Pews may be removed under new layout plans at Ringmer church

St Mary's Church, Ringmer
St Mary's Church, Ringmer

Plans are in the pipeline to alter the interior of St Mary’s Church in Ringmer – including removing some of the pews.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) has been considering changes to the layout of the chancel area.

The aim would be to “further enhance services and worship” at the historic building, which is believed to date in part from the 13th century.

These would range from accommodating large scale family services to small scale intimate services, together with funerals, weddings and baptisms, community-related services and concerts.

The PCC stressed that nothing has been decided yet and sought to offer clear reassurances.

All the pews are not being removed, but there are discussions around the possibility of dispensing with the front two rows of the central aisles.

The pulpit and lectern would remain and neither chapel would be altered. The sanctuary would be unchanged, and services would be able to continue in St Mary’s throughout.

Writing in the April issue of Ringmer’s parish magazine, the PCC said: “We feel strongly that we should look to making adjustments to the church interior in such a way as to ensure that the community will continue to have the benefit of this historic and beautiful building.”

A steering group has been formed to move the project forwards, and the PCC stressed it wanted the process to be transparent.

It said: “The church is the only Grade I Listed building in the village and any final plans will have to go through many, many layers of negotiation before approval and costing.”