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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 09:28 GMT
Anglo-Saxon finds in church work
Narrow Anglo-Saxon window under plaster
Narrow windows were found hidden underneath wall plaster
An ancient church in East Sussex has been found to be 100 years older than was thought after restoration work uncovered hidden windows and paintings.

The original construction of St Andrew's Church, at Bishopstone, near Seaford, is now being dated back as far as the late 7th Century.

A four-year project costing 115,000 gave the church its first major restoration since the 1840s.

Anglo-Saxon finds were made when old plaster was removed from the walls.

The church was expanded and changed by the Normans in the 12th Century and many of its original features were hidden from view.

Wall painting

The Reverend Martin Yould said: "It's fascinating to see how long the church has been here and how the different bits have been put together."

The interior renovation uncovered three blocked up windows, a Saxon wall painting and a stone basin.

Historian Guy Beresford has been examining some of the discoveries.

He said: "It was always said to be one of the earliest churches in Sussex, and we have had the opportunity now, by removing wall plaster and finding the windows, to show this church was indeed built in the late 7th or early 8th Century."

Specialists architects, archaeologists and restorers have been employed to protect and preserve the ancient features.

Work to restore church paintings
29 Oct 06 |  Norfolk
Church marks two year restoration
17 Jun 06 |  Hereford/Worcs
Museum plan for historic chapel
15 Jun 06 |  South West Wales

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