St Michael, Up Marden
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All who know the downland church of St Michael regard it as special. There is some debate about its exact age, but it dates from either the 12th or early 13th century. Little has changed since then. Set in a large churchyard surrounded by fields and approached down a farm track, this simple double cell building invites travellers to rest for a while and share its peace.
Without electricity or water, St Michael’s is mostly used for twice-monthly Evensong during the summer months and for special services at other times. However it is also regularly visited by groups and individuals for private worship. St Michael’s isolation kept away improvers and restorers, and it was proposed some forty years ago that the church should be closed. This galvanized into action those who loved it, and the Friends of St Michael’s was formed. An extensive programme of sensitive restoration work, funded by the Friends, has been undertaken, during which rare thirteenth century wall paintings were uncovered and preserved.
In July 2013 this church was included in Britain's sixty favourite churches by the National Churches Trust.
Accessibility: The church is accessed by an unsurfaced track and then by a gravel path about 200 yards long.There is no electric light or heating in the church.
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The current editor is: Edward Mynors