Petworth, St Mary's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 1542 tomb of Sir John Dawtrey
On the north wall of the Chapel of St Thomas is the tomb of Sir John Dawtrey (d. 1542) and his wife Jane. Dawtrey left money to repair church vestments, and also to pay for masses to be sung for himself and his wife, who predeceased him. The elaborately carved tomb is made of Caen stone, with a mix of gothic and Renaissance carving. The central panel once bore a carving of the Annunciation, but this was defaced at the Reformation and now has the letters IHC instead. There are heraldic shields on the frieze over the canopy, at the back of the tomb recess, and on the tomb base. The figures of Sir John and Lady Jane each kneel at their own prayer desk, rather than facing each other across a single desk as is often the case. Lady Jane's desk simply has a book on top, but Sir John's also has mailed gauntlets and a helmet to indicate his status as a knight.
One of the most interesting of the Percy's buried at Petworth is Lucy, Countess of Carlisle. When Charles I attempted to arrest 5 members of Parliament n the lead-up to the Civil War, the arrest was foiled by Countess Lucy, who sent warning to the MPs, so that when Charles and his men broke into the House of Commons, his enemies had gone. Also in the vault lies Henry, Earl of Ogle. The Earl was the first husband of Elizabeth Percy, the 'Percy Heiress'. When Earl Henry died at 17, Elizabeth married Thomas Thynne of Longleat. He in turn was murdered, and she married a third time, to Charles, 6th Duke of Somerset, who built the current Petworth House.
In the north eat chapel window is colourful stained glass by the CE Kempe studio (look for Kempe's trademark wheatsheaf symbol). There are small fragments of much earlier heraldic glass in the windows, including the arms of the Percy, Warren, and Roos families.
In the baptistry is a marble cenotaph to the Percy family, erected in 1837 by George, Earl of Egremont. The cenotaph was carved by John Carew, who also worked at Petworth House for the Earl. Poor Carew never received the appreciation he felt his work deserved, and seems to have ben especially annoyed that he was never accepted as a member of the Royal academy. If you look closely at the top right of the plinth you can see an inscription in Latin which translates as 'To the shame of the Academy, not an Academician'.
Address: Church Street, West Sussex, England, GU28 0AE
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On Church Street, just outside the grounds of Petworth House. The church was open when we visited.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Petworth House - 0 miles (Historic House)
Petworth Cottage Museum - 0.2 miles (Museum)
Selham, St James Church - 2.9 miles (Historic Church)
Bignor Roman Villa - 4.7 miles (Roman Site)
Cowdray House - 5.3 miles (Historic House)
RSPB Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve - 6.1 miles (Countryside)
Amberley Working Museum - 6.7 miles (Museum)
Parham House and Gardens - 7 miles (Historic House)
Nearest Accommodation to Petworth: