The changing face of West Sussex villages

St Michael's Church, Upmarden
St Michael's Church, Upmarden
HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
Picture: Shaun Roster

RETRO: Watch the last voyage of HMS Illustrious from Portsmouth

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It’s hard to believe today, but Up Marden was once a bustling village of several hundred folk, rather than the small population which inhabits the place, near Chichester, today.

In a relatively remote corner of the South Downs, Up Marden is one of several villages in West Sussex which are less important than they were in the Middle Ages.

Some, like nearly Monkton, have disappeared completely. Others, like Up Marden, carry on in reduced circumstances.

One positive effect of this decline is that the amazing church (St Michael’s, pictured here in 1978) on the outskirts of the village has hardly been touched for the best part of 1,000 years.