Saxon Churches in Sussex
Home Up Hardham 1978 Hardham - Priory

horizontal rule

Hardham Picture Tour 2001

See 1978 dig for more on Anchorites Cell

horizontal rule

An Article from 1901



IN the water meadows and level pastures, through which the Arun flows seaward, a mile or so to the south of Pulborough, lies the tiny grey church of St. Botolph, Hardham, overshadowed by towering elms. Its Saxon dedication prepares one for architecture of possibly pre-Conquest date-an expectation realised in the actual building which belongs to a group of early churches in West Sussex,1 all built on the simplest lines, and in plan and in their main features of a date within the eleventh century.2

The "village," of under a hundred inhabitants, consists of a few scattered farmhouses and some charming old half-timber cottages which, with their old-fashioned gardens, have furnished many an artist's study.

A view of the little church, as it appeared about the end of the eighteenth century, occurs in " Horsfield's History of Sussex," Vol. II., p. 153, in which is shown the no longer existing yew tree of great size and antiquity-older, indeed, than the church. Twenty­-seven persons, it is said, could stand together within the hollow trunk.3

Hardham Church consists only of nave, 31-ft. 6-in. by 19-ft., and chancel, 17-ft. by 15-ft. 6-in., with a modern porch. The east wall of the chancel and the west wall of the nave converge towards the south; otherwise the setting out of the plan is quite regular. The bell-cote, modern in its present form, but occupying the original position, is placed upon the eastern gable of the -nave; it contains two bells. The roofs are of ancient oak ­that of the nave possibly coeval with the walls-and still retain some of the old "healing" of Horsham slabs with other tiling. The chancel roof, from the character of one of the tie-beams, would seem to have been restored in the fifteenth century. This beam, which is placed over the altar, has a four-rayed star, or flower, carved on the soffit.

See 1978 dig for more on Anchorites Cell

The walls are built of. local sandstone and iron stone rubble, with quoins of sandstone, hammer dressed; while in the chancel much older material, in the shape of Roman tiles and bricks from a camp or station hard by, is to be found. Some of the tiles embedded on the face of the wall exhibit patterns scored in the wet clay, reminding one of the similar tiles to be seen at Westhampnet Church, near Chichester. A mass of the bricks in their original mortar serves in place of a stone in the S.E. quoin of the chancel. For the most part the walls are still covered with a thin coat of rough-cast, no doubt coeval with them.

Of the original features, one window remains in the N. wall of the chancel and one each in the N. and S. walls of the nave, together with a door in the latter. These are quite archaic in character, as the accompanying illustrations will serve to show. The nave windows are narrow slits, 6-in. wide, slightly tapering towards the head, and comparing with the pre-Conquest windows at Ford4 in the narrowness of their internal splays. Their external heads are rudely cut in a single stone and the jambs run out to the face of the wall without any provision for glazing.

The chancel window is furnished with a shallow rebate on the outside which probably contained a board to exclude the cold in winter and is more wide splayed on the inside, the jambs being inclined towards the head.

The doorway in the S. wall of the nave, now blocked up, is even more archaic in appearance than the windows. It has a square head, formed by a massive lintel tapering towards the ends, which rests on plain square-edged jambs worked in large blocks of stone; and above the lintel is a rough discharging arch.5 There is not a vestige of ornament or moulding. The door is blocked with seventeenth century brickwork.

The chancel arch (Plate II.), a bold semi-circle slightly horse-shoed, is also square-edged and without ornament or moulding, except a bead partially worked on the chamfered imposts and evidently a later attempt at relieving the plainness of the work.6 It is greatly to be regretted that at the restoration in 1866 by the late Rector, the Rev. J. M. Sandham, the original plaster was removed from the stonework of the arch-never intended to be exposed in all its naked roughness-the joints being then pointed in cement, with truly hideous effect. In this manner also the paintings covering the whole arch and its jambs were destroyed.

The east window, E.E. of about 1250, replacing perhaps an earlier single-light window, is made up of two broad lancets, divided by a wide mullion, the space above being pierced with a small pointed oval-an early essay in plate tracery. The internal arch is a flat segment. Standing up from the sill is a block, evidently intended to carry the altar cross. Another block or corbel, in the N.E. angle of the chancel, may have been one of the supports of the altar beam-the primitive reredos-on which stood the images and lights.

To the same date as the east window may be referred the lancet in the N. wall of the nave, the rear-arch of which is also of a flat segmental form.7 This window was no doubt inserted to light a small nave altar.

The wide pointed opening in the west wall, of nondescript character, would seem to belong to the Early English period also, and replaces an eleventh century window. Indeed, a close inspection shows that its exceptional width (about 2-ft. 8-in.) is due to the fact that it has swallowed up one of those large circular openings common in eleventh and twelfth century gable ­ends. In this case the circular opening was prolonged downwards, and its head converted so clumsily into a pointed shape as to leave unmistakable traces of the original. Another wide and unsightly opening, very rudely formed, in the eastern part of the S. wall of the nave is probably of late fourteenth or early fifteenth century date, and may also have had some connection with an altar to the S. of the chancel arch. Its external head is trefoiled in a peculiar fashion. From sundry peculiarities (such as a flat internal Gill near the floor and appearances of a shutter-rebate) it seems probable that it served the purpose of what is termed a low side window. For a reason that will appear, there could be no such opening in the usual position-the S.W. corner of the chancel. There is no present trace of either piscina or aumbry in the chancel or in connection with these nave altars; they may, however, be in existence behind the plaster.

In the S. wall of the chancel is a two-light Decorated window, the existing tracery of which is a restoration; and immediately to the west-visible only on the outside -is a feature of peculiar interest, which I brought to light last summer while searching for a possible low side window. This is an anchorite's sacrament-squint, piercing the wall obliquely and contracting inwards, so directed as to command the mediaeval altar, which probably stood a yard or more clear of the east wall. There can be no doubt that this opening served the purpose of enabling the occupant of a small " anker-hold " attached to the south wall of the chancel to watch the Blessed Sacrament and the light before it; to join from his narrow cell in holy worship, and especially in the Masses offered at the high altar; and through the narrow shuttered window of the squint to receive the Host and chalice.8

The squint is far from perfect; on the outside, however, enough remains to show that it measured 2-ft. 6-in. in width by about 2-ft. in height, the head being roughly cut to an elliptical form, with a downward slope towards the chancel, and smoothly plastered together with the jambs. The floor of the cell was not more than 2-f t. 6-in. below the cill of the squint, necessitating a kneeling posture on the part of the recluse in using the latter. Unfortunately, the insertion of the large window adjoining (at about 1330) partially destroyed the squint, the worked stones of its internal aperture being wholly removed and perhaps re-used in the new window, and the squint was then blocked up. We can thus approximately fix the time of the disuse of the cell.

As to the date at which the anker-hold and its squint were constructed we can also guess with tolerable certainty. The character of the latter shows that it is not coeval with the eleventh century wall in which it has been pierced, for there would in that case be stone dressings to the opening on the side of the cell; and if the squint had been pierced in the later Norman period we should still probably have some trace of the style. 'Everything about the squint points to a date about 1250 (when the windows before mentioned were inserted); and we are further confirmed in that date by a bequest in the will of the famous sainted Bishop of Chichester, Richard de la Wych.9

That most excellent prelate and truly saintly man seems to have been a special patron of the various orders of Friars-he had himself been a Dominican-and also of anchorites; for in his will, made probably in the year of his death, 1253, bequests are made to two male and three female recluses, among the former of which we find the recluse of Hardham-or Heringham, as it was then spelt.10

It appears highly probable that St. Richard, who became Bishop of Chichester in 1245, may have performed the ceremony of "including" the Hardham " anker" at some date between that year and 1253, and that the cell was constructed for the very recluse to whom the bequest is made in the will. One doubts if the recluse can have lived long in the enjoy­ment of his half mare ; for a damper spot than that selected for his cell could not easily be found!

Almost certainly it was only a light erection of wattle-and-daub, some 8 feet square internally and roofed with reed thatch from the river.11 It must have been provided with at least one external window, for we find in the statutes of the Synod held by Bishop Richard de la Wych in 1246 one relating to recluses, in which their windows were required to be " narrow and convenient."12 In this case the window would probably be towards the south or west, low down in the wall, fitted with a shutter and iron grating, and through it would be passed the anker's supplies of food, &c., while by the same means he would hold converse with such as sought to him for ghostly counsel; or if he were, as often happened, a priest he would in this way continue to hear confessions.13 The "Ancren Riwle," published by the Camden Society, a most curious document in thirteenth century English, describes the ankeress as living under the eaves of the church like the night fowl."

Reference is also made to the cell being a centre for village gossip, rivalling the mill, the market and the smithy. In the same "Rule for Ankers " the episcopal writer refers to the window looking into the church and strictly orders that no conversation be carried on thereat, but that it was to be respected on account of the Blessed Sacrament, visible through it.

Probably in this and other cases, as prescribed in Rader's " Bavaria Sancta," there was a third aperture, high up (to the east in the present instance), closed with glass or horn for the purpose of giving light.

