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19th Century Works

In the Revd G A Clarkson’s article of 1865 ('Notes on Amberley, its Castle, Church, etc', Sussex Archaeological Collections 17, pp.185-239, he lists “reparations” made to St Michael’s in the periods 1829-64, and in the works of 1864-65.

1829-1864

  • Nave and aisle ceilings: boarded in lieu of lath, reed and plaster
  • East and West aisle windows partly or entirely opened. It is not clear why or when these were ever closed.
  • New floor ("pavement") in chancel (but see the 1864-65 works)
  • "White-washing and un-white-washing"
  • "Restoration and … de-restoration" – This is not explained.

1864-65

Chancel

  • Cutting into it and erection of the eastern buttresses
  • Removal of external plaster and roughcast
  • Repair and pointing of north and south walls
  • Repair of roof "exhibition of" a plaster ceiling between the rafters

Other works

  • Removal of gallery at west end of nave and of the box-pews
  • Blocking up a north window
  • Installation of plain, open pews of fir, "unstained and varnished" (presumably he means unvarnished)
  • Removal of pulpit and rails and installation of a new pulpit
  • Substitution of stonework instead of weather-boarding at east gable of the nave
  • "The almost entire removal of the internal plastering" – This makes no sense, since extensive area of the internal plastering must have been left, where there are wall-paintings, eg the main wall paintings; that on the east wall of the aisle; the "face" on the south wall of the aisle; the areas of the consecration crosses; behind the chancel panelling. So how much was really removed?  Maybe 75 per cent maximum??
  • The installation of the current tiled floor in the nave, aisle and part of the chancel
  • Demolition of old porch (dated 1637) and construction of present porch ("more worthy of the pointed arch, and of the carved foliage, at the inner doorway")
  • Removal from the chancel of the memorial slab now inserted in the new porch
  • Removal of the font from the west side of the west pillar, its repair, and installation in its present position
  • Obliteration of two consecration crosses on the west side of the south door; "another was to be traced on the pier at the south west of the nave" (not any longer)
  • The "Wantele" brass was moved from the aisle floor near the east window and moved to its present vertical position

Clarkson comments:

"It has been permitted us to see the church attain a condition of marked improvement – a state more worthy of its high and holy purposes, partially developing the ideal of the House of God, as having all things decent and in order … ".

Hmm.  So much for the efforts of clergy and congregation over the previous seven hundred years.

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