So many beautiful old churches to see in England and although we’ve seen several on our visits, we had to see this one with the paintings. We were on our way to visit Berwick Church with my sister and bro-in-law and it turned into a bigger adventure than first expected.
End of the road
Entrance to Berwick Church
The countryside we saw as we enjoyed our ‘adventure’ taking the long way around to the church was well worth seeing so no harm done there and when we did get to the church, this entrance way was there to greet us.
St. Michael and All Angels Church
Berwick Church dates back to the 12th Century and been restored in the Victoria period. It sits quietly amid many grave sites that surround the church. We are truly feeling like we are walking back in time.
12th Century construction
The church’s exterior is built with flint, a material used from very early days as a material for building stone walls, churches, houses and other buildings, using lime mortar. It was most common in parts of southern England as no good building stone was available nor brick making known until the later Middle Ages. Flint is quite common to see in Sussex.
Berwick Church Graveyard
There are many unkempt graveyards that we’ve seen in England, quite contrary to what we see at home. So many of those headstones are extremely old and we have to wonder if they are supposed to be maintained by family, who are no longer there. Some areas are maintained, and some headstones are from current years.
As like many churches, the ones we have visited in England have stained glass windows that are featured in arched frames throughout the building. They tell a story and are most beautiful to see on a sunny day. This church is no exception.
Once inside, we see what we came to see. There are paintings that were commissioned by Bishop Bell in 1941. Local artists from Bloomsbury, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell adorned the walls as well as the pulpit and both sides of the Chancel Arch with their amazing talent to create these exquisite paintings.
Berwick Church mural
The church is of national, if not more cultural significance because of the murals it features. This is something we’d not seen elsewhere and why we made a point of coming here was to see these murals in this church that represents “a national treasure”.
This mural called ‘The Annunciation’ is deteriorating and they are now looking for support to conserve it as well as all the murals in the church at Berwick. They hope to keep the church and the murals available for all future generations to see. They’ve done a wonderful job so far, wishing them well.
Centuries of headstones
We visited on a weekday, and there were a few others enjoying the church, too. The church may be unavailable to visit at times when being used for special events and services but otherwise welcomes visitors. They do still hold services in Berwick Church every Sunday.
We are on to more adventures and will share those with you soon. Now we visit Firle.