Site of Special Historic Interest

The Medieval Chapel of Ease and the Georgian Church

Loxwood was part of the Parish of Wisborough Green and in the 14th Century all parishioners were expected to attend the parish church each week. However, the dense woods and marshy land made the 3 mile journey to Wisborough Green Church difficult, and so the villagers travelled out of the parish to Alfold Church.

Drungewick was a favourite rural retreat of the Bishops of Chichester. In 1404 the vicar of Wisborough Green and 8 prominent landowners of the parish approached the Bishop of Chichester, Robert Reade, (when he was at Drungewick) for permission to build a place of worship and accommodation for a Curate in Loxwood. Permission was granted and that winter oak trees were felled, and work started on the building (Church Cottage), which had three bays. The western bay was the accommodation for the Curate, which had an upper floor accessed by a ladder. The place of worship (Oratory) was the central and eastern bays and they were open to the rafters. Having a place of worship in the village encouraged more people to settle and allowed the landowners to find tenant farmers, to work on their land.

Church Cottage and the Chapel of Ease depicted in 1791. Village pond in foreground with Willetts in the background. © Andy Gammon. Watercolour painted in the style of Swiss artist Samuel Hieronymus Grimm.

In c1447 a new oak framed Chapel of Ease, (tied to Wisborough Green Church), was constructed approx. 16ft away from Church Cottage. Church Cottage was then converted solely to a Curates cottage, with a central fire and smoke windows, and the Chapel of Ease became the new place of worship for the village. The medieval pews now in Loxwood Church are thought to have been made in c1447 for the medieval Chapel of Ease and they are some of the oldest examples in the country.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century c1480 an oak framed building was constructed between the Chapel of Ease and the Curate cottage to form a new chancel. A short, covered bridge linked the upper floor of the new chancel to the upper floor of the cottage, to provide easy access for the Curate.

The Oratory
c1404 Church Cottage was constructed of oak in the Winter of that year. Illustrated with limited windows, door to Curate accommodation and door to Oratory.

In Georgian times c1822 the front part (Nave) of the oak framed chapel of ease had fallen into disrepair, and it was taken down and a new Nave was constructed from bricks and slate to create a larger footprint.

On August 9th 1873 in the presence of Queen Victoria at her Court at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight, Loxwood Chapel of Ease became ratified as a consecrated church and was thereafter known as Loxwood Parish Church breaking the historic tie with Wisborough Green Church.

As the Georgian Church didn’t have a burial ground (villagers were buried in Wisborough Green Churchyard) land for a new church was generously donated by Lionel Leslie Constable the owner of Ifold Manor House. The new church was designed by the renowned Architect Roland Plumbe (Fellow of the Royal British Institute of Architects) and built by Henry Spooner of Alfold. The last service in the Georgian Church was held on Sunday August 18th 1901 and the first service in the new church was held two days later.

The old Georgian Church was finally demolished in 1903 and the materials were used throughout the village. The Wharf building that is located between this site and Loxwood Church was constructed using the bricks and windows from the Georgian Church, although some of the windows were subsequently replaced.

The Chapel of Ease

c1447 New Oak framed Chapel of Ease was built next to Church Cottage. Church Cottage was then converted to be the Curates House.

The Georgian Church

c1822 Oak framed Nave was taken down, larger Nave built using local bricks. Oak framed Chancel retained and faced with bricks to match. Door to chancel moved to North elevation. Was known as Loxwood Church from 1873.

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