St Martin's Church, Westmeston
THE STORY OF ST MARTIN'S CHURCH
The nave of St Martin's church (Westmeston, BN6 8RH) has been here since Norman times, and has been much added to over the centuries. The walls of the nave are originally Norman and so is the doorway on the north wall. The nave has been here since Norman times, and has been much added to over the centuries. The walls of the nave are original Norman and so is the doorway on the north wall.
The chancel was added in the 13th century. The north and west walls and the arch were rebuilt in the 19th century.
The arches and the aisle on the south are early 14th century work, and the wall here leans outwards.
The chapel was built in the 15th century; it is now a vestry and houses the organ.
The porch is rather fine; the brick base is 450 years old but parts of the timbering are nearly 600 years old.
The small bell turret is 14th century repair work and contains three bells, two were cast in 1636, the third in 1712; they have since been recast.
The font is Norman work and is unusual as it is made of chalk clunch in the shape of a cup. Only one other chalk font exists.
The stained glass windows are relatively modern.
The pulpit is Jacobean and made of oak.
From the west door you will see that the chancel is 'skewed' relative to the axis of the nave. This is a common feature of English churches and is thought to be an attempt to line the later building to face Jerusalem rather than due east as was the custom of the earlier nave builders.
ACCESS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
It is the fervent wish of St Martin’s Westmeston and the Beacon Parish to make everyone feel welcome both in the church and in the activities of the church.
Every possible effort has been made to meet the requirements of disabled people so that they may share in all aspects of church life. With regret, however, there are some areas where this is not yet possible. This is due in large part to the church being an ancient Grade 1 listed building which is not easily adaptable. We hope, in due course, to raise funds to meet those requirements which are currently not available.
We hope these notes will help anyone with a disability to enjoy being part of the life of St Martin’s, Westmeston.
FOR THOSE WITH A PHYSICAL DISABILITY
Wheelchair access is possible by parking in the car park on the South side of the B2116, opposite the church, and approaching via the Disabled Access gates by the Bus Stop. There is a small cutaway path on the South side, leading to the gates.
The gate opens inwards and outwards.
There is a redbrick path from there which leads to the porch of the door into the church.
Access to the chancel is reached by a couple of steps and so we regret that this is not easily possible.
At Holy Communion Services the Vicar is happy to bring communion to anyone who cannot gain access to the chancel.
For seating within the church, sidesmen will guide you to the best place for a wheelchair.
Those with moderate walking or sitting difficulties may find the pews difficult to sit in. There are chairs available which can easily be put in place.
At present there is no toilet, nor running water in the church. The nearest public toilet for the disabled is in Ditchling Village Hall car park or in the Village Hall, if open.
There are no disabled parking spaces reserved, but if you would like to advise the Churchwardens in advance, we can reserve you a location in the car park.
FOR THOSE WITH A VISUAL IMPAIRMENT
The sidesmen will help you to find an area of the Church where the lighting is the most suitable for you.
FOR THOSE WITH A HEARING IMPAIRMENT
The church is fitted with an induction-loop system which is in use at all services.
Anyone experiencing problems with the loop system during a service should speak to the sidesmen.
FOR THOSE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
Anyone with a learning disability is most welcome in the church.
They should make use of any of the above listed facilities which may be helpful.
If there is any other problem in accessing information, they or their companion should speak to the sidesmen or the Vicar or Churchwardens.
ACCESS TO OFFSITE CHURCH ACTIVITIES
Some church activities or meetings are held in other venues, including private homes. Disabled people are most welcome on such occasions, but we cannot guarantee that all private homes will have the necessary facilities.
Most of such activities are ‘advertised’ well in advance, either in the e-Beacon, on the website or in the weekly service sheet, usually with a contact telephone number. We would strong advise anyone requiring special facilities to contact the number to establish whether or not these are available.
If anyone has any suggestions for improving our existing facilities for disabled people, please contact the Parish Office on
01273 843165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.