St Cuthman was an 8th century Saxon saint who settled in Steyning, and founded the first church. He is said to have been wheeling his invalid mother in a handcart when it broke. This was seen to be a sign from god that he should establish a church close by.
St Cuthman is depicted in three stained glass windows in St Andrew’s and St Cuthmans’s Church in Steyning, West Sussex. You can see him as a shepherd, as a builder and in the one in the photo with his mother in a handcart
You can also see a modern sculpture of St Cuthman’s was made to commemorate the millennium: he is looking across the road at his church.
The church built by the Normans in the late eleven hundreds was nearly twice the size of the present building. It had transepts and a much longer chancel than the present 19th century one, as well as two extra bays at the west end of the nave, where the 16th century flint chequer work tower now stands.
The earliest part that remains is that which now forms the chancel arch. The surviving bays of the nave arcade, built around 1170-1180, have truly wonderful carving on most of the arches and capitals, each one different, with no shortage of the customary zigzags and scallops as well as many less conventional motifs and designs.
The setting is lovely: You look up to the slope of the South Downs on the east side. The River Arun and the wild brooks are on the on the south and west sides.
The village has its own castle – in use as a hotel and wedding venue. Even if you are not staying at the hotel you can walk around the back of the building on your way into the wild brooks.
The Wild Brooks
Whilst you are in the area do visit the Pulborough Brooks. This is an Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) site – open throughout the year and a haven for birds. This area often floods in the winter.
Amberley Working Museum
Another place to see is the Working Museum. This is an interesting use of an old chalk pit above the railway station which is now home to old agricultural and industrial machinery, nearly all of it still functioning.
Many of the houses round here are truly beautiful, with thatched roofs and plenty of lovely old brick and tile work. You can see a couple in my photo below.
Don’t miss a chance to visit this market town. You’ll see medieval streets, old English churches and tiny twittens (a Sussex word for alleyway) . Although surrounded by chalk cliffs, the town is dominated by the remains of a Norman castle (seen in my photo) and is also home to the townhouse of Anne of Cleves (fourth wife of King Henry Vlll). Lewes also has many contemporary art galleries and historic & special interest sites including the Priory of St. Pancras – a former monastery.
Lewes has numerous small, specialist, independent retailers and a local brewery. I recommend visiting Cliffe High Street. Bookshops, boutiques and antique shops are there as well as individual craft workshops. You’ll also find restaurants, cafes, and pubs offering tasty choices all year round with an emphasis on local produce.
I recommend spending time there and visiting the house and gardens at 15th century St Mary’s. This timber framed building was constructed around 1470 by the bishop of Winchester. At that time pilgrims used the house as an inn on their way to the tomb of St Thomas of Canterbury.
The house is open from the end of April to 28 Sept 2017 on Sundays, Thursdays and Bank Holiday Mondays (& Wednesdays in August) from 2 – 6 p.m. (last entry at 5 p.m.)
Entry costs: Adults £10; Concessions £9; Children £5
There are also some lovely cottage style tea rooms.
Sussex in southern England has the same chalky subsoil found in the Champagne region of France. The sunny, dry climate means that, as well as award-winning reds, whites and rosés, East & West Sussex vineyards produce sparkling wines that regularly beat French Champagnes in international competitions and blind taste tests!
One of the best known vineyards is at Nyetimber just outside Brighton. I recommend their Open Day: You can join them for an exclusive tour of the Nyetimber Estate, followed by a Masterclass tasting of their award-winning sparkling wines, led by their head winemaker.
Dates: 10th and 11th June / 1st and 2nd July 2017
Times: 10.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm and 4.00pm across both weekends
A wonderful walk from Steyning with fantastic views across the Sussex countryside..
Start by walking up Sir George’s Place in Steyning – just off the High Street. Turn right up a footpath when you see the tennis courts. Keep heading for the trees on the skyline. Once you approach the tress you will be able to enjoy magnificent views…
Bear left as you walk through the trees. When you leave the trees head along the footpath back down into the town. You will come into Newham Lane and later the High Street. The walk takes an hour to an hour and a quarter.
I took the photo of wild garlic as I walked through the woods last weekend.
This unique 17th century inn is in Burpham, a charming small village near Arundel. It is surrounded by the beautiful South Downs National Park.
The pub has an inviting modern interior and serves seasonal, locally-sourced, freshly-cooked food, beers, wines and spirits.
It is locally owned and aims to live up to the ambition . . . “By the locals, for the locals, of the locals – and a very warm welcome to everyone.”. . . including muddy-booted walkers and well-behaved dogs!
They serve delicious British food – always home cooked with the freshest seasonal ingredients, locally sourced where possible.
This pub is close to footpaths so is a good place to stop if you are hiking locally