Tortington, St Mary Magdalene
Tortington, St Mary Magdalene
A delightful little rural church, built for the lay tenants of Tortington Priory. The church dates to the 12th century, and retains some very nice Norman features, including a beautifully carved Norman doorway.
Tortington Priory was founded by Hadwissa Corbett sometime in the 12th century as a house of Augustinian canons. Interestingly, Tortington appears to have been used as a place where troublesome canons were sent - a sort of house of monastic correction!

The interior features a highly decorated Norman chancel arch, replete with likenesses of fearsome birds and grimacing faces. The font is of 12th century date, again highly carved with decorative motifs. It was apparently broken in two at some point and then re-joined again.

The south nave arcade is 13th century, and leads to a south aisle added at that time. The crown-posts supporting the nave roof may also be 13th century survivors. There is a 15th century bench in the south aisle, and a simple Jacobean pulpit.

The most modern touch in the church are colourful stained glass windows made by the popular Kempe studio around 1896. St Mary Magdalene is no longer used for regular worship and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.