Notes and queries

All Saints' Church, Patcham
Photo by William Maskell

from Matthew Buckwell, IT Consultant

“Please include All Saints Church in Patcham on the website. This place seems to have a lot of history and appears in the Domesday book. Therefore it could be quite interesting to investigate it. I’d also like to know about the link with Daniel Scales and smuggling in the area.”
sent to site by e-mail 10 July 2002

by William Maskell, Patcham editor

All Saints Church stands on a hill overlooking the village. With most of the flint and dressed stone walls cement rendered, dating from the exterior is almost impossible. The 12th century dating of the nave indicates that this is the oldest part of the church. Access to the nave is gained via the 14th century south porch and doorway. The chancel arch, over which a 13th century painting of the Last Judgement was discovered in 1879, is 13th century: as is the turret spired tower. The vestry and north aisle was added in 1898. Within the confines of the church are the vaults and memorials of the families who owned Patcham.

Memorial to a smuggler
A stone, close to the wall, of the north aisle reveals a certain reverence for the smugglers of that time.

Sacred To The Memory
Daniel Skales aged 34 years who was unfortunately
shot on Thursday evening Nov 17th 1796

Alas! swift flew the fatal lead,
Which pierced through the young man’s head.
He instant fell, resigned his breath,
And closed his languid ey es in death.
From this sad instance may we all
Prepare to meet Jehovah’s call.

The real story of Daniel Skales
“The real storey of his death is this. Daniel Skales was a desperate smuggler and one night he, with many more, was coming from Brighton, heavily laden, when the excise officers and soldiers fell in with them. The smugglers fled in all directions; a riding officer, as they were called, met this man, and called upon him to surrender his booty, which he refused to do. The officer, to use the words of the editor’s informant, a very respectable man and neighbour, who in his early life was much engaged in such transactions, knew that “he was to good a man for him”, for they had tried it out before; so he shot Daniel through the head.”

Source: Blencowe R..W. Esq. “Extracts from the Journal of Walter Gale, Schoolmaster at Mayfield 1750”
Sussex Archaeological Collection 9, page 195

Comments about this page

  • I sang in the choir here during the war years when the Rev Ensor was Vicar. He ran many youth organisations and revived the Patcham Silver Band. I knew a Maskell who I believe was the sexton. Any relation?

    By Graham Clarke (22/04/2006)
  • The weather vane on top of the church is fashioned as a cockerell. Local ‘folklore’ has it that the bird bears a bullet hole in its chest (which can be seen with the naked eye at ground level).  The bullet, so it is claimed, was  shot from a plane during the war. Within my family (my great-great grandfather – family name ‘Allfrey’ – lived in one of the ‘Pond Cottages’ opposite the church) a more credible claim was made that he had himself shot the bird with a rifle from the front door of the cottage. I wonder if anyone else has heard such stories or seen the ‘bullet hole’ in the weather vane?

    By David West (14/05/2007)
  • I too, as were my two older brothers sang in the church choir under choirmasters Clifford Dann and Ken Brooks who were both organists as well in the mid-sixties through to the mid seventies. Yes, the bullet holes were rumoured to have been made by a German aircraft, but we were always told that they were made by a previous vicar’s son, leaning from one of the old vicarages’ bedroom windows, with a shotgun.

    By Roger Smith (07/12/2012)
  • I was christened here in mid 1938 although later my parents attended Christ the King in Braybon Avenue. Both parents are buried in the ground in front of the tower and close to the wall which used to be above the pond. I believe the pond (spring fed) was used as an ‘Emergency Water Supply’ (EWS) during WWll and then later filled in. My dad (aged 60) was buried there in early 1960 and my mother 42 years later in 2006!  I think the vicar who christened me was the Rev Stott. My godparents, Mr and Mrs Baird, are buried close by, as is the sexton – Charlie ?. 
    I was told told that the church organ came from another church in West Sussex.
    My father and I played in the Patcham Silver Band.

    By John Snelling (03/10/2015)
  • Amazing! I cannot comprehend the lack of interest in the above subject. Patcham does not have that many claims to fame but this is certainly not a place to be missed if one is at all interested in local history. There is nothing in Patcham that equals this Church, both in antiquity and beauty.
    Come on Patcham, At least make a visit.
    There are several historic cottages almost opposite and an equally historic Dovecote. Then there is the ancient long barn next door and a path leading up to the historic and unique “Chattri” up on the downs commemorating Indian soldiers who gave their lives for this country in WW1.

    By John Snelling (19/05/2022)
  • Does anyone know if and when the inscription on the smuggler’s grave stone was re-cut? It seems fairly obvious from looking at it that the name and date are very clear but the rest of the inscription is totally eroded…

    By Andrew (20/11/2023)

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