Fittleworth Parish Church, St Mary’s, is situated at the northern end of the village, with Hesworth Common to the west and Fittleworth Common to the east. The building dates back to at least 1200 and is Grade 1 listed. The church is in excellent repair and is well cared for. The tower is the oldest part. Above the vestry window there is a very early ‘consecration cross’, a relic from a much earlier church. The nave was rebuilt in 1871, changing the appearance of the church considerably – away went the galleries, old box pews and an old barrel organ. We have before and after watercolour paintings which document these changes.
The nave and side aisles can seat about 170 in pine pews. At the west end several pews have been removed to create an area for welcoming and coffee. The Chancel has choir stalls on each side with the organ situated on the right. The Sanctuary has an Aumbry with a Tabernacle fitted inside and a Piscina. The altar is of Sussex marble and stone. The vestry has a newly fitted kitchen area, and a brick built pier housing cupboards and a safe. The Vestry and Chancel are alarmed. Three of the stained glass windows are the work of C.E. Kempe, showing the distinctive wheat-sheaf mark. Many of the windows are clear which makes the church light. The font dates from 15th century and stands in front of the ringing room at the base of the bell tower. The tower houses a peal of 6 bells which are well used by our team of ringers. Over the years extensive work has been done to bells, frame, and ropes to ensure good working order.
Around 20 years ago the church was completely re-roofed , the ceiling renovated and renewed where necessary, completely re-wired. Much of the floor has been renewed in wood.
The churchyard is of considerable size and is maintained by a small group of willing helpers as well as those who carry out necessary contractual work from time to time. There is also a small adjoining field which is used for the summer fete and other activities, but which may eventually be used as a burial ground.
If you would like to help maintain this historic building at a cost of only £8 per year, please click here to read more about the Friends of St Mary’s.