The Church in the Field
I had to venture out into the depths of the Sussex countryside to teach a pupil this morning so I took the opportunity while I was there to visit somewhere I’ve been driving past for years for the first time. The church of St Mary the Virgin at Upwaltham is a tiny little 12th century building which is known locally as the church in the field thanks to its position up a steep, narrow grassy lane in the middle of open countryside. It’s a little gem of a building – small but perfectly formed and, despite its off-beat location, it was unlocked and open to visitors. My chosen photo is part of one a stained glass windows which I particularly liked for its strong patterns and colours. However, I also found a new window (from 2005) which commemorates two local men who died recently – one of whom happens to be the father of one of my pupils.
On one of the church walls there is another memorial, erected in 2009, which remembers the crews of two aircraft which crashed in foggy conditions in the hills around Upwaltham during World War II. I had no idea about this piece of local history and was amazed to learn that one of the planes and its crew, which crashed in 1944, had taken part in the Dam Busters raid the previous year. I thought it was a touching memorial to the men (from Britain, America, Australia and Canada) who died defending this country.