Worthing St Margaret

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What you need to know about this church

St Margarets Church Worthing

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Margarets church is located in Worthing, a Norfolk village about 4 miles north of Dereham.

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Worthing St Margaret church
Tower from the south-west
Worthing St Margaret church
Carving on the porch

Visiting Worthing St Margaret

St Margaret’s in Worthing is a church that was usually locked for many years. However, for some time a timed automatic lock is now installed, meaning you can visit it during daylight hours. It has an unusual outer appearance, mainly to the fact that this low tower has undergone many changes. The original tower, perhaps 14th century, fell before 1740. It was rebuilt to about the height of the eaves of the nave with a north looking pointed window about 1800. However, what is there now is a bit taller, nearly up to the ridge of the nave, with three square, brick-framed belfry openings and a plain red brick parapet. It is shown like this in a picture done in 1903. The base of the tower is a bit splayed, and has knapped flints, 14th century? Whole flints are used higher up, and brick has been used amongst the flints in the fabric of the top third. Both the west nave quoins are built of flints, though at the top bricks have been used to add to the height. On the north side of the nave is a 12th century round headed doorway, made of dressed Barnack stone, now blocked with 18th/19th century red brick. There is no chancel, which fell into disuse and was lost between 1781 and 1801. The extent of the former chancel, narrower than the nave, can be seen in the grass, and that area now has a tomb chest for a death in 1801. The present east wall was built up at the chancel arch, and it contains many pieces of re-used dressed stone, including a piece with a Mass Dial carved on it, (on lowest band of stone, in the centre, at about 4 feet). Another Mass Dial can be seen on the west jamb of the south doorway. These were sun dials used to indicate the time of the Mass Service, from 12th-14th century. The south doorway is 12th century with a fine array of chevron and notched zig-zag carvings in its arch, and a shaft each side. The Church has only two large windows, one each about half way along the north and south walls. The south porch was added in the 15th century, with two fleurons and a lion mask each side in the entrance arch moulding.

Immediately inside the doorway is a small curious font, apparently formed from two sections of the stem of a churchyard cross, standing on a larger base that could have come from an early font or the base of a 13th century pillar. The upper part of the pointed tower arch is blocked. At the other end of the short Church is the outline of the former chancel arch, reaching nearly to the roof. Below this stands the altar, as there is no separate chancel. To the north of this, in the east wall, is an elaborate 14th century stone niche, which has a canopy on brackets of either angels or birds, with its own tiny niches and rising to a finial, vaulting above where a statue would have stood, crockets and pinnacles.

Conclusion: interesting small church with unusual outer appearance

Worthing St Margaret church
South doorway
Worthing St Margaret church
Font