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St. Peter ad Vincula, Wisborough Green

The Wisborough Green Parish Church War Memorial for 1914-18 is in the form of a brass plate in the Church of St. Peter ad Vincula and contains 21 names listed by rank surname and initials. The names are also on the memorial in the village.

The earliest documents which mention the church are dated 1227, the eleventh year of the reign of Henry III but the oldest part of the building, the western end of the nave, and the outside walls of the tower, are thought to date from about 1070 to 1100 and the alter stone dates from the earliest days, possibly even pre-Christian worship.

By the beginning of the twelfth century the building had been extended to the length of the present nave and finished with three arches at the east end, of which the remains of the southernmost are still visible. Because the original Intention was apparently not to erect such a large building, the chancel had to be built on ground sloping away from the church, hence the fact that one steps down into the chancel, an unusual feature in church architecture.

In the 15th century, although the walls were more brightly decorated than at present, the interior of the building must have seemed very bare compared to today. It Is unlikely that, apart from the Altars themselves, and possibly one or two crude benches or chests, there was any kind of furnishing. Lighting, during the dark days of winter, would have been by smoky oil lamps, or rushlights held in sconces on the walls. Heating would have been at a minimum, most probably non-existent or at best a charcoal brazier in the middle of the floor. Our ancestors must have felt their religion very deeply to stand and kneel; through the long services of those days.

Like any building of comparable age, the church and its surroundings are rich in history. The walls have looked down on men in mail and plate, and women in mantles and houppelandes. They have seen Tudor dress and the colourful costumes of 17th and 18th centuries. They have heard the chanting of monks and the gospel preached in the universal Latin of medieval times, and the later English of the Authorised Version. They have seen the Victorians come and they saw them go and they stood unmoved through the turmoil of two world wars and the memorial pays testament to this and in 2018, those 21 names will be represented by life-sized Perspex figures in the pews among the rest of the community.

There But Not There