5. A Guide to the Inside the Church


It is always of great interest to walk around the church looking at various reminders of people who once worshipped here.  Many are Victorian rather than from an earlier time.  Some bear the names of families still connected with the village whose forebears lived here generations ago.

Most of the memorials are self-explanatory.

The Beard’s were a Quaker family, much persecuted in the 17th Century and beyond for their faith.  Nicolas Beard suffered particularly badly, spending several terms in prison.  ‘Downs House’ was owned by the Beard family as was ‘Challoners,’ this was the Beard family home for nearly 300 years it lies to the north of the Church and is the oldest house in the village.  It was the Beards who gave the Quaker Burial Ground, now hidden away in the garden of the house ‘Quakers Rest’, just a few yards along the north side of Dean Court Road. 

 Thomas Redman Hooker

One can hardly miss the bust hovering over the pulpit of Dr Hooker, a former vicar of the parish, who ran a private school in the vicarage (now the Grange).  He was generally regarded as the “look out” man, for the ‘Rottingdean Smuggler Gang’!  Not without reason was Rottingdean known as Smugglers Village.

The chair in the tower was presented in 1945 by Earl and Countess Baldwin of Bewdley, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage in the Church.

Also in the tower is the ‘eagle lectern’ a brass lectern in the shape of an eagle.  They are very common in Christian churches and cathedrals.  The eagle is a symbol used to depict John the Apostle, whose writing most clearly witnesses the light and divinity of Christ.  In art, John as the presumed author of the Gospel is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolises the height to which he rose in the first chapter of his gospel.


Throughout the centuries church music has been part of our worship, with singing and instrumental accompaniment.  Primitive organs were used in larger churches nearly a thousand years ago.

St Margaret’s Church organ is sited in the balcony.  It is a Three Manual Allen Quantum Digital Organ with 38 speaking stops. This was installed in 2007, replacing a small extension organ. The introduction of the new organ has enhanced the music used in Church.


Most importantly in the Chancel look to the altar.  Many Christian churches have at least one lamp continually burning before the tabernacle to indicate the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.


St Margaret’s is in possession of a fifteenth century triptych, a Spanish work, presented by the Moens family.  This has now been removed for restoration.  After restoration this special piece of work will be placed in the Lady Chapel.  The Moens family memorial plaque can be seen on the south wall of the Lady Chapel.  S. M. Moens wrote much of village life in his history of Rottingdean.