13th century wall paintings, west side of the knave.
Photo by Dan Powell
The church mentioned in the Domesday Book was replaced in the mid-13th century by the present structure, which is the third church on the site (a grassed area within the grounds of Preston Manor). It consisted of a chancel, nave with no aisles and a tower at the west end with a shallow pyramidal cap (of the type known as a Sussex Cap), corbel table and narrow lancet windows. Its main feature of interest was a series of 13th- and 14th-century wall paintings around the chancel arch and the nave, which depicted the Nativity of Jesus, Saint Michael weighing the souls of the dead at the Last Judgment, the murder and martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Doubting Thomas, other saints, and the "Noli me tangere" scene at Jesus's Resurrection. They were covered with plaster at the time of the Reformation and were rediscovered in 1830 by the vicar, Reverend Charles Townsend. The church was severely damaged by fire on 23 June 1906. The wall paintings suffered particularly badly, such that only fragments of the Nativity, St Michael and Thomas Becket scenes remained—the others were destroyed.
Other Thomas Becket images:|
Murder of Thomas Becket, Spoleto, Italy, late 12th-century
The Murder of Thomas Becket, Wall Painting in Santa Maria de Terrassa, Catalonia, Spain, c1180-1200
Murder of Thomas Becket on the font in Lyngsjo Church, Scania, southern Sweden, late 12th century
Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury, Chronica Majora by Matthew Paris, England, ca. 1240–53
Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury, Carrow Psalter, England, c.1250
The Martyrdom of Thomas Becket, Fresco in the Museo Diocesano from Palazzo dei Trecento, Treviso, Veneto, Italy, c.1260
Mural with a scene of the Martyrdom of St Thomas Becket, St Peter ad Vincula Church, South Newington, England, c.1330AD
Alabaster panel with a scene of the Martyrdom of St Thomas Becket, England, 1450-1500