Logo: St. Nicholas Middleton Church view from the South Wedding at St Nicholas Church view from the North Tuesday, 12. December 2017

Picture of the Church

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The Drowned Church

Whereas the parish of Middleton is ancient (existed before 1086 when Domesday Book was compiled) the present church is Victorian. It was built in 1847 on a plot given by Richard Coote of Middleton Green, safely away from the beach where the former church, split apart by a disastrous storm in 1837, could then still be seen. From the 1790s on the old church had been famous for its exposed position right on the edge of the low cliff ; guidebooks to the new seaside resort of Bognor suggested a ride along the sands to wonder at its dogged existence. In the Middle Ages the parish had been prosperous enough to support a Prebendal Canon at Chichester Cathedral (see the grotesque misericord of the Middleton Stall in the Cathedral choir); but by the beginning of the nineteenth century the population of Middleton had been reduced to two or three farms, much land having been lost by sea erosion in the previous four centuries. The site of the old church is just off the beach at the seaward end of the second groyne westwards from the end of

Sea Lane
(formerly
Church Lane
). The slight dip in level of the greensward here shows the line of path running along the north side of the original Manor Hall garden.
Medieval St
Nicholas had a nave, a south aisle and a belltower; the parishioners had to provide lights (candles) for three altars. Of course there is nothing of the church to see now, as the beach level is about 15 feet below the old land surface, but you can see a few of the old tombstones propped against the wall as you go into the church hall, and the Elizabethan chalice is in safekeeping in the Cathedral Treasury. The original parish register 1532 1832 is in the Record Office.

St Nicholas Middleton is part of the Diocese of Chichester
Copyright 2004 St Nicholas Middleton