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Below is a brief introductory description of the Parish Church of St Nicholas, West Itchenor. For the full Church Guide Book - see the following pages.

Brief introductory description

The Church at Itchenor is dedicated to St. Nicholas of Barr. In 1175 the Lord of the Manor of West Itchenor obtained permission to build a chapel there and a few years later this was converted into a parish church with its own graveyard.

Standing on a small hill the building is in the most simple style of Sussex church and comprises a single chamber without a chancel arch. There is a ninteenth century south porch and a modern vestry on the north side of the chancel.

The bell turret at the west end of the Church was reconstructed in 1870 with a broach spire and is supported on massive buttresses and the arch between them. The spire was re-shingled in sweet chestnut in 1989. There are three bells. The oldest is dated about 1530 and the other two are seventeen century. The bells were re-hung in 1988 and a hand-chiming apparatus added.

A notable feature is the thirteenth century font, octagonal in shape with arcading of pointed arches and resting on five shafts with moulded capitals and bases.

There is some good modern stained glass in the windows which are of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries period.

The Churchyard is well maintained by professional gardeners financed by an annual appeal to the villagers. Burials in the Churchyard average four a year. There is also a Garden of Remembrance for the interment of cremated ashes, used two or three times a year.

The Church has some valuable silver which is kept stored away under lock and key except at service times. At other times there is a simple oak cross on the altar.

The three Churches of the Benefice share jointly in the monthly magazine the Parish News. The magazine has a circulation of 900 copies and caters for various groups within the area of the Benefice in addition to the announcement of Church Services and Church news.

In 1935 St. Nichoas, Itchenor was united with St. James, Birdham to form a single benefice. Under a scheme of Pastoral Reorganisation the ecclesiastical parishes of Birdham and of West Itchenor became one enlarged parish in 1987 and the augmented parish was at the same time joined with West Wittering parish as a single benefice under the incumbent of West Wittering. St. Nicholas and St. James each remain Parish Churches within the enlarged parish of Birdham with West Itchenor. There is one Parochial Church Council of 19 members. The two Churches have individual honorary treasurers and each maintains its own financial records.

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