Churches - Bevendean History Project
St Mary Magdalen Church, Coldean - part 2The 1960s and 70s.
In September 1968 the Diocese of Chichester decided to build a Vicarage
adjacent to the church. This was completed during October 1970 and the
Vicarage was moved from 1 Coldean Lane to Selham Drive.
Fr Bess left Coldean in 1960 and was succeeded by Rev. R. D. Payne who
carried on the work at St Mary Magdalen until 1963. He was succeeded by
Rev. Derek Cordell who worked at Coldean until 1969, when he left to
work in the Diocese of Europe.
St Mary Magdalen church interior viewed towards the Altar.
In September 1969 Rev. Peter Harold Chapman arrived to work in Coldean,
and during his ministry further work was commissioned to improve the
church and build a separate hall.
Plan of church showing dates of building.
The originally church building doubled as a hall which was used by
local organisations. In the early 1970’s it was decided to build
a separate hall and to enlarge the church. The enlargement of the
church involved the building of a new entrance at the west end with a
committee room on one side and a choir vestry on the other side. The
work was undertaken by members of the church under the direction of Mr
Ron Mepham who acted as foreman and clerk of works. The people of the
church collected flints from their gardens and fields so that the
extension would match the original flint work of the barn. The
extension was dedicated by the Bishop of Lewes, The Right Reverent J.
H. Lloyd Morrell on Sunday June 1972 before the regular Parish
New church entrance door and extension built in 1971 and wooden cross on ridge.
The First Cross
The cross, made by Mr Read, was crafted from wood which had been given
anonymously. It was placed on the roof at the western end of the church
roof and blessed and dedicated at the Family Communion Service on the
16th November 1975.
Unfortunately at the present time (2017) the cross has been removed.
This was done to prevent more water seeping into the roof where the
upright beam of the cross went through the ridge tiles.
It is planned that a replacement will be installed in the future as the cross is central to the Christian Faith.
New Church Roof Crosses
On Saturday, 8 December 2018
the Bishop of Lewes blessed two ceramic roof crosses which have just
been installed at opposite ends of the main church roof of St Mary
Magdalen Church in Coldean.
The crosses on the church roof were purchased with money donated from
the funeral of Sam Verrall. She was 26 years old when she passed
away on the 10th April 2012 only 9 months after being confirmed in the
She lived life to the full and made the most of the time she had.
Sam’s mother said that she is missed by everyone and this cross
will be a lovely tribute to her that will last for many years to come.
These crosses replaced a wooden cross which had to be removed in 2010 as it was letting water through the roof.
The Bishop, standing on a bench, sprinkled water into the air in the
direction of the crosses while members of the congregation stood round
The Bishop was accompanied by the Archdeacon of Brighton. Fortunately
the rain held off while we were outside for the blessing of the crosses.
The service was followed by a
party to celebrate the return of a cross to the roof of the church. The
cross at one end of the church is illuminated at night and can be seen
when you drive down Coldean Lane towards the Lewes Road in Brighton.
Coldean Church part 3