It seems certain that our Hardham anker, et hoc genus omne, entered their living tomb of their own free will, as a year's probation was prescribed before they were with much form and ceremony immured for the remainder of their lives.14 To us it seems a strange life-some would in a wasted one-but let us pause before we, living In a far different age, hastily condemn these men of prayers and fasts and vigils. Prayer for others was the ostensible object of their life-long immurement and in those rough times the hardship of the confinement and silence-the living death-would not seem so over­ whelming as it does to us. Doubtless it is ever true that where the spirit is free

" Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars
a cage."

We like to imagine our recluse's bones resting under what was the floor of his narrow cell, beneath the eaves of the church, and to say our Requiescat for his soul.

The font is a plain specimen of fifteenth century work; and to the same period belong the massive oak seats, the square ends of which are plainly moulded and finished with miniature buttresses. There are no monuments of any interest. The Communion rail and balustrade date from 1720. Fitted into the modern priest's stall in the chancel is an ancient miserere seat, carved with foliage, and probably of fifteenth century date.

Having considered the simple little church, let us examine in detail the important series of paintings with which its walls have been entirely covered, and in doing this we shall have to refer from time to time to two strikingly similar series-now, alas! destroyed-in the Churches of Plumpton and Westmeston, near Lewes, 20 miles to the east of Hardham.15

The Hardham paintings are without doubt among the oldest remaining in England, and it is safe to say that they are the oldest complete series to be found in any church. They are also specially noteworthy for the variety and brilliancy of the colours employed, for the many remarkable details and for the extraordinary state of preservation of parts of the work. To the building I have assigned a date between the years 1050 and 1100, and it will, I think, be evident on examination that the paintings can hardly be many years later in date than the latter year.

Though brought to light about 1866 by the late Rector, the paintings were not very thoroughly or care­fully uncovered, and many curious details were still hidden until the summer of 1900, when I expended a small grant, placed by the Council of our Society at the disposal of the Committee on Mural Paintings, in com­pleting, as far as possible, the removal of the whitewash, and then cleaning, sizing and varnishing the entire series.

In the earlier uncovering it is to be feared that much injury was wrought in ignorance, and much also inevit­ably by reason of the close adhesion of the whitewash to the surface of the painting, which, unlike ordinary tempera, has been left by the original artists with a varnished or encaustic face. In addition, eight centuries of exposure to various destructive agencies-of which damp was not the least-has caused large surfaces of the plaster to disintegrate and the painting to perish with them. So durable was the process employed in the original work, however, that even where the painting has practically disappeared stains and faint outlines of figures and architectural settings remain to indicate the nature of the subjects. A modern distemper dado has unfortunately been allowed to cut off a foot or so of the lower tiers of subjects in nave and chancel, but otherwise they remain as they were brought to light, and, with the hardening and binding supplied by the recent application of size and varnish, decay has been indefinitely stayed and the interest and visibility of the paintings restored.

The medium used is in itself curious and very unusual. An enamel-like face, especially noticeable when the whitewash was freshly removed, seems to render it certain that a varnish or encaustic was originally employed to give a glaze to the finished paintings. The colour below this glaze is very thick and tough, several coats being applied one over another in many places, and over all in some cases (such as for heightening the effects of faces and dresses and for the scallop-edged borders to the subjects), a thick white body-colour is laid on, the whole effect being much more like that of oil­painting than of tempera. Indeed, it is quite possible that we have in reality a combination of the two methods -tempera for the groundwork and masses, and oil for the details and finishing touches-oil, or oil varnish, or some encaustic process, being finally employed as a surface glaze. And in this connection it is noteworthy that the writer of an account of the discovery of the Westmeston paintings (of the same date and character as these at Hardham) says: " The colours used are distempers and in one or two places there were traces of varnish.16

At Hardham the colours employed are, with the possible exception of one (a green), earth, or mineral, colours. They consist in the main of a deep Indian red, which in some cases has a purplish cast; pink in various shades; a rich yellow-ochre; brown-umber, chiefly in outlines of features and nimbuses; cream and white, the latter in heightening outlines, features and hands, for folds and details of costumes, lettering of inscriptions over the subjects and for borders and divisions of the paintings.

Besides these a brilliant emerald green (probably a metallic colour) is used for some of the nimbuses with fine effect and for touches to the dresses; Cobalt blue appears in one painting side by side with a hot tomato­red, but neither colour, so far as I can trace, is used elsewhere.

Let us now examine the paintings in detail, beginning with the WEST WALL OF THE NAVE. This is the worst preserved of all; only the upper tier remains, and this has been half destroyed by the later inserted window. The subject appears to be " THE TORMENTS OF HELL." Gigantic figures of demons in contorted attitudes are hacking the limbs of lost souls, the gashes and blood being realistically depicted. The demons are very grotesque and bear some resemblance to those in the famous twelfth century painting of the Ladder of Salva­tion and the Torments of the Damned in Chaldon Church, Surrey-also on the west wall.17 The figures are coloured flesh-tint with a dark red background.

The subjects painted in the upper tier on the north, south and east walls of the nave illustrate the Nativity and Infancy of our Lord, those in the lower, of which but little remains, being of an allegorical and legendary character. Taking them in their proper sequence, we commence with the EAST WALL OF THE NAVE (Plate II.).

Here, beginning on the southern side, to the right of the chancel arch, we have on the upper tier- "THE ANNUNCIATION," by far the most perfect of any of the subjects. On the left is the Archangel Gabriel, the fore­finger of his right hand emphasising the message he is delivering to the Blessed Virgin. His arms are crossed over his body to enable him to do this, and in his left hand is a lily-sceptre.18 The Virgin-over whom the Holy Dove is hovering-spreads out her hands in the Eastern attitude of prayer. She wears a curious three-­lobed crown, or tiara, of Byzantine character, from which depends a veil.19 The nimbus of both figures is of a peculiar irregular oval shape and a brilliant emerald green in colour, outlined in white and brown-in these particulars closely resembling nimbuses on some of the figures discovered at Westmeston and Plumpton. Their dresses consist of a long tunic of a deep red colour, that of the Virgin close fitting, while the angel's is fuller from the waist and shorter, displaying an under-tunic of white.

The tunic of the Virgin is edged with a broad band of white above the feet, which have pointed white shoes, those of the angel being bare. Over the Virgin's shoulders falls a mantle of the same chocolate-red as the tunic, but lined with white, which shows up the figure in strong relief. The angel has a white under-tunic, or alb, bordered with a band of pink, which is crossed with red lines in a very peculiar fashion and edged with a white scalloped borer. The sleeves of both figures are short and bell-mouthed, and those of the Virgin have a white lining, while the messenger's are lined with emerald green. The drapery folds and outlines are in a pinkish brown body-colour and are very stiffly and conventionally treated. The dresses are powdered with groups of three white pellets-a form of ornament which occurred at Plumpton and Westmeston, where also the drapery folds were similarly treated. Among other peculiarities (which will be better understood by referring to the coloured plate No. III.) are the wavy feathering of the Angel's wings, the style of the hair-parted in the middle20-the curious wooden expression of the faces and oblique setting of the eyes. The iris in these 'is light brown, with a dark pupil shaped like that of a cat's eye. The Dove is delicately painted in a cream-white colour, with pale brown outlines and pink beak. The little eye is minutely drawn, as are the crimson markings round the throat and black dappling on the wings.

Plate III
Click for larger image

Both figures stand upon a golden pavement, represented by a diaper pattern in red upon a rich yellow ground, and the same yellow with a different pattern (a diamond scale work, having a red line and white dot trough the centre of each scale) forms the wall behind the upper part of their bodies. Beneath is a dado of red edged with a white scalloped border, and upon this the artist has smeared with a wet brush some small crosses and fleurs-de-lys.21 On the left of the Announcing Angel is a trellis border formed with red lines on a pink ground, in the centre of each diamond being a white star. Perhaps we may take this to symbolise the Courts of Heaven.

To the left of this is a Censing Angel belonging to the subject occupying the space over the chancel arch, the description of which is best taken at a later point in this paper.

On the right of the Annunciation is "THE SALUTATION," the subjects being separated by a remarkable -tower, perhaps intended for the Virgin's house. The lower part of this is painted in a trellis pattern of red lines, re-crossed with pink, on a cream ground, the edges bordered with scalloped lines of white.22 These borders, which are about an inch wide, are used throughout the paintings to mark off the various subjects and to empha­sise important parts. In the case of this tower they run up on either side from bottom to top, giving at a distance the effect of pinnacles to the angles of the roof. The latter is conical and shaded in alternating lines of red, white and pink to represent pantiles ; below is a moulded cornice surmounting an arcade of three tiny horse-shoe arches, resting on slender white shafts on a red ground, the effect of these together being at a distance that of trefoil arches and consequently conveying a false impres­sion as to the age of the painting. A reference to the coloured plate No. III. will show the true earliness of this little bit of architecture.23 To the right of this tower are the figures of Mary and Elizabeth. The faces, unfortunately destroyed by an old settlement in the wall, are represented by parts of the nimbuses, which are here yellow instead of green. The Virgin's dress is dark red as before, while that of Elizabeth is yellow, and both are powdered with the same white dotted pattern.24 The figures appear to be embracing. They are bordered on the right by a pink wall (? Elizabeth s house), lined out with diminutive "stoning;" and this, with some vertical bands of white, yellow and red, - completes the subject.

