As we gradually explore the countryside around us here, one of my favourite places has been the area near Findon church, which is separated from the village by the A24. This means that to get to the church one either has to cross the A24 on foot or drive out of the village and over the main road to the country lane that leads up to Findon’s Saxon church of St. John the Baptist. It is very unusual for a village church to be cut off from the village in this way but its isolation does give the church a particularly tranquil and peaceful setting, especially as the church is approached by a quiet narrow lane with trees on either side. The views over the countryside are spectacular and it is also along this lane leading to the church that I have found some interesting specimens of fungi and some wonderful old trees, including a walnut tree.
Findon church is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 but an architectural study of the building shows evidence of a Saxon church which predates the Norman record and was probably built around 900AD. In 1120 the Norman parts of the church were built and in 1254 the church had its first recorded patron, Reginald de Northank. The early patrons were the owners of the manor of Findon, until 1506 when Magdalen College Oxford took over the responsibility. In 1949 the patronage of the parish passed to the Bishop of Chichester.
In 1867 a major reconstruction of the interior of the church was carried out by Sir Gilbert Scott and this included the tiles on either side of the altar, which were designed by William Morris, one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement.