Sussex Historic Churches Trust Jubilee Winchelsea 19 September 2016
The Friends of Sussex Historic Churches Trust visit to Jubilee Winchelsea on the 19th September 2016.
Pictured: Discussing the finer points of the architecture of the tomb recesses after the lecture by Professor Richard Marks (facing the camera).
Jubilee of the Trust
The jubilee of the Trust, which was founded in 1956, was celebrated with a series of events in 2016. The first of these, on 5 March, was the presentation of the awards for the previous year’s Ride and Stride exercise. To mark the occasion of the Trust’s sixtieth anniversary this annual event was enhanced by being held in Chichester Cathedral in the presence of the Bishop, the Right Reverend Martin Warner, who gave the address (accompanied, appropriately, by his bicycle).
More specifically related to the jubilee was a thanksgiving service, held in St Anne’s Church, Lewes, on 2 July. It was attended not only by Bishop Martin, but by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Right Reverend Richard Moth, and the Regional Minister of the South-Eastern Baptist Association, the Reverend Stuart Davison.
The ecumenical nature of the assembly was in accordance with the Trust’s foundation Deed, which defines the object of the charity as ‘the preservation, repair, maintenance, improvement, upkeep, beautification and reconstruction of … buildings used for public worship in Sussex, whether belonging to or used by the Church of England or any other religious body‘.
All are entitled to financial support from the Trust, and recent grants have included those to the Blue Idol Meeting House and Unitarian churches at Billingshurst and Hastings, as reported in last year’s Newsletter.
By the same token, it is interesting to note that the booklet Sussex Churches and their Treasures, which launched the Trust’s initial appeal for funds, had amongst its illustrations photographs of both the Fitzalan Chapel and the church of St Philip Neri (as the Roman Catholic cathedral then was) in Arundel and the Calvinist Providence Chapel in Chichester.
Winchelsea on the 19th September
The culmination of the celebration was a double event, organised by the Friends, at Winchelsea on 19 September.
In the morning a traditional Friends’ meeting to view and study the church of St Thomas à Becket was led by Dr Nicola Coldstream FSA, an expert in Gothic architecture and past president of the British Archaeological Association. A summary of her presentation and guided tour can be found in the 2016 Newsletter.
After a picnic lunch in the churchyard (the weather was kind) the Friends were joined by others from the more immediate area for the Trust’s lecture by Professor Richard Marks FSA on ‘Documenting the Medieval Parish Church: Wills, Walls and Windows’.
Emeritus Professor, Richard Marks
Richard Marks is Emeritus Professor in the History of Art at the University of York, and an expert on medieval coloured glass. He is no stranger to the area, having been Director of the Brighton Pavilion, Art Gallery and Museums from 1985 to 1992; in 1989 he was instrumental in mounting an exhibition on ‘Treasures from Sussex Churches’ and co-authored the accompanying book Sussex Churches and Chapels. A résumé of his talk appears in the 2016 Newsletter.