Church of St Mary Magdalene, Tortington, West Sussex
- What's nearby
Boggle-eyed monsters in a rustic church
The entrance to this twelfth-century flint church looks like something out of a medieval fantasy - three rows of Norman carvings arch over a thick wooden door set with ornamental hinge straps. Inside, creatures unlike anything found in nature peer down from the chancel arch. They are called 'beakheads' - boggle-eyed monsters with beaks, tongues and squid-like tentacles that frown and glare at visitors below.
Once they would have been painted in bright colours to entertain - or terrify - worshippers. The twelfth-century font is an unusual shape, decorated with arcading and cable moulding round the rim, and in the north aisle are two fine Kempe Studio stained glass windows from 1896.
A happy ending for a church with no name on the South Downs
A simple and charming church next to a school house
A rare surviving example of a Georgian evangelical 'preaching house'
There is a grassy path across the churchyard (may be slippery in wet weather). The church interior is fairly level.
Facilities & Hire
Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number have heating, running water or toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor.
1 mile south west of Arundel off A27 Ford Road. Follow the St. Mary’s Church brown tourist signs along Tortington Lane. Church hidden behind trees and a large hedge next to Manor Farm
Nearest railway station: Ford (1 mile).
History & Further Information
Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out about this church before you visit? You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walk round guides we have for this churchHampshire, Sussex & Surrey County Guide 2012
This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches we care for in Hampshire, Sussex & Surrey. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.
- Community information