Running along the red border above these scenes is a most interesting inscription in white Roman letters, the forms and curious contractions of which can be gathered best from the accompanying plate. It is what is known as a Leonine hexameter, and reads, without the contrac­tions, as follows :­

VIRGO SALVTATVR STERILIS FECVNDA PRObATVR 25 - the C in " fecunda" being square, a mark of early date. This form of the letter is rarely found after the eleventh century. The minuscule b in the last word and the tall serpentine S in others are peculiar. These Leonine verses were a distinguishing feature of the destroyed Westmeston paintings,26 where they were painted in an exactly similar manner, i.e., in Roman lettering, white on a dark ground, with the same style of contractions; the square C also occurred. Roman lettering in white on a red ground-though not in Leonine hexameters so far as the published account goes-was found in the paintings so unfortunately destroyed at Plumpton ; one word was very distinct in the Last Judgment over the chancel arch-MIhAEL (Michael) ; and the white scalloped border and other peculiarities afforded the strongest evidence of identity in date with the Westmeston series and with Hardham.27 At Westmeston there was a slight difference in the treatment of these Leonine hexameters, for instead of a plain red ground for the white letters it was parti-coloured, a red strip and a yellow, the letters falling equally on both. The same idea is found, though modified, at Hardham, where, as the plates show, the red text-strip has a yellow border.

Doubtless the Hardham artist's intention was to inscribe a Leonine verse over each subject, but it is uncertain now whether the intention was fully carried out. Remains of two or three other inscriptions can be traced, but some of the red strips seem to have been left quite plain. At Westmeston every picture had its hexameter.

Coming now to the south wall of the nave, the series is continued in the upper tier, going westward, with "THE NATIVITY, AND VISIT OF THE SHEPHERDS"-far less perfect than the foregoing. The Blessed Virgin reposes upon a couch with a red coverlet spotted with white pellets, her head resting on a richly diapered pillow; at her feet Joseph is seated in an attitude of contemplation, partly covered by the folds of a curtain which is draped above and around the bed.28 Beyond, with a domed roof, diagonally-striped piers and other peculiar archi­tectural details is seen part of the Stable of the Inn, with the ox and the ass gazing at the Child, swaddled and lying in the manger. The entrance to the stable is being shown by a diminutive genuflecting figure who is apparently acting as guide to three shepherds-if not one of themselves. All these figures are very indistinct, but both the guide (? an angel) and the shepherds (who are very much larger in proportion) are dressed in short, spreading tunics, not reaching to the knee, with tight­ fitting hose and long, pointed red shoes. The fifteenth century window has destroyed part of the subject, which is succeeded by one of the little early windows, set in a framework of painted turrets and walling similar to those which appear in the Annunciation and Salutation.

"THE APPEARANCE OF THE STAR" seems to have been the next subject, but it is almost entirely obliterated. Remains of figures gazing upwards are apparent, followed by a trellised tower, which separates this scene from that of

" THE MAGI ON THEIR JOURNEY" - three figures on foot, in tunics, travelling cloaks and long hose, with pointed shoes. They have apparently saucer-shaped, broad­-brimmed hats, with a button on the crown, and carry staves or spears. Before them is another wonderful bit of tower architecture, intended for Jerusalem, or Herod's palace, in which trellis pattern29 alternates with coursed masonry, a horseshoe-arched arcade and a sort of herring­bone stoning.

The next and last subject on this south wall of the nave is again very indistinct. It is probably meant for " HEROD CONFERRING WITH THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES." A tower adjoining that last described borders the picture, in which a seated figure on a dais can be made out, together with an attendant behind, and two figures before him. These have staves ;`e crooks). in their hands and mitre-like head-dresses, one in front having a white tunic striped horizontally with red, white hose and red shoes, while the other's costume is mostly red. Another piece of masonry work-Herod's palace -completes the scene.

Passing to the upper tier of paintings on the north wall, we find, beginning at the W. end (Plate IV.):­ "MAGI PRESENTING THEIR GIFTS." The architectural setting is fairly distinct and very curious. Two circular arches, flanked by turrets, with a third turret between them, are supported by columns having capitals painted to represent carving: the Romanesque character of these details is very marked. Two of the Wise Kings stand under one of the arches (which is much wider than the other), while the third kneels, presenting his gift, before the Young Child and His Mother, who are placed under the narrower arch. The Magi have crowns of an early e-a simple band of metal-short tunics and outer Zaks, and long close-fitting hose, red in one case and white in the other. One holds a crescent-shaped object, intended for a casket, or a "ship" of frankincense. The Blessed Virgin is seated upon a low, cushioned stool and holds the Child upon her knee, the latter being depicted as about "two years old," in correct accord with the sacred narrative. Before the feet of the Mother and Child is a footstool. The Virgin has a sort of hood, or veil, and a crown, of similar character to those in the Annunciation; both figures are nimbed.

The picture next in order is two-fold; in the upper compartment under two circular arches is " JOSEPH, WARNED IN A DREAM." Joseph, a bearded old man, is lying asleep, an angel bending over him With outstretched forefinger. In the lower story are represented" THE MAGI, WARNED IN A DREAM," in which the three Kings are under one coverlet, their heads, With scull caps, resting on large pillows, While an angel bending over them is also emphasising his message With down-pointed finger.30 There is a curious pattern upon the arches in this com­partment, and the capitals are painted to represent carved foliage, While beyond to the right is a pink Wall lined out with miniature masonry.

" THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT." Mother and Child are seated upon the ass, led by Joseph, Who carries, I think, a lantern, but the details in this scene are very obscure. This subject, somewhat similarly treated, was among the destroyed paintings at Plumpton, only in another position -on the east face of the east wall of the nave-but there Joseph Was following behind, carrying a flaming torch . and a thick staff in either hand, While the Virgin guided the ass with the reins.

There is a very singular adjunct to this scene in the Hardham "Flight," of Which there is no record in con­nection With the Plumpton painting (although it ma Well have been there, but its meaning not understood, nor does it occur in any other mural painting in England, so far as I am aware,-viz., the idols of Egypt falling from their niches at the approach of the Saviour of the World. There are four niches, two upper and two lower; two nude idols are still erect in the former, While in the latter one is seen falling headlong and the other tumbling on to its knees, as though in involuntary worship.31

The single narrow-splayed early Window in this Wall follows this picture; covering its head and jambs is a trellis pattern in pink and white bands on a deep red ground.

" THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS." Herod's soldiers, in short full-skirted tunics and long hose (pink, With red shoes), are realistically represented slaughtering the children, Whose mothers are frantically striving to protect them. The Innocents are mostly naked. One of the mothers is being seized by the hair in her efforts to save her child.

The next subject, Which may have been either " THE CIRCUMCISION" or "PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD IN THE TEMPLE," has been destroyed by the large thirteenth century lancet, Which brings us to the EAST WALL OF THE NAVE, Where We have on its northern half " " THE FINDING IN THE TEMPLE." A range of pendant circular arches32 forms a canopy, under which are the figures of Joseph and Mary on the left, and the doctors With the

Over the chancel arch was a circular medallion, which perhaps contained the Holy Lamb, but it is no longer visible. I have indicated this upon Plate II., but it is quite possible that "THE VENERATION OF THE CROSS," and not the Adoration of the Lamb, was here represented. At Plumpton the Lamb was painted on the soffit of the chancel arch, and the same sacred emblem, similarly placed to that at Hardham, was to be seen at West­meston,33 but in that case the Lamb was placed within a curious irregular quatrefoil, bordered with a chevron ornament.34 In the latter painting angels were repre­sented as holding up to the adoration of the faithful the Holy Symbol, while averting their eyes from its splendour: but at Hardham the angels show their reverence by the crouching posture in which they kneel. The angel on the southern side is the more perfect, although both (and the medallion) have been cruelly injured by the unfortunate removal of the plaster from the stonework of the chancel arch. The nimbus is emerald green, the angel's hair being yellow, and there is something very strange and brilliant about the colours of the dress. It consists of a close-fitting tunic, with a full skirt reaching to the knee and having wide sleeves, one of which is pink, the other white with a pink border, and an under tunic of deep red. There is a curious edging of pink, red and white, like bits of cloth sewn on the hem of the upper tunic, which is apparent, though not so plainly, in some of the other costumes, and was a common feature in the Westmeston paintings.35 The upper tunic, on a close inspection, still shows a delicate " combing" in spiral pale brown lines on the wet colour-intended by the artist to indicate the soft folds of a silken vesture. The angel's wings, with wavy red feathers on a cream ground, compare closely with the same treatment at Westmeston and Plumpton. I have never met with anything quite like it in wall-paintings elsewhere: there is a " sea­weedy" effect about it which is very curious. In his hands is a gold censer and behind is a diaper background with a red dado ; below a rich yellow pavement-all as in the adjoining scene of the Annunciation.

Most probably among the decorations destroyed by the removal of the plaster from the soffit of the arch were " THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC," and, on the arch­piers, " THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE MONTHS."36

The former of these occurred in a like position at West­meston : and they also still remain on the chancel arch at Copford, Essex, while at Kempley, Gloucestershire, Mr. Micklethwaite found traces of them, similarly placed.37 At Hardham slight remains of the medallions on which were painted the Occupations of the Months are still visible on the western face of the southern jamb of the chancel arch. One of these appears to represent a man thrashing wheat.

