about 1180. The quire has no other detail than the base of a shaft in the sedilia, of Early English character. The chapter-house, and probably the whole church, was vaulted.
This important though small church, forming part of the defences of a great castle, is extremely valuable from its unusual character, and when complete it must have had a striking effect. From the college seal it appears that the central tower was at one time surmounted by a spire. A good deal of the ruins, including the tower arch, have been rebuilt with their original materials. Just west of the narthex were the deanery and houses for the canons ; the institution had a chequered career, it was at one time ranked as a Royal Free Chapel; Thomas a Becket was once its Dean, William of Wykeham held a canonry, but it suffered much from French attacks and more from neglect. In 1330 a petition to Edward III. from its Dean and Chapter complained that the chapel was in decay, its ornaments and treasures were stolen, its ministers were robbed and wounded both by night and day, wild beasts defiled its burial-ground. By Henry VIII. it was suppressed, but in 1828 the Earl of Chichester, head of the church-building family of Pelham, rebuilt it below the castle rock in the centre of Pelham Crescent, From the
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