Open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset the church of St Mary Magdalene dominates an attractive village location, between Horsham and Dorking by road and situated on the Sussex Surrey Border Path for ramblers. At 416 feet it is the highest point above sea level in West Sussex and they say you are closer to Heaven in Rusper!
It is the furthest parish from the coast in our famously maritime county and immortalised in South Saxon wit as the site of ‘Rusper Docks.’ Stephen Nightingale a boy scout fell 70 feet from the top of the tower in 1975 …….and survived. We wonder where he is now?
Rusper is the spiritual home of the folk music revival, where Lucy Broadwood is buried, Bob Copper sang and Morris Men dance every May the First when a forgiving Saint George even offers sanctuary and reconciliation to his former foe the dragon..A brace of excellent hostelries within walking distance of the church door offer good food and the very best traditional ale.
Here can be seen unique medieval brasses from the age of Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims and the eve of the Reformation.There is a stunning East Window inspired by the canticle Benedicite and depicting the village through the seasons, local flora and fauna including over thirty different birds. How many can you spot in the churchyard?
Two men held the living as rector serving between them a total of 106 years and the present rector is a descendant of the same family.
In the church you will find a powerful but homely spiritual atmosphere of prayer. Some say you can smell the prayers in Rusper Church. The Benedictine nunnery suppressed by Henry viii was visited by Saint Richard of Chichester and treasures from the prioress's disturbed grave, including a priceless 12th century chalice are now in the British Museum.
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