18 All Saints Church
Close to the entrance the Village War Memorial commemorates the fallen of both World Wars. Designed by the famous ‘gothic revivalist’ church architect Sir Ninian Comper and made in Clipsham stone from Rutland. At the head facing west, is the Calvary with the figures of Christ Crucified, John, his favourite Disciple and Mary Magdalene. Upon the reverse is the figure of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus.
At the base, inscribed into the wall are the 61 names of the fallen in the Great War. Below are named the 34 men killed during WW2.
Look up at the church clock, made by Gillets of Croydon, it was originally in a building at Cawnpore, India. When the building was demolished, after the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, to make way for a memorial tower, the clock was returned to England and installed in the tower’s south face.
An older method of telling the time is just visible in the form of two mass dials (sun dial) on the buttresses either side of the door arch. The right hand mass dial can be seen inscribed into the third stone block above the base stones. The other is at a similar height but has almost disappeared.
All Saints Church is believed to be the site of the church mentioned in the Saxon charter of 765AD. The current parish church built in Wealden sandstone dates from the 13th-15th centuries. The architectural style is English perpendicular style as exemplified by large tall windows and flowing stone tracery. The north and south transepts give the church a cruciform footprint.
By 1840 the church was in disrepair and following his arrival, the Reverend Francis Sewell instigated a restoration with Victorian improver’s zeal much advocated at the time, destroying many historic features. Further restoration to the building’s fabric was required three decades later.
Friar Tuck, an outlaw featured in Robin Hood stories, was a priest at the church in the 1400s. Royal writs dated 1417 were issued for the arrest of ‘Frere Tuck’ who led a band of criminals committing poaching, murder, robberies and arson in the border areas of Sussex and Surrey. A further writ, issued in 1429, stated that Friar Tuck was the alias of Robert Stafford, a priest at Lindfield. Robert Stafford was never arrested and there is no record of his death. He became immortalised in the Robin Hood fables; the first surviving written record of Friar Tuck appearing is in ‘Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham’ in 1475.
Follow the churchyard path to the east end of the church.