2 – South Aisle next to Cuthman chapel.
The east end of the church was built first, starting in around 1090 and finishing with this archway in about 1103. This arch and the one at the same point on the north side are the only parts of the earliest church which survive. They are quite different from the rest of the Norman church, built 50-70 years later.
Up at the top of the column, on the capital, you see two pairs of lions each sharing one head – the head on the left unfortunately has been damaged. Next to them are the Anglo-Saxon acanthus design derived from manuscript illustration, and the late Viking ribbon-like sculpture.
Below, on the shaft of the column you will see a very unusual sculpture, depicting ordinary people working, possibly hunting, possibly harvesting. This is almost unique in its position and very rare in its subject for its time – people! (not saints or animals, people).
If you’d like to hear about the Steyning Dispute which troubled three successive kings of England around this time, and how it may explain the frieze on the pillar, play the following audio file.
Please proceed to the chancel steps to look at the nave (point 3 on the plan) and then press Next.