4 October 2020 will be the most significant date in the history of St Nicholas’ since 11 September 1988, when we returned after the fire. Martin, Bishop of Chichester, is coming to consecrate new burial ground at the church for the first time in over 1000 years. Incredible to think that it would have been Aethelgar or Eadhelm, Bishop of Selsey, who consecrated the main churchyard between 975 – 985 AD.
Work started on the St Nicholas’ Garden of Remembrance on Monday 24 August 2020. During the fortnight that followed, a new path was built and four semi-mature trees, along with some shrubs were planted, then on Thursday 10 September, tarmac was laid on the new path. Here’s the team who did it, on day one, from left to right, Jason, Scott and Charlie, who were later joined by Raif, Connor & Ryan.
They cut the heart-shaped path in just one day, then barrowed several small mountains of aggregate and topsoil down from the lychgate. A metal edging was added to help keep the path intact and the four big trees, magnolia, cherry, crab apple and blackthorn were planted. Also, now in are five white-flowering rosemary plants(one for each of five oak benches), four white climbing roses (two at the entrance and two on the brick wall), a philadelphus and osmanthus and to come will be a great many white-flowering bulbs to add interest throughout the year. At the end of the fortnight, 40kg of grass seed was sown and the top surface being laid next is of (permeable) resin-bound gravel and five oak benches will be bolted down in the specially built bays beside the path.
The new garden will become an extension to the old churchyard and so will be consecrated by the Bishop of Chichester at a special service to be held in the garden on Sunday 4 October, at 10.15am. Everyone is welcome to attend and will be asked to stand on the path (and to keep off the new grass!) and in the meantime a lot of watering is needed.
Click here for more information about how you can contribute towards the planting in the garden and the extension of the beautiful path around the church.