Ashurst CE Aided Primary School
School Lane, Ashurst, Steyning, West Sussex, BN44 3AY


by Junior Pupils

St. James Church, Ashurst.

Welcome to our village church.  Hello my name is Humphrey one of several mice that live in St. James Church, Ashurst.  We are here to give you a fun tour of the church and tell you most things about it.

Did you know that this church was built in the twelfth century?  There is a service  every Sunday, and every third Sunday there is a family service, some of the village families attend, as well as the local school.  There are also services for special occasions such as Easter, Christmas and Harvest Festival.  When it is Harvest time Ashurst school decorates the porch and the inside of the church.

I hope you find your visit to our church enjoyable and that this guide will help you.

Humphrey mouseCome with me to look around.

When you go through the main entrance, if you look straight ahead you will see a door, a little above the door you will see a glass case, in the glass case you will see a VAMPING HORN*.  It is a very old instrument and very rare.  It's even more rare because it has got a bend in it when most are straight.The Vamping Horn  We have tried blowing down it but it is very hard.  This strange instrument was used by someone who hummed down it to start the music going. 

The Font"Hello my name is Lucy mouse and I live in the church with my family.  I'm going to show you the font.  The font is very old, sometimes we have a dip while the vicar isn't looking, but the water is always cold.  When someone is christened the vicar arranges for some warm water to be brought in a flask. The font is very well decorated on the top and has stone pillars to hold it up on the bottom".

Stained glass window"The stained glass windows in the church are very big and have lots of pictures on them.  They are very hard to climb up!  The windows are made out of glass with lead strips.  There are a lot of important people in the windows such as St. James, St. George, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  The window showing St. George and St. James is in memory of people in Ashurst who died in the First World War.  The east window is a memorial to William Stanford he lived in Eatons the oldest house in Ashurst".

The Pulpit" Hello my name is Charlie and I'm going to tell you about the pulpit.  The octagonal pulpit stands to the left if you are facing the alter.  It is made out of strong wood and is carved into shape.  When Dr. Paul is not looking we often muddle up his papers and sometimes chew them so when it is time for the service he can't find the right paper to read from!"

The Altar"The Altar is a table where the vicar puts bread and the wine for communion, and a place where you can pray.  The altar is at the far end of the church and there are usually candles and a cross on it too".

"There are three bells in the tower.  We like to swing on the bell ropes and climb up them and into the bell tower, but when the bells are rung we get bashed about and we scramble down!  We sleep on the bell tower floor at night time.  When the bells are rung for weddings we cup our hands over our ears to shut out the noise.  The man can ring all three bells at once using his two hands and one of his feet".

The bell tower"Hello my name is Ron mouse you can see a picture of the bells on the left but I am going to tell you about the vestry.  I live in the vestry, in this church there are two vestries, one is in memory of Sir Lawrence Olivier who was a famous actor.  The vestry is used by the choir.  The bigger vestry is used by Dr. Paul, he keeps his clothes in there".

"Inside the church there are some slabs in memory of people who have died.  Most of them are worn but you can still see them (just!).  There is a special one on the floor of the nave near the pulpit".

"Hello, my name is George, I am going to show you the porch.  The porch is made out of limestone and flint.  In the porch there is a sun dial, the porch did not used to be there, so the sun could get to the dial, but now the porch is built you can't see it so well.  In the porch there are six windows but they are not coloured.. The porch has a lamp on the front".

"There are six Stanford graves outside in the church yard, they are just to the left as you come out of the porch.  The Stanfords helped build Ashurst School when Grandfather mouse was alive.  In the church yard there is a wooden grave in the shape of a cross where a famous author is buried.  The author is called Margaret Fairless,  she wrote a book called 'The Road-mender' it was published under the name of Michael Fairless as it was easier to get it published with a mans name in those days.  Near the gate there is a War Memorial for all of those people that died in the War".

The spire"The roof is made of wood because wood was the easiest material to get.  The wooden cedar tiles are held together with wooden pegs.  Lightening can hit the roof and it will not catch on fire because there is a lightning conductor on top of the weather vane.  The spire is beginning to curl and may eventually need to be replaced.  It has a weather vane to show which way the wind is blowing".

" We hope you have enjoyed the tour of the church, come and visit us and see St. James's Church for yourself it is well worth a visit".

* The original Vamping Horn is now situated in Steyning Museum, a replica is kept at St. James Church.

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