St Andrew-by-the-Ford is a tiny church of Saxon origin, at the end of a small gravel path, close to the bank of the River Arun and surrounded by a copse of trees. The church originally served a small community which was abandoned in 1608.
The church is a simple, two-cell structure, with a nave and chancel, and a porch added in 1637 in the Dutch style. The interior is dark - especially so since there is no electricity here (there is a small generator to provide limited lighting for the choir). It is dominated by the Norman chancel arch, which has mouldings with a simple X-shape decoration. The walls are pierced by small Norman windows, although the Chancel has a fine decorated window of about 1320. In the vestry are the remains of a Saxon arch, dated from around the turn of the 10th-11th centuries.
The walls show traces - although rather indistinct - of extensive wall paintings. Those above the chancel arch show the Doom painting (The Last Judgement), with the remains of devils (their feet, actually) forcing the damned into the mouth of a great red beast.
The church was restored in 1899 by Phillip Johnston, Diocesan architect, who has left a very detailed account of the work in the Sussex Archaeological Collection.
One hundred years later the church underwent major restoration work with the help of a substantial grant from English Heritage and charitable trusts along with private donations. The Diocesan architect Richard Meynell was awarded the King of Prussia gold medal for his outstanding work.
Seven styles of architecture are represented in this tiny Saxon church which has had a chequered history of fire, restoration and extension.
The fine roof has oak and chestnut timbers; one was dated 1363 during the 1999 restoration work.
The font bowl is made from a large square limestone block. It was thrown out during the works in 1865 and retrieved from a farmyard in 1899.
The bell chamber contains two bells; the treble bell is inscribed ‘+ROBERT RIDRE ME FECIT’; Robert Rider worked between 1351-86. The second bell was possibly made in the 17th century but has no markings.