Tag Archives: singleton

Picture Postcard Parade: The Church, Singleton

13 Jul

This is another before and after post of sorts. The first image is a postcard of the church at Singleton, Sussex. The postcard was unused, but probably dates from 1910-20.

The Church, Singleton

The image below is not from the same position, but it does illustrate what happened to many of the headstones that were pictured on the postcard.

Singleton Headstones

When I visited the church earlier this year I discovered that most of the older headstones had been re-located and were now lined up along one side of the churchyard. I don’t know when this clearance took place, and there are now more modern burials (and headstones) in their place.

New Headstones

Picture Postcard Parade: Interior of Singleton Church

9 Jul

This is actually a bit of a before and after post. The first picture is an undated (circa 1910) postcard of the interior of the church in Singleton, West Sussex.

Interior of Singleton Church

Below is the ‘after’ photo, a similar view taken by me on the 16th June 2010 (Sussex Day).

Singleton Interior 2010

There are two obvious differences between the two, and although I am not an expert on church architecture (in fact it is something I have been meaning to read up on), I think they are the rood beam (that solid chunk of wood stretching from side to side) and the chancel (or rood) screen behind it (the more ornate divider separating the chancel and the nave).

Those two holes in the wall on the left-hand side are the entrances to a set of steps, which suggests to me that there was at one time a more substantial rood loft rather than just a beam, but I could be wrong. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can point me in the direction of a guide on the subject.

I like the fact that very little else seems to have changed, the lectern and pulpit appear to be the same, and even the pews appear to have been retained. The only other significant difference seems to be the lights, presumably now replaced by electric lighting.

A pub sign with a difference

7 Jul

Pubs have long been used as landmarks for navigation, they are helpful because they are quite easily recognised (most of them have a sign hanging outside) and it helps that many of them are built at road junctions.

The sign shown below at Singleton, West Sussex is unusual, possibly unique (if you know of a similar example then let me know), normally a fingerpost like this would be pointing the way to neighbouring villages, not nearby pubs.

Pub sign with a difference

I don’t know who is responsible for the sign, it appears to be in someone’s garden. I can’t imagine that the highways department of West Sussex County Council were responsible, but whoever is responsible it is a great idea.

According to the British Beer & Pub Association, almost 40 pubs a week are closing across Britain (or they were in the second half of last year), with two a week closing in the south of England. Clearly Singleton is in a very favoured location, with six pubs within a four mile radius.

What to call Singleton Church?

18 Jun

After walking part of the South Downs Way on Wednesday I took the bus to Singleton, West Sussex, just to have a quick look around the village and especially the parish church, which is really the only place that I knew for certain had a connection with my BOXALL ancestors.

Singleton parish church

A notice on the door proclaimed the church to be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it wasn’t until I was on the way home that I thought something was quite right with that.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered seeing a postcard which had referred to it as being dedicated to the St John the Evangelist, now I was confused. It is not unheard of for postcard publishers to get their captions wrong on postcards, but I am sure it wasn’t just on one postcard that I had seen that name, had I imagined it?

I went online in search of an answer, to the catalogues of the West Sussex Record Office on Access to Archives, and soon found the answer among the catalogue of records for the parish of Singleton:

Administrative history:

Surviving medieval sources indicate, but do not prove absolutely, that Singleton church was originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The dedication appears to have been lost after the Reformation, and the church was simply referred to as the parish church. A misreading by C. Gibbon in ‘Dedications of Churches and Chapels in West Sussex’ (SAC vol. 12, 1860) of money bequeathed to Sir John of Singleton as money bequeathed to St. John of Singleton, led to the belief for the next century that the church was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. When the error was discovered, the church was rededicated in March 1979, and is now the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Singleton. (See SAC vol. 118, p.385-387)

So it seems that I hadn’t imagined the wrong name, it had once been dedicated to St John the Evangelist, mistakenly as it turned out, and then in 1979 it reverted back to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The postcard would almost certainly have been published in the early 1900s when it was known as St John the Evangelist. It also seems that for a period it didn’t have a dedication at all.

This raises questions for my research and I certainly need to be careful how I refer to the church in my research. Would my ancestors have known it as St John the Evangelist? or just the parish church? What do the actual parish registers record as the dedication? I sure know how to make things more complicated for myself.

Interior of Singleton parish church

Happy Sussex Day 2010!

16 Jun

The 16th June is Sussex Day, a day to celebrate the county of Sussex, England (technically that should be East Sussex and West Sussex, but lets not argue). Like last year I decided to celebrate the day by walking around Sussex, and so I could kill two birds with one stone I decided to walk the next section of the South Downs Way (from Amberley to Cocking).

After finishing on the South Downs Way I had chance to spend a couple of hours in nearby Singleton and West Dean, both ancestral villages which I felt I really ought to get to know better. I didn’t really have long in either place, but it was a start.

Over the next couple of days I will be posting some details and some photos, from both the South Downs Way and the two villages.

Like last year the weather was absolutely beautiful, it began quite cloudy and with a strong wind, but that soon cleared and the sun did it’s best to help Sussex celebrate in style. The only slight disappointment was my pedometer deciding to pack up (battery trouble I think) so I am not sure what the total mileage was. The South Downs Way was supposed to be 12 miles and I probably added another 3 miles at Singleton and West Dean.

Now I will leave you with a photo of the trig point on Heyshott Down, with a fantastic view to the north (although a little hazy), whilst I try and work out the revised rules for the free access to findmypast.co.uk on the next England match day!

Heyshott Down trig point


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