About this church
Nestled in a picturesque village in Sussex, Warbleton parish church is an ideal venue for those who like to explore off the beaten track. Dating back to the 13th Century with a proud Protestant and local history, the stone church building is an atmospheric and quirky location.
The church of St Mary the Virgin is built on a Neolithic mound and the chancel and nave date from the 13th century. The porch and north aisle were added in the 14th century, the tower following in the 15th century. Warbleton is the home parish of Richard Woodman, one of the Lewes martyrs who was churchwarden. He was man burned alive for his faith in 1557.
During the reign of Queen Mary (1553 - 1558) the Ironmaster Richard Woodman, who was also a churchwarden, publicly objected to the local Parish Priest changing from Protestant to Roman Catholic, as the queen had instructed. He was captured, and taken to London to stand trial. At his trial he showed remarkable knowledge of the Bible, and was able to quote from it verbatim. He was condemned by the Bishop of Winchester, and it is believed that he was locked in Warbleton Church Tower. On June 22nd 1557, he was burned to death with nine other martyrs in front of the Star Inn at Lewes.
Later the church hosted the funeral of Elsie Bowerman. She was a Titanic survivor, caught up in the Russian Revolution, demonstrated with the suffragettes, drove ambulances during WW1, became the first woman barrister ever to speak at the Old Bailey, and almost in passing, founded the WVS.