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The Churches of Castle Rising











The results are still evident today in the west front, the nave and the lower levels of the tower and are considered by many to be among the finest surviving examples of late Norman work in the country. From earliest times the church was a ‘Peculiar’, that is, largely but not entirely free of control by the diocesan bishop. This status continued until the middle of the 19th century.

In the 13th century the chancel was updated in the latest ‘Early English’ architectural style. A south transept was added with access via a new arch in the south wall of the tower. The Tudor reformations had only a limited effect on the architecture of the church but far reaching effects on religious observance.

The church became much neglected during the 18th and early 19th century. In 1762 it was recorded that the chancel and the south transept were entirely in ruins. During the middle and late 19th century a considerable amount of restoration work was carried out by The Hon. Mary Howard and her husband Fulk Greville Howard. A new south transept was added and the height of the tower extended. At the completion of this restoration work the church from the outside looked very much as it does today.

The ruins of an earlier much smaller stone built church can be seen in the grounds of the castle. It appears to be of late Saxon or early Norman origin. It was of three cell construction with a nave, central section (which may have been a tower) and a chancel with an apsidal east end. The ruins became covered over with soil but were but were partly visible in 1745 and were uncovered totally in the 19th century. The location of what appears to have been a parish church within the grounds of a castle presents something of a mystery.
                                                                    


The parish church of St Lawrence in Castle Rising was built in the latter half of the 12th century for William D’Albini II at about the same time as he was constructing his castle nearby. It consisted of a chancel, central tower and a nave. Although it was only a small church, very high quality masonry skills were employed in its construction

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