|Berwick in East Sussex lies just off the A27 Eastbourne to Lewes road close to the Cuckmere
valley just on the northern edge of the South Downs. The name comes from the
Saxon Bere Wic which means barley farm.|
The village has been in the same area from pre Christian times as a burial
ground has been found south of the church.
The church it is believed like many others in the area was originally a
wooden Saxon church built on an ancient barrow . The Normans started building
a flint structure, which was expanded in the 1100's into the present structure.
In the mid 1300's King Edward III issued a proclamation that all men must
practice archery on Sunday, and at Berwick it was normal to sharpen the
points of their arrows on the church tower before going to practice. The
marks are still on the tower near the font. Many of the bowmen who fought
at the battles of Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt came from the area,
probably following Sir John Pelham a knight from nearby Laughton .
From the late 1600's the church was left to become derelict and in 1837
the new curate reported that the tower had been struck by lightning
during 1774, and the spire destroyed, and the rest of the church was left
in a sorry state. The church was restored and re-opened by the Bishop in
Sir Horatio Bottomley the local Member of Parliament who lived in
Upper Dicker was responsible for the building of Berwick station to
provide him with easy access to the capital, this station was originally
known as Dicker Halt.
During the Second World War bombs dropped nearby probably by German pilots
jettisoning their loads when attacked by British planes, destroyed much of
window glass, and a doodlebug ( Flying Bomb ) exploded damaging the roof.
The Bishop decided that rather than replace the windows it would be nicer
to paint the inside of the church with murals, these are still in
existance and make a very attractive sight, well worth visiting.