New record book for ancient ‘Shepherd’s Church’ at Didling

From left Tina Fenwick Smith, Norman Hodgson, Jane Hodgson, Sheila Ryan, Heather Collingwood, John Cripps, Alison Goodenough, Judy Rich, Rosie Glancy, Pru Barlow, Michael Casement, Ros Chittenden, David Barlow.
From left Tina Fenwick Smith, Norman Hodgson, Jane Hodgson, Sheila Ryan, Heather Collingwood, John Cripps, Alison Goodenough, Judy Rich, Rosie Glancy, Pru Barlow, Michael Casement, Ros Chittenden, David Barlow.

A bound copy of the newly completed ‘Record of Church Furnishings, St Andrew Didling’ has been presented to the ‘Shepherd’s Church’ by The Arts Society, Midhurst.

The Rev. Mark Morton conducted a packed morning service in the little ‘Shepherd’s Church’ in Didling and afterwards, Heather Collingwood from The Arts Society Midhurst, presented the church warden, John Cripps, with a bound and illustrated copy of the newly completed ‘Record of Church Furnishings, St Andrew Didling’.

Sheila Ryan, the Sussex Area representative for Church Recording, explained the information assembled in the book will be held in the Victoria and Albert Museum Art Library as well as in Historic English Archives, Chichester County Records Office, Church Care and The Arts Society, London.

The origin of this unique church dates back from Saxon and Norman times with later additions made in the 13th Century.

The church and its contents were researched, described, measured and authenticated over many months.

One of the most interesting objects they recorded and photographed was the Saxon font which was hewn from a solid block of Bracklesham Beds or local stone.

Heather Collingwood led the enthusiastic team of eight recorders: Pru Barlow, David Barlow, Susan Bitterling, Tina Fenwick-Smith, Alison Goodenough, Jane Hodgson, Judy Rich and last but not least, Tony Douglas who was essential for the completion of the project with his expertise in photography and IT.

Rosie Glancy, chairman of the Arts Society Midhurst, said “This has been a challenging project which has all been made worthwhile by the enthusiasm of the congregation of St Andrew’s on Sunday when they saw the book for the first time. I congratulate the church recorders for all their hard work and dedication”.

The church wardens hosted a celebratory drink for everyone after the service.

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