St Nicholas has been a place of prayer and worship for over 900 years. It has changed little over the centuries and is still recognisably as its founder intended. It is likely that there was a Saxon church on the site, as the field beside the church is known as Cherry Banks, perhaps from the Saxon word 'Cirice' for a church.
The earliest church consisted of the nave with the entrance in the west wall where the 12th century font still stands. As you enter the present south porch you see three blocked arches opposite. These were the arcade of a now vanished north aisle built around 1200AD and probably removed 100 years later after the Black Death. The nave windows are mostly Victorian. The steep pitch of the tiled roof shows that it was originally thatched. The roof structure is a regular 'crown post and collar purlin' type. The braces which slope down from the underside of the collars to the inside of the rafters are a variation used by the Priory of St Pancras in Lewes and suggest that the roof dates from before the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1538. The crowning glory of the church are the Norman arches which support the tower; the space beneath was the original chancel before a new chancel beyond was added in the 12th century. The upper stage of the tower contains three bells which are among the oldest in Sussex, dating from about 1426.
The east windows are particularly interesting since the three narrow windows have round heads indicating an early date. These windows had been filled and plastered over until 1868 when they were uncovered doing restoration. In the south wall of the chancel is a tiny Norman piscina. Iford is the mother church of the benefice which includes Kingston, Rodmell and Southease.
Visitors will be interested to know that the Greenwich Meridian runs some 30 meters to the west where there is a tablet in the wall.