|Earl of Arundel in Chichester Cathedral, 1375|
Many a Sussex church contains a tomb of a knight in armour, recalling days of chivalry when war was waged for faith and honour. In theory at least.Many legends have grown up around these effigies. Some say that if his legs are crossed below the knee he went on a Crusade, and that if they are crossed at the knee he went twice.
Others claim that a knight holding a drawn sword died in battle.
|Sullington, 13th century|
The same is probably true of the drawn sword - it may be more symbolic of fighting the spiritual fight as St Paul describes.
The figure of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, in Chichester Cathedral dates from about 1375. It was originally placed in Lewes Priory but moved when it was dissolved. He is shown with his legs stiff and uncrossed, his feet on a lion suitable for an aristocrat. He holds his wife Eleanor's hand, a touching gesture. She has her feet on a dog, a symbol of fidelity.
At Sullington church a badly mutilated but very fine image of a knight in chain mail is shown cross-legged. He dates from the 13th century.
|Sir Anthony St Leger, Slindon, d1539|
|Sir John de Ifield, Ifield, d1317|
|John Apsley, Thakeham, 1527|
Small fragments of the original paint can still be seen, showing how vividly coloured it must have been when it was first unveiled.
Thakeham has a most unusual tomb, an alabaster slab incised with the figure of John Apsley, who died in 1527. The lines were filled with pitch. By this time, armour was mainly ceremonial.