Heritage Open Days come to Steyning

Bring the family, have fun, and explore the town’s unique history.Free events: Heritage tours, exhibitions, talks and organ recitals.

Steyning will be taking part in the national Heritage Open Days scheme, England’s largest festival of history and culture, on Saturday and Sunday, 17th and 18th September 2022.

This is the first time that the town is taking part in this national scheme, and events will also feature as part of the celebrated Steyning Food & Drink Festival.Events are open to all ages and are free of charge (although donations will be welcome)

Steyning Parish Church:
To coincide with the Heritage Open Days, a whole new self-guided audio tour is being launched by the Friends of Steyning Parish Church to reveal the hidden secrets and history of its special interior. The church is described as a ‘Norman gem’ and ‘the best in Sussex’ by Pevsner’s Buildings of England.

Renowned for its expertly crafted 12th century nave, Romanesque sculpture, 500-hundred-year-old unique Tudor carved oak paneling and modern stained glass windows, the church has recently been fitted with state-of-the-art lighting to illuminate its full splendour.

There is no need to book for the tour, just turn up with your smartphone. The church will be open to visitors from 11.00 – 16:00 on Saturday 17th September; and from 12:00 – 16:00 on Sunday 18th September, however visitors should note the times of the talks and recitals – see below. Further details of the tour on Friends of the Parish Church website, see below.

Special events in the parish church will include two period organ recitals by Brian Sawyer, church organist, besides fascinating talks about how the church was built from its own historian, Sarah Leigh, ‘Built against the odds: how French abbots created Steyning Parish Church and made their peace with the Kings of England’. No booking needed. Talks on Saturday 17th September at 12:00 and Sunday 18th September at 14:00. Organ recitals on Saturday and Sunday at 15:00.
Rifle Range:
Additionally, there will be the rare opportunity to take a walking tour of the historic Rifle Range in the heart of the South Downs. You will learn about the vital role played by the Range as a training ground by the Sussex Rifle Volunteers who used it for target practice from 1860 onwards. WWII style refreshments also available.

Booking for these hour-long tours is essential, see https://guestli.st/719733
Available 11:00-15:00, Sunday 18th September only.
Steyning Museum, Church Street:
Much of the town’s exciting social, economic and political history will be at your fingertips at The Steyning Museum which offers a treasure trove of exhibits suitable for all ages. A brand new exhibition will be on display giving the story of Steyning’s breweries – there were once two breweries in the town. There will also be an exhibition about historic Charlton Street, in the heart of the town’s conservation area, highlighting how it has changed since it was first built in the 1850s.

Entrance to the museum is free of charge. Open every Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 – 16:00.  Further details can be found at www.steyningmuseum.org.uk

Homemade refreshments:
Tea, coffee and homemade cakes will be available on Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 15:00 to 17:00 hours at Penfold Hall in Vicarage Lane, which is next to the Museum and across the road from Steyning Parish Church.
Pre-booking is essential for the Rifle Range tours. No booking required for other events
For all further details:
Heritage Open Days: https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting

Friends of Steyning Parish Church: https://steyningparishchurch.org/friends-about/

Steyning Museum: http://www.steyningmuseum.org.uk/

Rifle Range: https://steyningdownland.org/get-involved/history/

Rifle Range bookings: https://guestli.st/719733
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