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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
"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.
Supporting St Michael’s, Amberley
St Michael’s, like all medieval churches, requires regular maintenance. If you would like to help ensure that many further generations may enjoy our beautiful church click here to donate.