Coming now to the subjects in the LOWER TIER OF THE NAVE, there are, right and left of the chancel arch, events from the Life of our Lord. That on the left we can only guess at, owing to its imperfect condition; it was probably " THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST; " but the picture on the southern side is much more perfect and represents " THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD." In this the Saviour is buried up to the armpits in the waters of Jordan, which are "standing upright as an heap "-a common treatment in connection with this subject, derived from an ancient legend.38 John is shown baptising our Lord, who has the cruciform nimbus, and the Dove is descending upon Him. Plate II. shows the general arrangement of this subject, but as the details are some­what obscure in the original, I cannot pledge myself as to their accuracy in the drawing.

A series of " Moralities," founded upon the parable of Dives and Lazarus, seems to have occupied the lower tier of the SOUTH WALL OF THE NAVE. A rich piece of domed roofing, with scale-pattern tiles, over a circular arch, formed part of the canopy to the first scene, which no doubt was that of "THE RICH MAN FEASTING," the while Lazarus is "laid at his gate, full of sores." We may be sure that the artist did not omit the incident of the dogs performing their merciful office.39 But the insertion at the eastern end of this wall of a large fifteenth century window has robbed us of the whole of this picture except part of the setting.

The next scene, which, fortunately, is fairly perfect, represents " LAZARUS CARRIED BY THE ANGELS INTO ABRAHAM'S Bosom." The soul of the Beggar is painted as a small nude sexless figure-borne in a napkin by

four large angels, two above and two below.40 The outstretched wings of the upper pair pass beyond the limits of the picture, through a border of boldl drawn conventional clouds. On the left is a dome tower, perhaps belonging to the preceding subject, the upper part of which is shown in a curious sort of perspective, while a lower stage has a pediment and horse-shoe arcading, similar to that in "The Annunciation." A pair of smaller arcaded turrets, with high-pitched tiled roofs, flank the picture on the right side; these may perhaps represent Paradise. In the red border above are the very faint remains of the inscription in white lettering, PAVPER ObIiT.

" LAZARUS COMFORTED " was probably the scene between this and the now blocked south doorway, which latter, being an original feature, would most naturally form that "great gulf fixed," of which the parable speaks, having upon its further side " DIVES IN HELL; " and this would be in appropriate conjunction with the demonology of the west wall; but the plaster of all this portion has been so injured by one cause or another that nothing but traces of one or two figures, diaper work and arched canopies remain. Nor is there any inscription left above the subject to give us a more certain clue.

The paintings in the lower tier of the NORTH WALL OF THE NAVE have also been sadly injured by the widely splayed lancet window inserted at its eastern end and the modern doorway. As it is, however, we may congratulate ourselves in possessing in these mutilated fragments the earliest existing representation in this country of the legendary history of St. George of Cappadocia, our national patron saint.41

Among this series the combat with the dragon does not appear to have been painted, unless, possibly, it occupied the space now taken up by the Early English window at the eastern end, or the lower tier of the west wall. This Dragon myth seems to have been by far the most popular of any of the incidents in the legend of the saint as a subject for carving or painting. The similar conjunction of St. Michael with the Dragon of Scripture, and of Our Lord as the Vanquisher of Satan, " that old serpent," or as the Deliverer " harrowing Hell" -usually represented as a dragon or sea monster with wide-open jaws-has led to some very natural confusion as to a number of the representations of St. George and the Dragon. A large proportion of these Dragon-conflicts -such as those in bas-relief over some of our Norman doorways-may nevertheless be unhesitatingly ascribed to St. George.42

" ST. GEORGE AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIOCH " is the first of this lower tier series on the north nave wall (Plate IV.). The saint is shown as nimbed and of a youthful aspect, clad in a pink tunic, with a dalmatic-shaped upper vest of similar colour, having broad-mouthed sleeves and open at the neck. He has a skull cap, perhaps meant for a metal head-covering, and is mounted upon a large white horse43 with a curiously small head, which he is reining in with his left hand, while with the right he has impaled a paynim knight by means of a long lance. There are traces of a group of armed figures at which the saint is riding, in attitudes indicative of fear and discomfiture, but unfortunately this part of the painting is very obscure. The lance bears at the reverse end a white four-tailed pennon, similar to those in the Bayeux Tapestry and in early twelfth century seals. With these early authorities also the high-cruppered saddle and kite-shaped shields­one with a red umbo and border on a white ground-may be compared. Shields of this particular shape do not seem to have been retained in use much beyond the first quarter of the twelfth century.

Plate IV

Both in composition and details this painting is strik­ingly similar to the remarkable bas-relief of the same subject on the head of an early twelfth century doorway at Fordington Church, Dorset.44 The pennon in this has but three tails, and it is ornamented with a small Latin cross upon the field, which is not, now at any rate, visible at Hardham ; also at Fordington the horse's harness is decorated with small pendant crosses. The saint in both representations is thrusting down a heathen warrior with the butt end of his lance, while the figures of other dead and doubled-up paynims attest his supernatural prowess. Kneeling in his rear at Fordington are two of the Christian knights in whose behalf he is intervening, with hands uplifted in reverential wonderment-their kite­shaped shields and spears, now unneeded, being stacked behind them; but this part of the subject does not appear at Hardham.45

A piece of diaper, at first sight curiously like a common fifteenth century pattern, borders the painting on the left:46 on the right a masonry tower-perhaps meant for the walls of Antioch-divides this subject from the next -" ST. GEORGE BEFORE DATIAN."

This (Plate IV.) has been so mutilated by the modern doorway that it is possible only to guess at its meaning. It is probable that we have here an incident in the martyrdom of St. George-his being seized and carried before Datian, the pro-consul, for tearing down the Emperor Diocletian's proclamation against the Christians. The nimbed figure, throwing up his hands, is being held by two guards who are grasping his wrists.

The only other subject in this lower tier that now remains represents another incident in the saint's martyrdom-" 'ST. GEORGE ON THE WHEEL." Towards the eastern end of the north wall are the faint traces of a wheel with a nimbed figure bound upon it. The legend relates how that, after enduring other cruel tortures for eight days, and having drunk unharmed of a poisoned cup, the saint was, at the decree of Datian, " bound upon a wheel full of sharp blades; but the wheel was broken by two angels who descended from heaven."47

My interpretation of the subjects of this lower tier of paintings is strengthened by the fact that in a will of 1537 a bequest is made to " Saynt George's light at Hardham."48 And, further, there was in the strikingly similar Westmeston paintings a martyrdom, also on the north wall of the nave (on which wall St. George, like St. Christopher, seems to have been usually painted), which almost certainly was that of St. George. In the account of these paintings, in Vol. XVI. of our Society's "Collections," thare ascribed to the history of another early martyr, St. Vincent, but as I think without sufficient evidence-without any evidence at all, indeed, except that the words DATIANO REGI were found in white letters on a band above the central subject, and - DATIANVS - appeared on the ground of the painting, to indicate a crowned figure with a sword uplifted in his hand. This figure was shown seated, in the act of pronouncing sentence, his right hand being raised to emphasise his words.49 Behind, and staying with upraised hands the blade of the sword, was another figure, evidently intended for the magician who, according to the legend, had prepared the poisoned cup for St. George to drink, while in front was the wall of a round tower. Also, above this scene was another which is said to have conveyed "the idea of a battle or struggle," as heads were depicted rolling upon the earth.

This might well have been the battle scene at Antioch.

The same pro­consul Datian figures in the legend of St. Vincent as well as in that of St. George-both martyrs having suffered in the Diocletian persecutions-but without distinct evidence to the contrary, we may reasonably conclude that it was the more popular St. George whose history adorned the wall at Westmeston ; and this con­clusion lends weight to the probability that the identically situated paintings at Hardham were also in honour of St. George.50

Now the date of the siege of Antioch, at which St. George is supposed to have miraculously intervened in aid of Godfrey de Bouillon and the Christians (1098), makes it certain that the representation of the incident at Hardham cannot be older than the close of the eleventh century, while in all probability a little time would elapse to allow of the miracle becoming sufficiently notorious to be painted on a church wall.

On the other hand, both in general character and in their details, these Hardham paintings are so archaic and peculiar, so much earlier in character than other well­established examples of twelfth century date, that we might, apart from the introduction of the miracle at Antioch, have referred the paintings to a date just within the preceding century. But as this is not allowable, we may justifiably conclude that they belong to the earl years of the twelfth century; and this conclusion is borne out by the details of the chancel paintings now to be considered.


The walls of the chancel, though lower than those of the nave, are similarly decorated in two tiers of paintings, the scheme of which is founded upon the twin ideas of The Fall " and " The Regeneration."

On the southern half of the CHANCEL WEST WALL, back to back With "The Annunciation" on the nave side of the arch, is the well-preserved picture of "THE FALL" (Plate V.), treated in imitation of a piece of tapestry or a painted cloth, such as were commonly imported (or home-made), and hung upon the walls of houses and churches throughout the middle ages. This little piece of innocent trickery is very naively effected, the cloth being painted with loops in the middle and at the top corners, as if hanging to a rod, which in its turn is secured by hooks to the wall. The details and colouring of this painting are very perfectly preserved and deserving of some attention. The nude figures of Adam and Eve -their legs very much too long in proportion to their bodies-are painted in a warm flesh tint, with high lights of white and streaks of pink to indicate the muscles, &c., the outlines and features being drawn in dark red. Adam's hair is of a reddish hue and curly, Eve's yellow, and they have carefully painted eyes and eyebrows. The drawing of the figures, although archaic and conventional, is free and vigorous compared with most contemporary native productions in carving or illuminations. Indeed, the whole treatment betrays foreign influence; and the artist, or guild of painters, was possessed of no mean skill for the time when these paintings were executed.

