St. Mary's Arcades and Piers
St. Mary’s Arcades and Piers
St. Mary's Church Tower
St. Mary’s Belltower

St Mary’s Church is an Anglican (Church of England) church in the Goring-by-Sea area of the Borough of Worthing. English Heritage has listed the church at Grade II for its architectural and historical importance.

The original Norman parish church was built in the 12th century (late Norman era) and a number of original elements can still be seen in the church today, these include the arcades, which appear to be the oldest part of the church.  

Remodelling of the church has taken place throughout its history, notably in the 14th century and most recently in 1837 as part of Decimus Burton’s comprehensive restoration. Burton’s restoration is what gives the church its present day “Gothic Revival” exterior appearance. The rebuilding was undertaken at the expense of David Lyon, and is said to have cost £6000 (over £600,000 in today’s money).

Burton borrowed heavily from all periods of gothic architecture with elements from the 13th century next to features from the 15th. This can be seen in the windows of the gabled aisles and chancel, both modelled after the style of the early 1300s whilst the clerestory windows are of the 15th century style.  

The 12th century arcades were retained and lightly remodelled by Burton to give us the subtly chamfered, plain, pointed arches we see today. The arches rest on square responds (a half-pillar attached to a wall to support an arch) with round pillars, featuring square abaci (slab forming the top of the capital) and scalloped capitals (section at the head of each pillar).

Pews added in 1888
Pews added in 1888

The tower at the west end is entirely Burton’s work, the original tower was located at the south-west corner and featured round-headed double bell-openings, probably from the late 12th century. There is evidence that the original tower featured heavy buttresses, and these may have been built following a bequest in 1361 for work on the church. The current tower has bell-openings with ‘Y’ tracery, a popular feature of the early gothic revival, and a shingled octagonal spire behind a parapet. The moulded west doorway sports shafts that appear to have been inserted for purely aesthetic reasons.

As the exterior is rendered, there is a possibility that some original walling or at least foundations might remain, protected from weathering and erosion.

Christ in Glory by Hans Feibusch
“Christ in Glory” by Hans Feibusch


Like many churches built in the 1800s, St’ Mary’s features a west gallery with an arcaded front, supported by iron piers. The roof displays moulded four-centred supports, spandrels (the space between the arches and the ceiling/moulding) with gothic tracery and prominent bosses (moulding where the roof ribs cross). Much of the detail is in plaster, and this will have been one of the last churches of this era to utilise this method of decoration.

St. Mary's AltarThe pews were replaced in 1888 by J. O. Scott as part of a series of alterations, the cost of this work totalled £628 (£75,000 in todays money). At this time the raised timber pulpit and stone font were added as well as many of the chancel and other fittings.

The impressive mural over the chancel arch was painted in 1954 by the German artist Hans Feibusch. Titled “Christ in Glory”, its strength is its composition, and it features an unusually muted colour palette. At the time of installation, the mural raised significant controversy, forcing Bishop Bell of Chichester to use his authority to override the Diocesan Chancellor and grant a faculty. Concept sketches by the artist can be found in the vestry, however these are not on public display.

There are several paintings, monuments and features of interest within the church.St. Mary's Statue

  • The oldest, dating from about 1490 are a pair of 26-inch (66 cm) brass effigies of a Man in armour and his wife (thought to be to members of the Cooke family). Assigned to Series F of the London workshops, the workmanship is not of a particularly high quality. Originally these were placed on a tomb-chest in the centre of the chancel. The chest featured elaborately cusped sides and was constructed from Petworth marble, it was most likely removed during Burton’s restoration.
  • The font was installed by J. O. Scott in 1888. An impressive design with ribs on the stem terminating in ogee-quatrefoils carved into the curving base of the round bowl.
  • East Window in the South aisle, installed by J Powell and Sons in 1908. Figures of saints set in plain glass.
  • East Window in the North aisle, installed by J Powell and Sons in 1907.
  • A funerary hatchment dated 1860 commemorates Sir George Richard Brooke-Pechell, 4th Baronet, of the Pechell Baronetcy, who died in that year.
  • A bust commemorating Susan Cook, who died in 1707, has been praised as “lively” and “full of femininity”.
  • A white marble sculpture created in 1841 by Francis Legatt Chantrey, commemorating Isabella Lyon (a relative of David Lyon), is considered of some merit. It incorporates a profile medallion of the deceased in a lace cap on a draped stele.
  • In the Bible garden a bronze statue of Christ by R Hore, 1996


First World War Memorial

St. Mary’s hosts a memorial dedicated to those in the parish who died in the First World War, it is located on the south exterior wall of the narthex. The names on the memorial along with details of their sacrifice are listed in this Roll of Honour.


William Aaron

Corporal Po/8433 (RMR/PO/B/890) Royal Marines Light Infantry. (Reservist) HMS “Ramsey” Auxilliary Patrol Vessel. Killed in action when the ship was sunk in action with the German surface raider “Meteor” in the North Sea 8 August 1915. Aged 39. Son of Mr & Mrs Bennett of East Ferring Lane, Goring by Sea. Husband of Eva Bennett of Ferring. Commemorated on The Portsmouth Naval Memorial.


