Church of England Diocese of Chichester East Blatchington

A short history of the church

History of St. Peter’s the Apostle, East Blatchington

The first Rector, Hamo de Warenne was recorded as being between 1257 – 1293, so we know that St. Peter’s existed in the 13th Century. The south wall of the nave displays two blocked semi-circular arches which appear to have been cut through in the 13th Century, possibly giving access to a wooden built south aisle or chapel. Historians think this was short lived and was demolished, probably after the Black Death c. 1350 when some Sussex villages, such as Exceat, lost over half their population. However, when strengthening the foundations in 1860, two urns were discovered with charred bones and wood, believed to be either Ancient Briton or Roman. It is probable that the church was built on a site that was sacred even before Christianity was introduced to this country. Pevensey, where William the Conqueror landed, is only a few miles to the East, one of his early actions was to replace the wooden built Saxon churches and rebuild in stone. The present Western Tower dates from the 13th century. Whatever the date, it is an ancient building where people have worshipped for at least a thousand years.

St. Peter’s is classified as a 2* historic building. When restoration and repairs are required, traditional techniques are followed to retain the heritage. The interior is simple, with a central aisle, with pews to seat around 120. The acoustics are superb.

The Millennium was celebrated by commissioning a new window from Jane Campbell, on the theme ‘darkness to light’.

The churchyard was closed for burials in 1899, among the gravestones in that of Admiral William Walker, who served 50 years at sea and fought with Nelson on various campaigns.

There is a memorial tablet to Henry James Coxwell, AERONAUT, who in 1860 made a balloon ascent to 7 miles.

A booklet with more detailed information is available for sale, please send A5 SAE with £1.50 to: The Rectory, 86 Belgrave Road, SEAFORD BN25 2HE.