was founded in 960 AD by St Dunstan, the then Archbishop of Canterbury. Believed to be originally a wooden church the Normans replaced it with a stone structure in the twelfth century. In 1389 the church was virtually destroyed by fire. Only the tower, the lancet window in the west wall and the base of the north aisle survived. The local congregation probably used the private chapel at the Archbishop’s Palace nearby until the church was rebuilt between 1410 and 1420. (The Palace is now a girls’ school).
Further work was carried out during the reign of Henry VIII: the nave roof was raised and the clerestory was added. In 1657 a clock was installed by Thomas Punnett on the interior West wall. It measures hours only and was used by the preacher to time his sermons!
In the South Porch moulded corbels support quadripartite rib vaulting. Inside a newel staircase gives access to the Parvis Tower above. This was used as either an oratory for a chantry priest, or a sacristan’s room for valuables. During the nineteenth century it was used as a cloakroom for the girls’ school held in the church.
The sandstone font has the initials of the vicar of Mayfield, Robert Peck, and his two Churchwardens carved on it with the date, 1666.
The pulpit, with its oak strapwork, is 17th century.
While many of the choir stalls date back to the sixteenth century, some repair work was carried out by the Mayfield School of Carving in the early twentieth century. They also carved the reredos. The screen to the Lady Chapel was carved in 1923 by Mr Rosier of Frant in memory of Thomas Hugh Mann of Trulls Hatch.
Most of the windows in the Church date from the late 19th and early 20th century, and nine of them were made by Mayer & Co of Munich and London. The East Window was donated in 1868 by Mrs Louise Treherne. There is a memorial window to Sir John Glubb (Glubb Pasha) at the West end.
There is a ring of eight bells in the tower. The oldest bell, by Thomas Giles, is dated 1602.
Many of the memorials in the church belong to the Baker and Kirby families.
These were local ironmaster families. There were four father-son Kirby vicars between 1780 and 1912.
The Sussex Heritage Trust Award
The Sussex Heritage Trust has awarded the 2009 Ecclesiastical Building Award to St Dunstan’s Church, Mayfield for the renovation and restoration of the West End of the Church. St Dunstan’s was chosen out of twelve excellent entries from across the whole of Sussex. The judges praised the work, saying it was ‘designed and executed with vision and skill’. As well as new drains, heating and floors, the original processional route from the West door straight through the church has been opened up, and a 12th century pillar base revealed. Already events such as: art exhibition, film showing, displays, meetings of all sorts and sizes, and gatherings of mothers and prams have been held.