Church of St Mary Magdalene, Tortington, West Sussex
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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.
22 December 2018 - 22 December 2018
Christmas Carols at Tortington
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