Wednesday, 20 November 2013

St. Mary's Church, Sompting, West Sussex. Saxon church constructed from quarried flints

St. Mary's Church, Sompting, West Sussex.  This church with its rare but distinctive Saxon tower with a 'gabled pyramidal cap' or Rheinish Helm (Rhineland Helmet) is suggestive of early German (Saxon) architectural influence. Nevertheless it is built principally of flint nodules and local sandstones from the Weald Clay Formation. The walls of Sompting Church are built mainly of undressed flint nodules. The quoins are of a variety of rock types, some possibly derived from older buildings. The nave and transept are roofed with thin sandstone slabs from the Weald Clay. The unusual tower of this church is an important Saxon structure. Many of the churches of West Sussex were principally constructed from locally 'quarried' flints, the only suitable building stone readily available. The Rheinish Helm on top of the tower is an original Anglo-Saxon spire, the only one in the country.
BGS image ID: P212490
St. Mary's Church, Sompting, West Sussex.

This church with its rare but distinctive Saxon tower with a 'gabled pyramidal cap' or Rheinish Helm (Rhineland Helmet) is suggestive of early German (Saxon) architectural influence. Nevertheless it is built principally of flint nodules and local sandstones from the Weald Clay Formation. The walls of Sompting Church are built mainly of undressed flint nodules. The quoins are of a variety of rock types, some possibly derived from older buildings. The nave and transept are roofed with thin sandstone slabs from the Weald Clay. The unusual tower of this church is an important Saxon structure. Many of the churches of West Sussex were principally constructed from locally 'quarried' flints, the only suitable building stone readily available. The Rheinish Helm on top of the tower is an original Anglo-Saxon spire, the only one in the country.

Original BGS photograph number: A 133394. Date of image 1979.

Virtual tour: The Friends of Sompting Church

Bob McIntosh


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