This is the largest church in the Octagon parish. It is a little-changed 11th century building, and more ambitious in size and style than the typical downland churches. The windows and transept arches were changed in the 12th and 13th centuries, the bell tower raised over the south transept in the late 14th century. The chancel eaves were lowered, possibly in the 17th century, and there was 19th century restoration to the chancel roof, floor, stained glass, and nave pews.
A restored 19th Century Willis two manual Organ was installed in 1994. Its pleasant voicing can provide an enlightening and impressive accompaniment to all our Church services and activities, while its appearance and size now blend happily within the Saxon architecture to make a perfect venue to continue the genre of organ recitals, choir and carol concerts already established.
St Mary has a fine ring of six bells. The ring was augmented from five to six and a major refurbishment, including the installation of a new bell frame, was undertaken in 2007. The Friends of St Mary charity was set up in 1978 to provide funds for the fabric of the church.
More information about the history and architecture of this church can be found on the Sussex Parish Churches Website
THE STOUGHTON MILLENNIUM TAPESTRY
To celebrate the millennium, a remarkable series of local history panels were embroidered by the community following detailed research by Dr Betty Killick. The tapestry is wool on canvas and consists of a set of 14 scenes illustrating 2000 years of local life. Each scene is mainly the work of one person and follows agreed guidelines, particularly in having a continuous downland background (not geographically exact!)
The material and style of the tapestry was intended to accord with the set of kneelers which already furnish the nave.
The scenes are read starting at the left hand end of each wall and reading from left to right. The tapestry on the North wall of the nave (opposite the porch) illustrates the First Millennium: invasions and settlements, and finally the appearance of the present church. The tapestry on the South wall of the nave illustrates the Second Millennium: Church, Reformation, Farming and War.
For further information, please click the image
STOUGHTON ALTAR FRONTAL FOR ORDINARY TIME
The image does not do justice to the colours and texture of this thought-provoking and beautiful altar frontal by Jane Venables. It is not always on display but is usually used in ‘ordinary time’, outside the main festivals and preparation periods in the Christian year.