Land at Stanmer was given sometime between 765 and 771 by Ealdwulf, king of Sussex, to Hunlaf for the purpose of endowing a monastery, probably that at South Malling. In 1086 ‘Stanmere’ was held by the Archbishop of Canterbury and of him by the canons of South Malling. This land continued in the possession of the college until it was surrendered with the rest of the site and possessions of the canons to Henry VIII, who in 1545 granted these to Sir Thomas Palmer.
The first record of a church on the site appears in 1232 when Stanmer still belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury. At this time the Church was attached to the Penitentiary of the Monastic College of South Malling.
Stanmer was surrendered to Henry VIII at the Dissolution about 1540, and later the church and the glebe lands were restored to the Archbishop in 1552. The Crown retained the remainder of the estate until 1615, when this was sold by King James I. The estate eventually became the seat of the Pelham family in 1713.
The owners immediately before the Pelham’s were responsible for creating the Park as it is today. The Tithe Barn in the village dates from the sixteenth century.
The New Church
On 30 March 1838 a faculty and citation were granted to allow the Earl of Chichester to pull down and rebuild Stanmer church and a further faculty and plan for the new church were issued on 24 October 1839.
The 14th century church was demolished in 1838 and rebuilt during 1838 and 1839, probably by Ralph Joanes of Lansdowne Place, Lewes, architect, although the plan of the church and churchyard was drawn by J Butler, architect.
The work to rebuild Stanmer church started in March 1838 and appears to have been finished at the end of November 1839. It was rebuilt at a cost of £3,638-3-0 ¾ by the 3rd Earl of Chichester, Henry Thomas Pelham.
The red line on the plan shows the proposed site of the New Church. The proposed addition to the church yard is edged in green. J Butler of Chichester was the architect and the plan is dated March 1838.
Stanmer was a small church, and according to the practice of the time a west gallery was constructed. On the gallery is the Royal Coat of Arms of King George III.
The east window of stained and painted glass depicts the Ascension, and was installed in 1887 in memory of the 3rd Earl of Chichester. The memorial to Sir John Pelham dated 1580 came to Stanmer in 1888 from the Holy Trinity Church, Minories, in the City of London which was destroyed in the bombing of London in World War Two.
Stanmer Church viewed from the south east.
Stanmer Church is in a simple cruciform layout, with a chancel, nave, north and south transepts and a tower at the west end with a thin shingled spire on the top. The entrance porch is on the same level as the ground floor of the tower which has two bells cast in 1791. Knapped flint work was used to build the exterior, although the structural quoins are of stone. The church has a slate roof.
stanmer church continued