You may have heard that recently the Lancing College Chapel has finally been completed, 154 years after the foundation stone for this Grade I listed national monument was laid on 28 July 1868. But did you know that in the past that the builders made use of local 'Cuckfield' Stone in its construction?
The Chapel is one of the tallest interior-vaulted churches in the UK the chapel rises 94ft to the apex of the vault inside and 150ft to the roof ridge. The £1.2 million project to add an elegant arcade porch with extended buttresses at the west end completes the project. the main contractor Chichester Stoneworks used Doulting limestone (Bath stone) from Somerset.
The Cuckfield Stone Bed occurs in much of Horsham, including around Cuckfield, Drewitts and Ardingly. it is a fine to medium grained sandstone. These are typically dark reddish-brown to brown in colour, although shades of light-brown or even grey also occur. Upon weathering, the stone develops ochreous and rusty hues, which make it attractive as a building stone. Cuckfield Stone has a relatively localised use as a building stone within and near its outcrop area, being seen mainly in walls as rough block-work and coursed rubble.
During the nineteenth century the construction work of Lancing College Chapel used Cuckfield Stone sourced from Inces Quarry near Scaynes Hill. Some of the softer sandstones employed have suffered weathering and have had to be replaced with Ardingly sandstone (from Philpots Quarry) and imported Bath stone.
Examples of its use include the Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield (in association with Ardingly Sandstone and Horsham Stone-slate). Other buildings around the village have also exploited this locally sourced material.
a news item on BBC South Today (first broadcast 29 April 2022) gives a comprehensive overview of the completion of the project:
Strategic Stone Study - A Building Stone Atlas of West Sussex. Google Books link: https://tinyurl.com/yxk2s7x5
A fuller story on the Chapel's completion can be found here: Sussex Express https://tinyurl.com/yy632
The 4k drone footage is of the beautiful Lancing College and its stunning Gothic Chapel overlooking the River Adur. It can be found on YouTube at. https://youtu.be/AbmfpwYZlOc
Contributed by Malcolm Davison.