Our first parents stand against a pale blue background which shades off into white, and Eve is shown in the act of receiving the forbidden fruit, which the serpent appears to have plucked and is dropping out of his jaws into her outstretched left hand. With the long and curling forefinger of her right she is pointing over her shoulder at him. Adam seems to be indicating with his right hand a piece of the fruit in his left; and there is an appropriately conspirator-like air about the pair.

The background of the serpent is a strong tomato-red (the only instance of this particular colour in the church and upon this is painted the Tree of Knowledge, in the branches of which the serpent is poised. The upper part of his body is more like that of a dragon, being furnished with paws and large wings; and while this rests in the fork of the tree, his serpentine hinder part is coiled in knots round the stem. The head presents a mixture of dog and serpent, with a peculiarly evil look about the pink eye. The body and wings are of a brownish yellow, relieved with pink and white shading and darker brown touches, giving the whole an iridescent appearance. The creases on the worm-like skin are rendered by cross lines of white and pink.

Plate V 
Click for larger image

From the branches of the tree depend waving tendrils, on which are emerald green fruits, similar to the one that Eve holds in her hand; while along the right hand border of the picture are more branches with curious white flowers growing on them. The very unusual character of these flowers led me to search for anything similar in early art, and I was fortunate in lighting upon something almost identical in the recently published book of MM. Gelis-Didot and Laffillee.51 In this scholarly and splendidly illustrated work the first of the coloured plates is taken up with the unique series of eleventh and twelfth century paintings covering the entire church of St. Savin, Vienne, S.W. France.52 Here, in one of the more ancient parts (in the west porch, are rows of angels falling down in adoration of a central Majesty; and under their feet are springing up delicate little flowers on wavy stalks, precisely similar in shape and treatment to those in this painting at Hardham. They also appear in one of the paintings of the same date in the nave, where, in the rendering of a vision from the Apocalypse, other details may be found-such as a winged dragon-serpent-displaying a great similarity to the Hardham paintings. Inscriptions in white lettering on dark bands are placed, as at Hardham and Westmeston, over the different pictures. Most of them are no longer legible, but the letters are of the same Roman type.

It is remarkable that in these paintings at St. Savin the standard of art in composition, figure drawing and ornament is quite classical in its excellence, and is superior, if anything, to similar work of the succeeding twelfth century in the same church and elsewhere in France.53 The standard thus setup may have produced a school whose traditions, models, and even guilds of workmen would before long penetrate even to remote Sussex. The paintings at Hardham, it is true, look rude and humble by comparison, but one can detect a master tradition in them, and here and there a master's touch, which proclaim a noble parentage.

But to return. Beneath the painting of " The Fall" are the remains of a subject in the lower tier which may be called ADAM AND EVE AFTER THE FALL." It is evidently founded upon the text, The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked." On the left is a strip of pink with a large diaper pattern, and between this and the pier of the chancel arch, against a yellow back-ground with a smaller diaper, are painted the guilty pair, throwing up their hands to express shame and confusion of face. The greater part of Eve's figure is destroyed, but Adam is in better preservation. The figures are on a much smaller scale than those above.

The northern half of this WEST WALL OF THE CHANCEL was also occupied with subjects relating to " The Fall." In the upper tier is one that I found somewhat hard to decipher. A special visit to the church after the greater part of this paper was in print has given me the right clue. The subject is " ADAM AND EVE AFTER THE EXPULSION," and the figures again are comparatively diminutive. Adam appears, against the same diapered background, wrestling with the gnarled and thorny branch of a tree in illustration of the words, " Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee ; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field: " while Eve is in the act of milking a very antediluvian-looking cow,54 in allusion to the remainder of the Divine sentence, " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground." It was found inadvisable to remove much of the whitewash that still covers this and others of the paintings, owing to the tenacity with which it adheres to the glazed face of the old colour; and this necessarily increases the difficulty of deciphering some of the subjects. In this way the painting below the foregoing is still hidden; probably it belonged to the series of "The Fall." Adam with the spade and Eve with the distaff was a favourite subject in this connection with the early painters. The couplet in John Ball's famous harangue to the labourers,­

" When Adam delved and Eve span, 
Who was then the gentleman? "­

was doubtless composed with some such popular picture before his eyes. It occurs frequently in ancient illuminations, as in Nero C. IV., an English MS. in the British Museum.

But little of the detail of the remaining pictures in the chancel can be made out for the same reason. Great havoc also has been wrought by the inserted windows, and time, the weather, and injudicious scraping at the first discovery of the paintings have aided in obliterating much of the work.. " THE WORSHIP IN HEAVEN." Rows of saints under canopies can be distinguished-perhaps twelve of the Prophets of the Old Dispensation on the western half of the north wall (upper tier),55 and the Apostles of the New Testament in the corresponding position on the south wall. Some of these latter have had green, others yellow, nimbuses of the oval shape found in " The Annunciation," and verses, now quite illegible, have accompanied the pictures.

Eastward of these in the upper tier on both sides and continued along the EAST WALL OF THE CHANCEL are painted the Twenty-four Elders, and, flanking the original narrow window Of this wall (destroyed b the present larger one inserted in the thirteenth century), were the Four Living Creatures, of which parts of two only remain.56

Fortunately the Elders are more perfect (Plate VI.). They are shown as on thrones against a dark red back­ground and with a pink pavement below. They are mostly " clothed in white raiment," with red shoes, but some for relief have a red mantle, and all have on their heads crowns of gold (Rev. iv., 4)-of the curious square type found in some early paintings and illuminations. This detail I take to be one of the evidences of the exceptionally early date of these Hardham paintings. At first sight it might be taken for a low mitre, but a closer inspection shows it to be similar in form to the square paper cap sometimes worn by mechanics to-day.57 The Elders are represented as " falling down before the throne," all in the same stiff attitude, and each holds in his right hand a vial,58 and in his left a three-stringed Bittern, or guitar, instead of the "harp" familiar to us in the Authorised Version.59 Their faces are of the same curiously rigid type as those in " The Annunciation" and other subjects, but not so carefully painted. Beneath the figures is a series of bands of white, yellow and red, on the last of which are the remains of a verse in white letters, not now decipherable, but which may have been one of the choruses in the Apocalypse.

The subjects represented in the lower tier of the chancel walls are, as might be expected, very fragmentary. They appear, however, to have consisted of scenes in connec­tion with the Death and Resurrection of our Lord.

Beginning with the NORTH WALL, we have, at its western end, "THE LAST SUPPER." Our Lord can be distinguished by the cruciform nimbus; St. John leans upon His bosom, while St. Peter, with tonsured crown and stubby beard,60 is seated on His right. These and the other apostles have yellow nimbuses. A golden chalice, of the early squat type found in eleventh and twelfth century representations,61 and a large wafer marked with a cross appear on the table, and beyond these eastward are some pointed oval-shaped objects that may represent dishes or fish. The cloth is white on the top, but pink in front, and looped up in folds, such as we see in early altar-cloths before frontals were invented62 In fact, the white cover may represent the " fair white linen cloth," and the draped front the coloured cloth of stuff in use with contemporary altars. My friend Mr. Andre has called attention to the similar draped front of the table in the bas-relief of the Last Supper upon the early twelfth century font at St. Nicholas', Brighton,63 and he compares it with the representation of the table in the same subject that used to be seen in Horsham Church, where the cloth was looped up with roses.

There is another subject-perhaps " THE BETRAYAL" --between this and the east wall, but too indistinct to make out the details.

In the lower tier of the eastern part of the SOUTH WALL are the remains of an angel beckoning to three women. Probably this is the first of two paintings on this wall representing "THE ENTOMBMENT" and "THE RESURRECTION."64 The angel is nimbed and appears to be seated upon the open tomb with outspread wings. The women are doubtless the three Marys bringing spices to the sepulchre.

It is singular, and perhaps significant, that we have no representation of the Crucifixion and Ascension among this series of paintings. Perhaps the one was held to be symbolized under the emblem of the Holy Cross (or the Agnus, if it were there) over the chancel arch; while the other was inferred by the great central subject on the east wall-the Adoration of God and the Lamb.

I have gone at some length into the description of these paintings, as I believe them, imperfect as they now are, to be of quite exceptional interest on account of their subjects, extent and extremely early date. One rarely finds a church, however small, entirely covered with paintings all of one scheme and period; and when that period is the earliest of which we have any examples remaining-that embracing the second half of the eleventh to the first quarter of the twelfth century-one may be excused for going somewhat minutely into detail in describing them.

" The Saxon overlap" is a phrase used by some antiquaries to describe the period to which these paint­ings belong, and it seems a very good term to express an era of conflicting traditions in art, such as that which ushered in the Conquest and subjugation of England; but it must not be understood that the dominating inspiration traceable in these paintings was a native one. The number of distinct marks of early date which I have been at some pains in emphasising, taken in con­junction with the general aspect of the paintings, will, I think, warrant my claiming for them a date within a few years after 1100; indeed, they might with equal propriety have been placed within the latter years of the previous century, but for the almost certainty that "The Appearance of St. George at Antioch" is among the subjects represented. This fact limits the date to a period after 1098, but, as I have endeavoured to show, very soon after; and it seems to me, incidentally, to demonstrate the contemporary acceptance and wide­spread belief of the story of the saint's miraculous interposition.

