Experts date Worth Church to somewhere between 950 and 1050, before the Norman invasion. Archaeologists have confirmed that most of the walls of the nave, transepts and the main arch are Saxon work. The arch stands at 22 feet high and 14 feet wide, and is one of the largest Saxon arches still standing.
In comparison to other churches built around this time, Worth Church has had little alteration. There are signs that repair work was carried out in the 13th century, and there was some further rebuilding in 1871.
Worth Church is much larger than other English churches from the same period, yet was built in an area with a very small population. The church would have been much too large just to be used by the local people, and therefore there was probably another reason for it being built. Edward the Confessor created a number of colleges for monastic clergy and it is possible that Worth was connected to one of these at some point.
After the Norman conquest the church was passed to the son in law of William the Conqueror, William de Warenne, whose family owned the church until the 14th century, when it was passed to the Fitzalan family.
The bell tower that is today a prominent part of Worth Church is originally Victorian, replacing the original wooden structure. In 1684 it housed three bells, which were recast to form a peal of six in 1844. The bell tower escaped damage in the fire of 1986, when roof timbers set alight. The timbers had to be replaced, as well as the nave roof and the pews. A new floor was also laid, of French limestone. The restoration allowed for the strengthening of the original Saxon walls, and the use of a lighter roof. The restoration cost £51,000 in comparison to £3,800 that was spent on restoration in Victorian times!
The church is Grade I listed and its Lychgate is Grade II listed. Find out more on our listed buildings page .
For more information on the history of St Nicholas Church, visit the Worth Team Ministry website at
fax: (01293) 511803
email: click to email us
West Sussex RH10 1UZ
Open Mon to Fri 8.30am-5pm