St Wulfran's Church, Ovingdean

Recorded in the Domesday Book

Reproduced with permission from the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

b) ST.WULFRAN'S CHURCH: One of only three churches in England dedicated to the eighth-century Saint Wulfran (the others are at Grantham and Dorrington in Lincolnshire), Ovingdean's charming church is built entirely of flint , the only all-flint church in the county. Although Domesday records the presence of a small church, the earliest work at St Wulfran's, the chancel and nave, appears to date from the early twelfth century; nevertheless, this makes it probably the oldest building in the whole borough.

The tower, with its Sussex cap, dates from the late thirteenth century but the porch and chapel are both modern. Towards the end of the twelfth century two doors were cut in the south wall of the nave; an aisle was also built but this has been destroyed, possibly by French raiders in 1377. Now a listed building, St Wulfran's was restored and reseated in 1867.

The interior, which measures just 33 feet by 18 feet, has 125 sittings but contains no medieval monuments or memorials. However, a miniature fourteenth-century rood screen of oak remains in the chancel arch, and the chancel roof is painted with birds and foliage. Opposite the porch in the churchyard are the tombs of Charles Kempe, the renowned stained-glass artist, and the inventor Magnus Volk . Ovingdean Church Room was built in 1873 in Ovingdean Road, in flint with red-brick dressings. {1,45,64a,125}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

This page was added on 12-09-2007.
Comments about this page

Please do you have any information regarding the arrow in the wall at St Wulfram's church, Ovingdean? My dad remembers seeing it in the wall and was informed that it was removed and taken to a museum. Please could you find out for me and the circumstances as to to how it ended up in the wall.
Many thanks

By Blaise Kriek (16-04-2009)

Is the first female barrister, Helena Normanton, buried on the graveyard?

Editor's note: If you look here Dom you can read about her grave.

By Dom K (19-06-2009)

I was married in this wonderful little church. We had about 70 guests to the wedding and it was so small that some could not get in the church. Also my groom had to stand behind me as there was not enough room for us to stand side by side. When we knelt for part of the service - he knelt on the back of my dress. I went to get up ahead of him and the back of my dress got ripped a little, not enough to ruin the dress or the day.

By Jeanne Clarke-Walker (nee Cornwell) (02-01-2012)

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