The curious similarity of the paintings at Hardham, Westmeston and Plumpton to eleventh and early twelfth century work in Western France appears to point to their being the work of a travelling guild who had inherited the traditions of the school of painters of Poitou and blended them with English ideas. The peculiarities that we notice at Hardham are certainly not the result of pure Saxon influence, for in the treatment of the faces and draperies there is little trace of the mannerisms familiar to us in Anglo-Saxon illuminated MSS. But at the same time this group of paintings bears equally slight resemblance to the few remaining typical Anglo­Norman paintings scattered about England.65

Until the settlement of England after the Conquest, and while as yet the dominant Norman ecclesiastics had found little opportunity to train up in their own art­traditions schools of craftsmen and painters, it seems certain that the need for skilled artists was supplied from abroad, as we know was often the case during the previous centuries of Saxon rule.

It is not therefore a matter for surprise that we should detect a strong foreign influence in this group of paintings -an inherited classical tradition, filtered in succession through Byzantine, Lombardic and Frankish channels, and finally, but imperfectly, blended with native Saxon and Norman Romanesque. They would in this be but a reflection of the men who caused them to be made-the "Northmen," intruders on the lands of France, settlers in far-off Sicily and now invaders of the Saxon shore­men of roving temperament and without fixed traditions. The very colours are un-English in their arrangement.66 In the weirdly tall and angular figures-reminding us of the mosaics of Ravenna-Byzantine feeling is very apparent; much of the architectural detail is quite Italian in spirit; while French influence, grafted upon these strains, is dominant and specially noticeable in some of the points above dwelt on.

Thus, whether the artists who executed these paintings were foreigners or English, it seems certain that they received their training abroad; and it is also evident that they were touched with the crusading spirit­perhaps some may even have newly returned from the First Crusade, their minds stored with the strange tales and wonders of the East and the glories of foreign lauds.

The great Cluniac Priory of St. Pancras, Lewes, founded by William de Warrenne and his wife Gundrada about 1077, must alone have been the cause of importing a host of foreign artificers.67 Its great stone church (replacing the more ancient Saxon one of wooden con­struction) was consecrated in the first instance somewhere between 1091 and 1097; but work was busily and continuously going on during the next century. After the death of William de Warrenne in 1088 his sons continued to act as benefactors to the priory; they proceeded with the building of the church and its offices; and much of the elaborate colour decoration of which abundant traces have come to light during the recent excavations carried out by our Society) was of twelfth century date.

Westmeston and Plumpton (and Clayton) were among the lands of William de Warrenne and the church of Westmeston would seem to have been an early endow­ment of Lewes Priory. Meanwhile Hardham was in the possession of other Norman lords-Roger de Montgomery, a great benefactor to the Church, and the family of De Alta Ripa-and at some date which we do not now know the Prior and Convent of Lewes became patrons of the living.68

We have, it seems to me, in these facts suggestive hints as to when and by whom the Westmeston and Plumpton paintings were executed, and thus confirmatory evidence as to the date and artistic genesis of the paintings in Hardham Church.

In conclusion, the grateful task remains of expressing my indebtedness to many kind friends; to the Rector of Hardham, the Rev. Cecil Brereton, for much cordial assistance rendered to me while engaged in the task of preserving the paintings; to our Hon. Secretary and joint Editor, Mr. H. Michell Whitley; and to Mr. J. C. Stenning, Hon. Photographer to this Society, whose excellent photographs, specially. taken, have proved very useful in the elucidation of some of the obscure details of the paintings.

NOTE.-One of the bells at Hardham, without mark or inscription, is probably mediaeval; the other is inscribed "Gloria Deo in excelsis. T. B. T. P 1636. B. E." C"
(“S. A. C.," Vol. XVI., p. 211).

The following (by permission, from the Rev. Geo. Hennessy's admirable compilation, " Chichester Diocese Clergy Lists ") is a list of the incumbents, as far as known 

1430. John Cornewalle.   1742. Edward Prattenton.
1622. Edmund Welham.   1766. Robert Watson.
1640. John Rayment, A.M.  1846. Jas. Munro Sandham, M.A.
1715. Robert Jones.   1898. Cecil Brereton.

1 Coates, Selham, Chithurst, Burton, Taugmere, Eastergate and Ford are instances of eleventh century plans in the locality. Other churches have originally been built on the same simple plan and of the same small dimensions, but have been so enlarged at various dates as to have lost nearly every trace of the humble original. Others, again, like Tortington and Binsted, though retaining the simple plan, are of well-developed Norman work-c. 1140.

2 Domesday, as so often happens, is silent as to a church at Heriedeham, held in I085 by the powerful Earl Roger de Montgomerie. " Godwine, a freeman, in the time of King Edward, held it," and perhaps he was the builder of the church. Many of our undoubtedly pre-Conquest churches are not mentioned in Domesday.

3 Lower, " Hist. of Sussex," Vol. I. The tree appears to have been cut down at some time after 1832-a shocking piece of vandalism. Besides the church and its former yew, Hardham is famous for the beautiful remains of its Priory of the Holy Cross (see " S.A.C.," Vols. XI. and XVIII.).

4 "SAC.," Vol. XLIII., pp. 116, plan, &c. There is no trace of axe-tooling to any of these original features. They have been rudely dressed with a hammer for the most part.

5 There is a very similar square-headed door (and a tiny Saxon window by it) in the N. wall of the nave at Burpham, a few miles distant, but in that case the lintel is joggled-i.e., it is in three pieces, the centre stone being so cut as to be supported by the others. For want of this the Hardham lintel is cracked.

6 The same sort of thing was done to a similar early arch at Coombes Church, near Bramber (of which I have given a sketch in " S.A.C.," Vol. XLIL, p. I21), but here small faces were carved on the plain Norman abacus instead of a moulding.

7 I take it that this form of rear-arch in connection with lancet windows is a sign of late date-in Sussex at any rate. It occurs in Clymping Church and other local examples of the latter part of the Lancet period, c. 1230-60.

8 Recluses, whether priest or layman, male or female, seem always to have been communicated in both kinds.

9 Printed in extenso, with an excellent translation and very full notes, in " S.A.C.," Vol. I., p. 164.

10 "Also to Friar Humphrey, the recluse of Pageham [Pagham], 40 shillings. 
Also to the female recluse of Hoghton [Houghton], half a mare (6s. 8d.). 
Also to the female recluse of Stopeham [Stophamhalf a mare.
Also to the recluse of Heringham [Hardham], half` a mare.
Also to the female recluse of the Blessed Mary of Westoute at Lewes 5 shillings."
It is very likely that these recluses-but a small proportion, probably, of the total number of those then to be found in Sussex-had been admitted to the order and " included" by the good Bishop, who thus showed a tender interest in their support. Houghton and Stopham are both in the near neighbourhood of Hardham, while Pagham is in the remote Selsea peninsula. The probable position of the anchorage at both Houghton and Stopham was on the N. of the chancel­the opposite side to that at Hardham ; a little digging would soon decide, sup­posing the cells to have had stone foundations.

11 As in the cases of the anker-holds, remains of which were discovered at Beugeo, Herts, and Chipping Ongar, Essex, described in the " Archaeological Journal," Vol. XLIV., p. 26, and XLV., p. 284. These were both on the N. side of the chancel, which seems generally to have been the favourite position; but at Hardham the anker saw and felt the sun.,

12 De Inclusis.-Inclusis etiam praecipimus, ne quam personam in domibus suis recipiant vel habeant, de qua sinistra suspicio oriatur. Fenestras quoque arctas habeant et honestas ; eisdem etiam cum his tantummodo personis secretum tractatum habere permittemus, quarum gravitas et homestas suspicionem non admittit. Inclusis vero mulieribus custodia vestimentorum ecclesiae non tradatur, quodsi necessitas hoc exegerit, its caute, tradi mandamus, ut non inspiciantur inclusee a tradente.-Statuta Synodalia Ricardi Cicestren. episcopi. A.D. 1246.­Wilkins' Concilia : quoted by Bloxam, "Gothic Ecclesiastical Architecture," Vol. III., p. 168.

13 I have gone at some length into this question in " S.A.C.," Vol. XLIL, pp. 174-178, in connection with the obvious family likeness between low side windows in churches and these low, shuttered openings in domus inclusorum. St. Wulfric, a priest (who died in 1154), is recorded by Roger de Wendover to have retired to a cell attached to the Church of Haselbury (now Hazelbury Plucknet, near Crewkerne, Somerset), and to have always held speech with men through a shuttered window. He was buried under the floor of his oratory, which still exists.

14 In the Sarum Manual and the Pontifical of Bishop Lacy, of Exeter, services for the inclusion of anchorites are to be found, in which the Sacrament of Extreme Unction was administered and the commendatory prayer for the recluse's soul offered, lest sudden death should rob him of the Church's last rites. The funeral service was also in part gone through and the cell solemnly sealed by the Bishop

15 " S.A.C.," Vols. XVI., p. 1, and XX., p. 198. I feel tempted to add a third series-those uncovered, and happily still remaining, at Clayton, in the same neighbourhood as the other two. But not having sufficient data at the moment, I hesitate to assume for these an earlier period than that assigned to them by so eminent an authority as Mr. C. E. Keyser, F. S.A., the latter half of the thirteenth century. With all respect, however, I venture to think that they cannot be later than the twelfth century (see " S.A.C.," Vol. XL., p. 209).

