The main photograph shows St Mary’s Church at Northiam from the south-east. The earliest extant parts of the building are the nave and the base of the tower, which are Norman. Shortly after the end of the Norman era, c1200, a second stage was added to the tower, and it was extended upwards again, c1500, when the stone spire was added. The landmark spire is the tallest of just four such stone spires in Sussex.
In the late 13th century, a south aisle was added, followed shortly after the turn of the century by a north aisle. Later, probably in the 17th century, the south porch was added. The east end of St Mary’s was rebuilt between 1837 and 1847, in 1846 the Frewen mausoleum was built, and later that century various restoration works, including renewal of the aisle roofs, were undertaken.
The first photograph in the gallery above shows the restored Early English west doorway with typical pointed arch. The outer order roll moulding has angel stops, the left-hand one in good condition, but the right-hand one unfortunately damaged.
The second picture is of two former mass dials by the south doorway. The holes for the gnomons are clearly visible, the scratch lines to show the time of masses being easier to make out on the upper dial.
The third photograph is a general view of the nave and chancel. The pointed arches of the north and south arcades are from the Decorated Gothic period with bolder mouldings than the Early English period, and narrow flat bands (fillets). The 4-light east window has stained glass dating from 1928, depicting from left to right, St Nicholas; The Virgin Mary; St Gabriel; St Ambrose.
The next photograph looks across to the south arcade and shows the chandelier, dated 1727, the 18th century pulpit with plain panelling, and the king post nave roof.
The last picture in the gallery above is of the square font. It dates from 1931 and is in the style of 12th century fonts with a square bowl supported on a central stem and corner colonettes. There is a second 18th century marble font with a fluted bowl on a slender column rising from a small fluted base.
The gallery above features some of the fine stained glass at St Mary’s. Shown first is the ‘Sussex Window’ at the east end of the south aisle. Installed in 1937, it is a scene of the Nativity against a background of a Sussex farm and oast houses.
The second picture is of a single lancet window in the south aisle with glass, dating from 1932, depicting The Virgin Mary. To the west of this in the south aisle is the 2-light window shown next. The glass, which is considerably older, dating from 1879, shows Anna and Simeon.
The last picture in the gallery shows one of two windows in the north aisle which contain 16th and 17th heraldic glass. The window shown has a central Tudor arms with French fleur-de-lis and English lions, beneath a crown.
The final gallery features the Frewen Mausoleum which was built in 1846 against the north side of the church. The Frewen family’s association with Northiam goes back to the Elizabethan era when the family settled there having arrived from Worcestershire. The most illustrious Frewen was one Accepted Frewen who was born at Northiam in 1588 and went on to become Archbishop of York. Succeeding generations of the Frewen family lived at Brickwall House in Northiam. The mausoleum was built to the order of Thomas Frewen Turner in memory of his wife who died in 1844. Until 1978 the mausoleum remained separated from the church, the only entrance being by way of the west door shown in the second picture above.
The first photograph shows the mausoleum from the north-west. There are nine carved stone shields and banners along the west and east walls and gargoyles along the parapet. Internally, the mausoleum roof has curved timbers and decorative bosses with heraldic designs. Around the walls are a wealth of monuments to members of the Frewen family. The one shown in the last photograph is to Thomas Frewen (d.1870) and his wife Helen Louisa.
The north window of the mausoleum has glass contemporary with construction of the building. The design is of heraldic shields with banners below the cinquefoil heads of the two rows of four lights.