St Margaret's Church - Overview
|We have no exact date for the
building of St Margaret's Church but we can be sure it was erected between the
years 1180 and 1220. Little remains of the original structure. The church was extended in
the 15th and 16th centuries and a substantial re-build was completed in 1853.
The church is believed to have been named after St Margaret of Antioch, one of
the first Nuns and one of the earliest female martyrs.
Chapels were built on each side of the chancel for tombs of the Gratwicke and Palmer families but the Palmer chapel to the north was demolished in 18th century.
Today's Parish of Angmering originally comprised three churches - West Angmering (St Margaret's), East Angmering (St Nicholas') and Bargham (Barpham) (possibly St Fryern's). Following the Reformation, only St Margaret's remained, the other two being destroyed or left to fall into ruin.
The church was modernised and enlarged in 1853 under the direction of the architect Samuel S Teulon, funds being donated by the Squire, William Kinleside Gratwicke. The North Isle was added at this time with a small vestry building on the north side which was enlarged later in the 19th century. According to local legend Squire Gratwicke, who was renowned as a race horse owner, had promised the Rector of Angmering that he would provide the money to rebuild the Parish Church and the School if one of his horses should win the Derby. It appears that he won twice; the first time in 1829 with a horse called 'Frederick' and then again with 'Merry Monarch' in 1845. However, this is only legend and not historical fact. Only parts of the original 12th century church remain but the tower, built in 1507, was fortunately retained.
A substantial "re-ordering" of the church took place in 2008/9 costing well over £1 million. This consisted of a new welcoming entrance on the east of the building which necessitated the removal of the Gratwicke Chapel. The old vestry building to the north of the Chancel was demolished and replaced by a new office/reception building which also contains a kitchen and a toilet. Within the church, the old pews, pulpit and Gratwicke Chapel screen were removed, and a new wooden floor installed with under-floor heating. Chairs replaced the pews which allow various seating configurations, and an immersion baptism pool was incorporated in the centre of the Nave. Improved lighting and plasma monitors were also installed.
St Margaret's has a peal of six bells and over 35 memorials, the oldest being a brass floor plate dated 1598 to the memory of Eden Baker (aged 23), the wife of John Baker of Ecclesden Manor. There have been some 50 vicars and rectors of St Margaret's the first recorded being N. de Westdene in 1273. A list of vicars and rectors of both St Margaret's and St Nicholas' churches may be seen on the south wall of the tower of St. Margaret's Church.
Elsewhere on this website you will able to find detailed histories of the following additional aspects of St Margaret's Church (click on links):
Floorplans of the church prior to its 1853 re-building can be seen by visiting www.churchplansonline.org
St Margaret's own website is located at www.angmering.org.uk
Last updated 10 April 2009