Wednesday 22 July 2015

For the sixth year, blue badge guide Chris Maxse continued his tours of towns and churches of Sussex with a visit to Arundel and Amberley. Commencing on the banks of the River Arun, we meandered upward through the streets of Arundel viewing the predominantly Georgian and Victorian architecture before arriving at the Catholic Cathedral Church of Our Lady & St Philip Howard at the highest point of the town.

Following the revival of catholicism in 1850, it was built originally as a parish church in 1873 by the fifteenth Duke of Norfolk to the design of J A Hansom & Son in the French Gothic style. It became a cathedral in 1965.

It was interesting to compare the 19th century architecture and construction of the cathedral with our next stop at the nearby Parish Church of St Nicholas, which was rebuilt after 1380 and is a good example of early Perpendicular style. Although it appears from the outside as a straightforward aisle, nave and chapel with a central tower, the eastern half was originally collegiate and separated from the western half by an iron grille. Unusually, the grille still remains as a physical separation with the eastern half as the private, Catholic chapel of the Norfolk family, whilst the remainder of the church is Anglican.

Moving on to the hamlet of North Stoke, we visited the well-preserved Norman Church of St Mary the Virgin with the intriguing image on the chancel arch brackets supported on corbels, which came from Chichester Cathedral.

Our final stop was the delightful village of Amberley. We viewed the impressive castle walls from the water meadows before visiting the Norman Church of St Michael with its windows to cathedral scale on the north and west sides and the superb detail on the chancel arch. Finally we walked the charming village streets of Amberley with its significant variety of architecture.