Memorial to farming's bravest lads and men

A NEW memorial was dedicated at St Mary Magdalene Church, Tortington, near Arundel, on Saturday.

Tucked behind a farm and built to serve the lay tenants of Tortington Priory, this tiny rustic church was restored around 1860 and the now-redundant church is now cared for by the Historic Churches Trust.

Earlier this year, Dr Frances Hurd, then Sussex representative of the Churches Conservation Trust, found mouldy documents in the church vestry which gave a poignant insight into life and death in the West Sussex farming community in the First World War.

The names of 52 men who left the quiet lanes and farmsteads of Tortington more than 90 years ago were recorded in a framed list asking the congregation back home to: "Pray for our men who are serving King and Country at the Front."

A separate framed text listing four Tortington men killed in action proclaimed: "The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God," with a line drawing of a crucified Christ above row upon row of crosses in a military cemetery.

Research by Dr Hurd yielded more information about many of the men who went off to the front or served in the Navy.

For full story and more pictures see West Sussex Gazette November 19