Our Local Church

St Peter's Church

There has been a church in Firle since Saxon times. The first vicar here was in 1197 when the right to appoint a vicar passed in to the hands of the Dean and Chapter of Chichester. The church you see now is an early 13th century one with chancel, nave and West tower. It was expanded in the 14th century by replacing the North and South walls with the arches which you now see and the building of the North and South aisles. The South porch was added soon after.

The chancel was fairly heavily Victorianised, with new East window and aisle windows. The Gage Chapel was built in there in of Elizabeth I. In the Gage Chapel you will find three altar tombs designed and installed in 1595. One has magnificent alabaster recumbent effigies of Sir John Gage KG and his wife Philippa, plus heraldic brasses. The other two have brass effigies and heraldry. The tombs were done by Garat Johnson and the drawing of works are at Firle Place. Sir John Gage was Constable of the Tower of London and Chacellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at the time of Henry VIII. In 1985 a new stained glass window, designed by John Piper and executed by David Wasley, was installed in the vestry as a memorial tribute to the sixth Viscount Gage.

The design was inspired by William Blake's drawing in his edition of The Book of Job and by the vision in The Revelation of St John (22.2) of "the tree of life" - "Ferle" means "Oak". It is best seen on a bright morning with the Eastern sun shining through.

Rev. Peter Owen Jones is our present vicar.