16 "S.A.C.," Vol. XVI., p.1, by the Rev. C. H. Campion, M.A. It is impossible to set a limit to the antiquity of oil as a medium in painting. Probably it is at least as old as the Christian era; but it seems to have come into general use slowly and to have been at first chiefly employed for painting small articles of furniture, &c., rather than large surfaces of buildings. Instances are on record of oil painting on walls in the thirteenth century and it seems likely that in the two preceding centuries its use was not unknown, either alone or as a finishing process in connec­tion with tempera painting. Part of a consecration cross which I discovered at Ford Church, of eleventh century date, was varnished (" S.A.C.," Vol. XLIII., p. I42). Varnish is set down among the materials used in executing paintings in the Royal Palace of Westminster, temp. Henry III. (see the Accounts, printed in " Vetusta Monumenta," Vol. VI., I842).

17 See the very interesting account, with coloured drawing, by J. G. Waller, F.S.A., "Surrey Archeological Collections," Vol. V.

18 Depicted as though carved in ivory with a jewelled boss. Doubtless, besides its symbolic appropriateness to this scene, such a form of sceptre was in common use in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Something like it appears in the hand of King Edward the Confessor in the Bayeux Tapestry. The lily-sceptre is a traditional adjunct in paintings of the Annunciation; it is the wand or staff of office of the announcing angel, but examples of its occurrence in Old English art are extremely rare, and we may safely say that this instance at Hardham is the oldest in the country. In a beautiful altar-piece, by Dells Robbia, in the South Kensington Museum, the sceptre is a lily stem with three flowers, treated naturally.

19 There is something peculiarly reminiscent of Byzantine art in these details and in the elongated figures. They suggest a comparison with the mosaics of Ravenna and Eastern Europe rather than with typical Western art. On the other hand, the cut of the dress of the Virgin is singularly like that of a female figure in a bas-relief on a capital at Westminster-a fragment of the Confessor's or William Rufus's work, now preserved in the Vestibule of the Chapter House.

20 A traditional rendering of arch-angelic coiffure.

21 No doubt with reference to the purity of the Blessed Virgin and that in which her faith was to eventuate-Redemption through the Cross.

22 These are quite one of the distinctive features of the group of paintings we are considering. This scalloped line, or " lacing," as it has been called, was a prominent characteristic of the Plumpton and Westmeston paintings. I believe it occurs also in another church, to which I shall presently refer-that of Clayton, in the neighbourhood of the other two. But I know of no other instance of its use in this manner in England. It appears, however, in at least one case abroad-in the Abbey Church of St. Savin, Dept. of Vienne, France-but in a somewhat different form.

23 These tiny horse-shoe arcades are another trade-mark of this peculiar group of paintings. They figure prominently in the Clayton series, but as a continuous balustrade.

24 The writer of the account of the paintings at Westmeston describes these little groups of white spots as buttons !

25 " The Virgin is saluted. The barren is proved fruitful."

26 Probably they occurred at Plumpton (the red bands were there), but our record of these destroyed paintings is very meagre.

27 The same writer described both the paintings at Westmeston and Plumpton in "S.A. C.," Vols. XVI. and XX. ; and while claiming a date early in the twelfth century for the former, he is strangely blind to this identity in workmanship and date between the two series, for in regard to Plumpton he opines that the paintings belong to " the reign of Richard the Second ! " One smiles at the perversity of ingenuity with which he seeks to establish this extraordinary conclusion.

28 Cf. MS. Cott. Claud., B. IV., in Brit. Mus. (date eleventh century), where the treatment of the bed is strikingly similar. Cf. also Benedictional of St. Ethelwold and Missal of Robert of Jumfes, where Joseph is seen in a similar attitude at the bed's foot.

29 Perhaps intended for stone diapering, or its prototype, opus reticulatum.

30 In the Missal of Robert of Jumieges (eleventh century)-as in other early representations of the Magi being warned in a dream-we see the three asleep, wrapped in one coverlet, with Phrygian caps on, and the Angel bending over them.

31 Sometimes this episode is found among illuminations in MSS., e.g., Kins 5, f. 5, Brit. Mus. ; or in sculpture, as in a series of bas-reliefs on the plinth of' the west front, Amiens Cathedral-a century and a half later than Hardham.

32 This feature-small circular arches as a sort of border or cornice to the pictures-occurs at Clayton. It was found at Plumpton, and probably was an accompaniment of the Westmeston paintings also. Child on the right. There are some curious details of architecture and costume which can hardly be seen from below.

33 "S.A.C.," Vol. XVI., plate opp. p. 8; also, perhaps, at Maresfield. The Agnus Dei is found painted over the chancel arch at Vic, Indre-et-Loire ; and, accompanied by censing angels, in a similar position in the ancient chapel of St. Chef, Isere, France-both works of the early part of the twelfth century. The emblem is perhaps earlier than that which it represents-the Crucifixion-as a subject for wall painting in churches; but at Westmeston the two were in close proximity. The arrangement of these angels tensing the Lamb (or the Holy Cross) is curiously reminiscent of the adoring angels carved in stone on either side of the chancel arch at Bradford-on-Avon-the ecclesiola built by St. Aldhelm early in the eighth century.

34 The quatrefoil as an ornament-though associated popularly with thirteenth century and later periods-is frequently found in illuminations of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries (e.g., the Benedictional of AEthelwold, c. 970, Ceadmon's Paraphrase, c. 1000, and the Missal of Robert of Jumieges, c. I045) ; or, what is the same thing, the half quatrefoil forming a trefoil headed opening (as in the Missal of Robert of Jumieges and the Bayeux Tapistry). A quatrefoil opening in a gable occurs in an eleventh century MS. (Cott. Claud., B. IV., Brit. Mus.), and probably in the actual buildings of the same date such an opening was not uncommon. The eleventh century consecration cross enclosed in a quatrefoil, found painted on the N. wall of Ford Church, is another instance of the early use of this ornament (" S.A.C.," Vol. XLIII., p. I42-3).

35 Parti-coloured clothes were shown on some of the figures at Westmeston, e.g., one leg pink and the other white.

36 Both these were favourite subjects with Romanesque sculptors and painters. The Signs of the Zodiac appear on many Norman doorways (e.g., St. Margaret's, York, and Iftley Church, Oxfordshire) ; they also occur on the late twelfth century painted ceiling in the nave of Peterborough Cathedral, and in the curious marquetry pavement of like date in the Trinity Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral. The Occupations of the Months are apparently represented in the remarkably quaint medallions round the outer Order of the S. door at Barfreston Church, Kent. Among examples of eleventh century colour decoration in France are the Signs of the Zodiac in the Church of St. Savm, Vienne.

37 '° Archaeologia,". Vol. XLVI., p. 187 : paper by J. T. Micklethwaite, F.S.A.

38 We have a parallel example, not far removed in point of date, among the carvings on the remarkable font in St. Nicholas, Brighton. See " S.A.C.," Vol. XXXII., p. 49, for a drawing to scale. This " gathering together of the waters as an heap," traditionally associated with our Lord's baptism, was doubtless suggested by Exodus xv., 8, and Joshua iii., 13, I6.

89 This was an opportunity for a bit of realism that a mediaeval artist never missed. The incident occurs frequently in the illuminations of mediaeval MSS., e.g., Add. 28,162, Brit. Mus.

40 The usual conventional treatment of this subject in mediaeval times. A soul, like all precious or sacred things, is always shown as held in a napkin. Compare with this the gift which the kneeling figure in the " Adoration of the Magi " is presenting to the Holy Child. It is held in a napkin. The bearing of crowns, books, &c., on a cushion in Church and State ceremonial seems to be derived from this ancient usage.

41 i.e., on the walls of buildings. I believe that St. George figures in an eleventh century MSS. in the British Museum-Tib. iii., f. 142. In the South Kensington " List of Buildings having Mural Decorations " between seventy and eighty other representations of St. George are recorded-none apparently earlier than the fourteenth century. April 23, A.D. 303, is the date of his supposed martyrdom. It is not generally remembered that this saint was also adopted by some of the German States, the Republic of Venice and other countries as their patron. He is called by the French " St. Georges, le Tres-loyal Chevalier de la Chretiennee."

42 e.g., at Ruardean, Gloucestershire, Brinsop, Herefordshire, and Pitsford, Nortbants. A delightfully vigorous early thirteenth century rendering of the subject occurs among the carvings in the spandrils of the wall-arcade in the Elder Lady Chapel, Bristol Cathedral. Here St. George is on foot, standing upon the tail of the dragon and thrusting his spear into its open jaws; but usually the saint is shown on horseback.

43 White, in accordance with the legend.

44 Fordington Church, which is dedicated to St. George, was given by St. Osmund, Bishop of Sarum, to that See in 1091, " to some few years after which period," says the late Mr. Bloxam, " the execution of this sculpture, as of a supposed miraculous incident of the time, may perhaps be assigned." This Fordington door and its sculpture are curiously similar to a fragment of a door head of the same peculiar outline, with a bas-relief over, representing the preaching of St. Bavon, in the Abbey dedicated 'to that saint at Ghent.

