St Leonard's Church

While walking down Church Street from the Railway Station the building on the right, now the Old School Surgery, is the former National School for Girls, which later to become Seaford Primary School.  

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Although Seaford is not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book, the church is thought to have started soon after the Norman conquest of 1066 probably by 1090. Situated on rising ground above the old quayside (The Steyne) the first church was of simple cruciform plan, probably with a central tower. Seaford was a prosperous port in the 13th century exporting wool and corn and importing wines. However the Black Death, French raids during the Hundred Years war and piracy saw the town reduced to poverty and many of its buildings gutted by fire. All that remained of the church was the nave and the north aisle. However by the 15th century a 68 foot tower was added with four levels to house the clock and the bell chamber. This new found prosperity appears to have ceased once the Ouse broke through the banks at Newhaven, the town lost its income from being a port and the population declined. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that the town began to revive with the coming of the railways and visitors to enjoy the new fashion of sea bathing, and the Church was restored and enlarged.Parts of the current building are Norman (the nave, aisles and clerestory) and the north and south arcades and most of the clerestory windows are Early English. The tower is 15th century, its upper part is perpendicular gothic while the transepts and apse are gothic revival additions.

Next :The Crypt , when it is open, can be accessed towards the bottom of Church Street on the left hand side- a few doors below the combined offices for The Police Station, Town Council and Tourist Information Office.  The Crypt website gives details of events and opening hours.

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For more information about the history of St Leonard’s Church please click here