Steyning Parish Church has a long history dating back to the 8th or 9th century.
Legends claim that St Cuthman, a Saxon saint, was wheeling his invalid mother in a handcart when it broke. St Cuthman believed this was 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. He is there as a shepherd, as a builder and with his mother in a handcart (in the photo)
St Cuthman could have had royal blood as Alfred the Great’s father Ethelwulf was buried in the churchyard in 858.
You can also see a modern sculpture of the saint opposite the church, which was made to commemorate the millennium.
Steyning Parish Church and the Normans
The Norman Church, from the late 1100’s, was nearly twice as big as the current building. It had transepts and a much longer chancel than the present 19th century one. It also had 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. There are the customary zigzags and scallops as well as many less conventional motifs and designs.
Do go and take a look!