Sue Ward, Churchwarden
Come and visit our 12th Century church with its fascinating Doom Painting, medieval memorial and gravestones in beautiful Patcham Village Entry to the church is free Saturday 9th September 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 12.00pm – 4.00pm Refreshments will be available in the Church Centre
All Saints occupies a prominent position at the northern end of Church Hill in Patcham Conservation Area. It once comprised a small downland village, forming a distinct settlement to the north of Brighton. The present church has a history dating back to Saxon times, (possibly as early as the 700s). A church is known to have stood on this site since before the compiling of the Domesday Book in which Patcham was registered as Piceham when the village was valued at £80 in 1086 AD. There are striking similarities with other Sussex Downland churches nearby, such as Pyecombe and Clayton, in terms of construction and overall design. It is built in flint, widely used for building construction in Sussex in the middle ages, with sections of the present building dating from as early as the 12th century. In the nave of the church and positioned over the chancel arch is a rare 13th century Last Judgement or Doom Painting, whitewashed over at the time of the purges of the Reformation then rediscovered during renovations in 1880-1883.
Sadly, the flint walls of All Saints have been covered in an unsightly cement render which has caused severe water penetration and subsequent damage to the fabric of the building. We are in the process of looking for Heritage Lottery grant funding to have this removed, and for the building to be taken back to its original appearance. An expert in historic building renovation has cut squares or “windows” in the cement render. This shows how the building probably looked when it was constructed and how it might look again if we are successful in our bid.
In the churchyard, there are several near identical chest-tombs of members of the Scrase family, an important local family, together with two other unrelated tombs which were listed by English Heritage at grade II in 1999. It also contains many very old tombstones and graves, the oldest being that of Mary Gunn (1694).
The grave of a local smuggler Daniel Scayles stands close to the wall on the north aisle with an inscription reading; “Daniel Scayles, aged 34 years who was unfortunately shot on Thursday evening Nov 17th 1796.” An extract from Sussex Archaeological Society, (The Journal of Walter Gale, 1750), records the real story of Daniel Skales; “The real story of his death is this. Daniel Skales was a desperate smuggler and one night he, with many more, was coming from Brighton, heavily laden, when the excise officers and soldiers fell in with them. The smugglers fled in all directions; a riding officer, as they were called, met this man, and called upon him to surrender his booty, which he refused to do. The officer, to use the words of the officer’s informant, a very respectable man and neighbour, who in his early life was much engaged in such transactions, knew that “he was too good a man for him,” for they had tried it out before; so he shot Daniel through the head.”
An additional significant grave is that of the Shakespeare scholar and librarian of Jesus College, Cambridge, James Halliwell-Phillips of Hollingbury Copse (1820-1889). His publications numbered more than sixty volumes in all and he, in later life was instrumental in the purchase of New Place for the corporation of Stratford-on-Avon and in the formation of the Shakespeare Museum.
We would love to welcome you and to show you some of the special history at All Saints as well as our plans for its restoration.