• St Andrews - at the heart of Tangmere

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    12th Century Construction

    History of St Andrew's Tangmere

    Records show there has been a church dedicated to St Andrew in Tangmere since 680 AD, shortly after St Wilfrid brought Christianity to Sussex.

    The present building dates from the early 12th Century. A modest extension was added to form the sanctuary in the 13th Century and it had a gallery which was removed when the considerable renovation was carried out. In spite of these renovations the Church building today still stands as a simple country church, essentially as it was in medieval times.

      St Andrews was restored in 1845, with further adjustments in 1924, the 1980s and after the 2003 lightning strike. This led to major refurbishment of the floor, replacement of the Victorian pews and restoration of the stained glass windows. More recently, a Victorian storeroom was extended and turned into a small kitchen and wheelchair accessible toilet.

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      Features of Interest

      Inside the church

      • The font is a relic of Saxon England.
      • While the windows of the nave are 12th and 13th century (round-headed with a single lead light and unglazed until the middle of the 19th century), the stained glass dates from the Victorian era. On the west wall is the millennium window, designed to commemorate the pilots of World War II.
      • The roof timbers are well over 800 years old.
      • Two of the three bells in the bell-cote are from the 15th century and the third is by the famous John Cole, dated 1575.
      • The chancel and sanctuary, reached through an attractive 13th-century arch, contain further 13th Century features, such as a piscina (used in the celebration of the Mass), a 15th Century stone reredos and a rare altar stone bearing the well-known marks of five crosses, representing the five wounds of the Crucifixion.
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      Ancient Trees

      In the churchyard


      • A yew tree which is possibly older than the church itself.
      • Under the tree are a number of unusual 18th and early 19th-century barrel graves, made from wedge-shaped bricks. The reason for this is that grass would not grow under Yew trees. Our records show that they cost 7/6 (about 35p) more than ordinary graves.
      • Near the window on the south side (close to the porch) is an Anglo-Saxon carving, possibly pagan, in low relief.
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      War Graves

      There are a number of Allied and German war graves in the churchyard with a fascinating history

      There are graves from RAF Tangmere from before and after WW2 as well as those who gave their lives during the war. Please feel free to come and look round. We are undertaking a project to research each person and to share a little about them and how they came to be buried at St Andrew's. A booklet is available from the church. If you would like a copy sent to you, please let us know using the contact form.

    • The War Years

      A deeper insight to the lives 

      Tangmere was responsible for the defence of Portsmouth and Southampton and from the outset its squadrons were heavily engaged in combat with the enemy bombers and escorting fighters. The first phase of the Battle lasted just over a month. Westhampnett (Goodwood) was brought into service as a...
      June 18, 2019
      The aerodrome was built in 1917, too late to make much impact on WW1. But as a base for our fighter squadrons, it played a vital role in WWII, from the battle of France to the assault on Hitler’s Europe.   Churchill spoke in 'matchless' words of the pilots who won the Battle of Britain. Those...
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      St Andrews Church, Church Lane, Tangmere, UK