Edward Allan Johnnie

Stoker 1st Class K/18723 Royal Navy. HMS “Hampshire” Lost when the armoured cruiser was mined off the Orkneys 5 June 1916. Aged 21. Son of John & Emily Ada Blake of 23, The Drive, West Worthing. Included on Worthing W.M. & Heene Parish Church. Commemorated on The Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea



(Possibly) Private L. 7476 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 1st Division. Regular Soldier Died at home (Medal Rolls, no other details) No CWGC record


Reginald Mordant

Corporal TF/265162 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 24th Division. Died of wounds during the March Retreat. 28 March 1918. Grave lost. Born in Leytonstone, Essex and enlisted in Brighton. Territoral Included on Horsham & Broadbridge Heath memorials Commemorated on The Pozieres Memorial



Lance Cpl. 26903 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. 14th Division. Killed in action near Flers 16 September 1916. Aged 28. Son of Mr & Mrs Cozens of Nell House, Littlehampton Road, West Worthing. Born in Worthing & enlisted in Winchester. Resident of Havant, Hampshire. Included on Worthing W.M. and West Tarring Parish Church. Commemorated on The Thiepval Memorial


Arthur George

Corporal TF/320255 16th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 74th Division. Killed in action near Mouslaines 2 September 1918. Aged 23. Son of Mrs S. A. Cozens of “Rosemount” Tarring Road. Born Goring. Enlisted Worthing. Included Worthing W.M. Buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension



Private SD. 1676 12th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 39th Division. Killed in action on the Somme 30 August 1916. Aged 22. Son of Mr & Mrs Daughtrey of 2, Railway Cottages, Goring by Sea. Born in Goring & enlisted in Worthing. Employed by Markwicks Stores. Attached to 116th Brigade Trench Mortar Batteries. Commemorated on The Thiepval Memorial


Arthur Hedley

Private 1677 1/1st Battalion, Sussex Yeomanry. 42nd Division. Gallipoli. Died of dysentry on the hospital ship “Rewa”. 21 October 1915. Aged 23. Son of Hedley & Alberta Garrett of 12, Brighton Road, Crawley. Born in Crawley & enlisted in Horsham. Included on Crawley War Memorial. Connection with Goring unknown. Buried in Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta.



No further information currently available


Frederick Henry

Private 42538 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment. 6th Division. Killed in action. 24 May 1918. Aged 19. Son of Christopher Denman & Esther Louisa Lloyd of Goring. Born in Horsham & enlisted in Worthjing. Formerly with the Bedfords. Buried in Nine Elms British Cemetery Poperinghe, Belgium



Sergeant 34588 Royal Garrison Artillery 261st Siege Battery. Died of wounds recieived at Messines 27 July 1917. Aged 37. Husband of Mrs Daisy Eleanor Marshall, The Cottage, Church Lane, West Tarring. Born in Malta & enlisted in Chichester. Included on Worthing W.M. & West Tarring Parish Church. Buried in Vlamertinghe New MilitaryCemetery, Belgium


Charles Claude

Private SD. 531 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 39th Division. Killed in action near Fleurbaix 13 March 1916. Aged 29. Son of Mr & Mrs Jesse Martin of ‘Weston Dene’ Lyndhust Road, Worthing. Born in Lambeth & enlisted in Worthing. Included on Worthing War Memorial. Buried in Rue David Military Cemetery


Eric Elsdale-

Lieutenant 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots 3rd Division. Killed in action. near Kemmel Hill 1 April 1915. Aged 21. Son of Major J. Elsdale & Mrs Mary Molson of Goring Hall. Born in Chelmsford, Essex. Buried in Godezonne Farm Cemetery, Kemmel, Belgium


Henry Edward

Lance Cpl. 7662 12th Prince of Wale’s Lancers. 2nd Cavalry Division. Died of wounds. in base hospital at Rouen 3 April 1918. Aged 27. Son of Mr & Mrs George Murray of North View, Courtlands, Goring by sea. Born in Shepherds Bush & enlisted in Battersea. Buried in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.


Christopher Charles Burt

Private SR. 471 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. 6th Division. Killed in action 25 September 1915. Aged 35. Son of Christopher & Jane Baker Newman of Goring by Sea. Born in Worthing & enlisted in Westminster. Buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension.


Ernest A

Private 16943 The Machine Gun Corps. (Infantry.) Formerly G, 10305 The Royal Sussex Regiment. (Died at home Medal Rolls) No CWGC record



Private G. 3175 9th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 24th Division. Attached to 172nd Field Company, Royal Engineers. Killed in action. 16 January 1916. Aged 21. Son of Mr & Mrs Phillips of 69, The Drive, West Worthing. Born in Sompting & enlisted in Worthing. ‘C’ Company. Buried in Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, Belgium.


Frederick George

Lance Cpl. G. 1290 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 1st Division. Killed in action at Richebourg L’Avoue 9 May 1915. Aged 23. Son of Albert & Edith Scott of ‘The Hollies’ Goring by sea. Born in North Stoke near Arundel & enlisted in Worthing. Commemorated on The Le Touret Memorial


Frederick William

Private G. 20206 1st Battalion, East Kent Regiment. 6th Division. Killed in action at Cambrai 20 November 1917. Born in Eltham, Kent & enlisted in Chichester. Next of kin Goring. Commemorated on The Cambrai Memorial


Christopher Thomas

Able Seaman Z/485 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve “Nelson” Battalion, 63rd Royal Naval Division. Died at home 12 March 1917. Buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Goring.


Fitzroy Aubrey

Lieutenant 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. 35th Division. Killed in action 7 July 1916. Aged 23. Son of Arthur William & Gwendoline Fitzroy Somerset of Castle Goring, Goring by Sea. Commemorated on The Thiepval Memorial


William James

Private M2/049263 Royal Army Service Corps. Motor Transport Section. Died at home of sickness 31 March 1915. Aged 31. Son of Benjamin & Ellen Thomas. Husband of Mrs Winifred May Thomas of 31, Thorn Road, Worthing. Born in Wales. Buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Goring.



I would like to thank the following sources for information contained in this history:

Sussex Parish Churches

Roll of Honour