About St Botolphs


St Botolphs is listed as one of 500 holiest places in Britain. See the book and read for yourselves.



How to get a copy of this book: Amazon are retailing for £12.49 with free delivery (cover price £19.99) : Amazon 

For more information latest news of Britains holiest places and a bit more information about the book itself : http://www.holybritain.co.uk




To read more about the history of St Botolphs after you have read this page please click on the link for Sussex Churches Website

The ancient parish church is dated from 950 and large parts of the Saxon construction remain, particularly in the chancel wall and arch, and in the south wall. The tower was added in the mid-13th century, as was the chancel, replacing a Saxon apse.



The church was dedicated to Saint Peter in the earliest Norman records, and the community was then known as ‘Annington’. It seems likely that an original dedication to Saint Botolph was considered obscure by the Norman invaders, and the church therefore renamed (this was a common practice). However, the original dedication lived on in community memory, and eventually prevailed. By the 13th Century almost all references are to “St Botolph’s Church” and the 14th Century saw the final official reference to “St Peter’s Church”. By a process of association, the village took the name of Botolphs. The name Annington also survives, as a hamlet between Botolphs and Bramber.




Christianity in Saxon England
Christianity in Saxon England resembled the Catholic faith today in many ways. King Alfred the Great had twice travelled to Rome as a young man, and had met the Pope. In Alfred’s day the Papal throne was in the church of San Giovani, Rome.

An ancient Papal throne at San Giovani



An Anglo Saxon Church seems small to us today – but in its day it was a high status building, built of expensive stone rather than the humble wooden homes that surrounded it. Inside, the building would have been dark. Glass was expensive, and windows were small. In the Saxon church at Boarhunt, Hampshire, it is thought this was once the only window. It gave light to the altar. Today it is blocked up and other windows have been added over the years.

The Saxon arch is plain and round. Carved decorations are simple and shallow. The stonemason’s main tool was an axe. Saxon fonts are very deep because babies were baptised by full immersion, as they still are in the Orthodox Church today.


There were no seats – people stood in church. The church service would have been a mass similar to that in the Catholic church today – except that it would have been in Latin. Only the sermon would have been in English. The Priest would have stood at the altar at the front. You can also see a niche in the wall. This is a small, carved basin with a drain called a piscina. It was used by the Priest for the ritual washing of the chalice and paten.


The church building was surrounded by a graveyard. Yew trees were often planted in graveyards because their poisonous berries stopped people from grazing their animals on its consecrated ground.