Friday, 5 February 2016

Tuxlith Chapel and St Luke's Church, Milland

Two churches for the price of one. For six hundred years, Milland was a chapelry of Trotton known as Tuxlith, with a humble one-room building in the woods a mile northwest of the village.
It became a parish in 1863 and a grand new church was built, but instead of demolishing the chapel it was used as a Sunday School, preserving it for our delight.
Tuxlith Chapel was built in the 12th century, as the large cornerstones and herringbone walls testify.
Inside, however, it looks like a Georgian preaching house with plain whitewashed walls, commandment boards and a two-decker pulpit.
It all dates from 1835 when the church was extended with a large transept to the north, positioned so everybody could see and hear the preacher. It had a gallery for the school children. Fishbourne church was given a similar transept at about this time but this was later swept away when the north aisle was built (although you can still see its gable looming behind the vestry).
In the 1930s Tuxlith chapel fell into disrepair and was presented to the Friends of Friendless Churches who restored it and care for it to this day.
The new parish church was built in 1878 to the designs of Willliam Street, an architect better known for office buildings but who had the advantage of being the churchwarden's brother.
St Luke's is a highly spiced Victorian design, with strong colour contrasts between the rough stone walls and the smooth tracery of the windows. The interior is spacious and even elegant, with a tall nave with clerestory and a big chancel. It does not deserve Ian Nairn's dismissive comment: “A nasty, fussy job.”