45 Both Christians and paynims at Fordington closely resemble the warriors of the Bayeux Tapistry. They have conical helmets with nasals of precisely the same character as those in the famous needlework, and wear close-fitting knicker­bocker " combination" suits of (apparently) leather, covered with metal discs, such as figure so prominently in the Tapestry. These leather or canvas suits, superseded for general purposes by the chain and ring mail introduced from the East by the Crusaders, survived into the seventeenth century in the quilted brigandines of bowmen and arquebusiers.

46 Similar to the pavement in the Annunciation (Plate III.), and to a diaper pattern on a drawing of a pulpit in an eleventh century MS., Add. 30,337, Brit. Mus.

47 Mrs. Jameson's " Sacred and Legendary Art," Vol. II., p. 400.

48 " S.A.C.," Vol. XII., p. 93. Bequests to lights before pictures of Saints frequently occur in pre-Reformation wills. Besides the numerous side or chantry altars dedicated in honour of St. George the following churches (out of a reputed total of I62 in England) are dedicated to that Saint in Sussex: -Trotton, Easter­gate, w. Grinstead, Hurstpierpoint and Crowhurst. Singularly, the Crowhurst in Surrey has the same dedication. My friend Mr. J. Lewis Andre has dealt very fully with " St. George the Martyr, in Legend, Ceremonial, Art, etc.," in the " Archaeological Journal," Vol. LVIL, p. 204.

49 Datian's Crown was of a very early type, consisting of three fleurs-de-lys on a hoop of metal, with a sort of arch springing therefrom over the head, very similar to an example illustrated in the " Dictionnaire du Mobilier " of M. Viollet-le­Duc (Vol. III., p. 308). This form of crown the learned writer refers to the Carlovingian era, but it would seem to have continued in use down to the eleventh or twelfth century. Datian's dark red dress at Westmeston was powdered with the three white pellets which occur so frequently at Hardham.

50 At the time when these paintings were executed England was still under the protection of Edward the Confessor as patron saint, but St. George seems gradually to have ousted her older patron, his miraculous appearance at Antioch in 1098 and the vision of the martyr given to Richard I. at Acre, nearly a century later, contributing to his greater popularity. It was not, however, till 1348, when Edward III. instituted the Order of the Garter in honour of God, our Lady, and St. George, that the latter was generally recognised as our national patron Saint.

51 "La Peinture Decorative en France du XIe au XVIe Siecle." It is very much to be desired that we in England should have a similar well-illustrated treatise dealing comprehensively with our ancient mural paintings. No such work has yet been produced and meanwhile the paintings themselves, in many cases, are disappearing or being destroyed without any adequate record.

52 This church, situated in what was anciently the province of Poitou, was monastic (Benedictine), and was rebuilt in the eleventh century, mostly between ,1050 and 1100, and the paintings in the upper church are coeval with the building for the most part. M. Paul MerimEE, an eminent authority, tells us that they go back to the second half, or to the end, of the eleventh century. An account, with good illustrations, of this church, by Mr. H. C. Corlette, A.R.I.B.A., appeared in the pages of the " Architectural Review " for August, 1897.

53 The authors of the monumental work on French decorative painting above referred to say: " Some pictures can be placed in the rank of chefs d'ceuvre ; we may instance, among others, that where the Lord launches the worlds into space." And these were executed in the barbarous eleventh century, when some learned writers would have us believe that art was asleep, if' not dead!

54 Such a strange, giraffe-like beast, that I thought at first the whole subject must be something in connection with the leviathan of the Book of Job.

55 The scheme of the upper tier seems to have been based upon " The Worship in Heaven," as seen by St. John (Rev. iv., dc.), combined with the parallel idea of a "Te Deum," the Prophets of the Old and the Apostles of the New Dis­pensation being conjoined with the Living Creatures and Elders in adoration of Him who sits upon the throne and of the Lamb. But it is possible that the figures in the upper tier (western half) of the N. wall are meant for individual saints and martyrs, rather than the old prophets.

56 That on the right of the window seems to have been the one with the " face as a man," and its companion on the left " the second, like a calf," leaving the inner places round the throne to the lion-like creature and " the flying eagle." The " six wings about him " and the halo are visible in the right hand creature.

57 The Magi in a painting in the Church of Vic, Indre-et-Loire (date I080-1100), have exactly similar crowns, the idea of which was a square metal cap, formed of four straight sides. M. Viollet-le-Duc gives a drawing of one under the article " Couronne " in his "Dictionnaire du Moblier Francais," taken from the eleventh century paintings of the west porch in the Church of St. Savin above referred to. He remarks on the discomfort of such a form of head-dress. This type of crown seems to have been in vogue with subordinate dignitaries between A.D. 1050 and 1150. It no doubt had an Eastern origin.

58 Our word " vial " is of course the same in origin as phial. The Vulgate has, II phialas aureas plenas odoramentorum." The phials of the Elders on the northern side are like the metal flower-vases in common use on our altars to-day, while those in the hands of the figures on the opposite side (Plate VI.) are shaped like an hour-glass or a cup with a broad foot.

59 Here, again, is a very early note. The gittern is found, instead of the harp, in painted or sculptured representations of the twenty-four elders of eleventh and early twelfth century date, and is also met with in contemporary illumina­tions. I cannot cite an English example to parallel this Hardham treatment in painting or sculpture, but in some of the early illuminations in our libraries the Bittern is to be seen in the hands of the Apocalyptic elders. Zithern (cithara, French), Bittern (French, guiterne), guitar, are all derived from one word-the Greek alOapa ; and in like manner the instruments bearing these names were evolved one from another, the harp being the original of all. What is translated "harp" in Rev. v. of our Authorised Version is rendered cithara in the Latin of the Vulgate.

60 Cf. " Mural Paintings in Sussex Churches," by J. Lewis Andre (" S.A.C.," Vol. XXXVIII., p. 16, and illustration opposite). St. Peter was commonly represented with the tonsure in early paintings, &c., of the Last Supper; as in the Church of St. Jacques-des-Guerets, Loir-et-Cher, France.

61 Two of these are shown on shelves in an aumbry or credence, with two cruets below, in an early twelfth century bas-relief on one of the capitals of the porch at Vezelay (" Dictionnaire du Mobilier Francais," I., p. 87). Both in this and in our paintings the artist has represented the bowl of the chalice as crescent­shaped, by way of indicating its circular brim. The chalice in the Last Supper on the font at St. Nicholas', Brighton (c. I120), is represented in the same conventional fashion (see plate, " S. A. C.," Vol. XXXII., p. 49).

62 There is a good representation of such an early altar-square, rather than oblong, in form, as such early altars always were-covered with a heavily draped cloth, in a bas relief from St. Macaire's Chapel in the ruined Abbey of St. Bavon, Ghent, Belgium (c. 1110) ; and, among illuminations, similar examples occur in Cott. MS., Nero C. IV., Brit. Mus.

63 " S.A.C.," Vol. XXXII., plate opp. p. 49.

64 As at Binsted, c. 1140 (" S.A.C.," Vol. XLIII., p. 225).

65 e.g., Binsted, before quoted; not far from Hardham (c. 1140) ; West Chiltington, also near (c. 1170) ; Kempley, Gloucestershire (c. 1I30) ; St. Gabriel's Chapel, in the Crypt, Canterbury Cathedral (c. 1150). All these, and others that could be named, have a certain family likeness to each other, but the Hardham ' group have little in common with any of them. I have indicated elsewhere in this paper a half-belief that Clayton Church should be added to this group. One of the Binsted paintings forms a coloured plate in "S.A.C.," Vol. XLIII, p. 224. Kmpley, with a coloured illustration, is described by Mr. Micklethwaite in Vol. XLVIL of the "Archaeologia," p. I87; and the Canterbury paintings, elaborately illustrated, by the late Canon Scott Robertson, in "Archaeologia Cantiana," XIII., p. I7.

66 They are found, similarly applied, in the eleventh century paintings at St. Savin ; a deep purplish red, with lighter shades, a strong golden Yellow, yellow­yellow­, a metallic emerald green, blue, white and black.

67 Archbishop Laufranc, the trusted adviser of William and Gundrada, despised the English as barbarians and recommended foreigners. William seems to have been a man of deep piety and of singularly cultured taste for his time, a great traveller and patron of the arts, in which latter role his sons followed him. He and his wife had a strongly marked partiality for Burgundian monks, with whom the community at Lewes was judiciously leavened. The peculiar expression on Gundrada's tomb (now in Southover Church) is supposed to refer to this: " Intulit ecclesiis Anglorum balsams morum." One may suppose that the rude manner of building and decorative art in use among the conquered Saxons would be as dis­tasteful to their Norman Conquerors as would be their rude manner of life and speech. Probably with the Burgundian monks came skilled workmen and artists -indeed, many of them were doubtless artists themselves-carvers, painters and illuminators.

68 Their first recorded presentation was in 1430, but this does not prove that they had not held the patronage from a much earlier date.

From Sussex Archaeological Collections XLIV, MCMI
Reproduced by courtesy of the Sussex Archaeological Society (SAS). 
SAS grants this licence for the stated purpose in respect of such rights as SAS may have over the articles, 
but those rights may not include the author's copyright in the words and/or images.

horizontal rule

All presented material is for Private Study Only
Copyright © 2002-2010 Martin B Snow. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 20, 2010 .