REVEALED: Secrets of the Saxon church in an Angmering garden

St Nicholas' Garden, Angmering, where Worthing Archaeological Society will be carrying out excavations in June, 2015
St Nicholas' Garden, Angmering, where Worthing Archaeological Society will be carrying out excavations in June, 2015

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are preparing to reveal more of the hidden history of a long-demolished village church.

They will be excavating the site of the ancient parish church of St Nicholas, East Angmering, in June, and are inviting villagers and schoolchildren to join the team of diggers.

An image of how St Nicholas' Church may have looked, by Bob Turner, of Worthing Archaeological Society

An image of how St Nicholas' Church may have looked, by Bob Turner, of Worthing Archaeological Society

Worthing Archaeological Society has been asked to find out more about the remains of the church, now lying beneath the grass, shrubs and trees of the picturesque St Nicholas’ Garden, behind Angmering’s library.

Members of the society will be attempting to accurately locate the church’s position and layout, and to discover more about its origins and history.

Excavations in 1974 confirmed there had been a church there at least since Saxon times, with several alterations and extensions to the building before it was abandoned in the 1570s, when the parishes of West and East Angmering were merged.

Some stone from the old church was used to build houses nearby, but a pile of rubble and the base of a column remain in a corner of the garden. It’s known from the earlier ‘dig’ that the foundations, some column bases and other stonework remain beneath the earth.

The excavation is being organised as a community project for two weeks from June 8. During the first half of each week, it’s hoped that St Margaret’s CE Primary School and St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School will be able to send groups of pupils for a session on site with the archaeologists. The children will take part in a range of archaeological activities, from learning how to excavate to processing and recording finds.

On other days, adults living in Angmering who have signed up can spend a day on site and receive training and practical experience. There will also be guided tours for anyone wanting to view the excavations.

When the dig is finished, the parish council hopes to establish a permanent record of the layout of St Nicholas’ Church on the ground, so that everyone can see where this important Angmering building lay for so many centuries. It’s hoped that the finds from the dig will eventually form a significant part of a display about the history of the village.

Anyone who would like to take part should call Liz Lane on 01903 501422 or fill in a form at the parish council office in The Square.