Thursday, 28 May 2009

St Mary, Selmeston

Selmeston is a tiny one-street village just off the A27, with a lovely little church. The village and church were mentioned in the Domesday Book, although most of what now remains of the latter dates from a Victorian restoration in 1867.

The church is built of flint in the typical Sussex style, with a red-tiled roof and a tall bell-turret with tiled walls and a shingled spire.

Inside, the nave is dominated by the unusual wooden arcade, with octagonal wooden columns with curved braces rather than arches. These are 1867 replacements for the originals. The windows are also copies of the originals, the one in the chancel with glass by Kempe. On the floor is an attractive memorial ledger stone to Ann Cox (d. 1741), and in the chancel a 16th monument, used as an Easter Sepulchre. The interior has the following inscription:

Here lyeth Dam Beatris Bray
svm tyme the wyffe of Syr
Edward Bray and dawgter of
Raffe Sherley of Wyston
and Wyfe of Edward Elderton

Another memorial in the vestry floor has very strange wording indeed, almost a riddle: It reads:

Here lyeth ye body of Henry Rochester
Dyed May 28 1646
Apostrophe AD
This life that’s packt with ielovsles and fears
I love not. That’s beyond the lists of fears.
That life for me. For here I cannot breathe
my prayers ovt. There I shall have breath
to say Ovr Father that’s in heaven wth me
where chores of sancts and innocents there be
No sooner christened bvt possession
I took of the heavenlie habitation.

Strange indeed.

The Street, Selmeston, off the A27, East Sussex, BN26 6UD

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