A small and ancient downland church which is very much in the centre of the isolated and rural village of East Marden in the South Downs National Park.
Up Marden was once a bustling village of several hundred folk. It’s one of several villages in Sussex which are less important than they were in the Middle Ages.
One positive effect of this decline is that the amazing church on the outskirts of the village has hardly been touched for the best part of a thousand years.
St Michael's is an exceptional place for the sense of simple yet irresistible piety that permeates the place. In an excerpt from an article for the Spectator which is printed in the church Simon Jenkins gets it just right when he says ‘These places disturb us unbelievers...this power does not respect belief or unbelief’.
You could miss the church of you weren't looking for it. It’s hidden away down a flinty farm track, with no car park, no gateway to the church yard and just a few ancient tracks between the trees to guide you in.