Willingdon is pleasantly situate on a ridge, and its Church, which is one of some size and in fair condition, is a prominent landmark. There is an ancient font and 5 bells. Fitted to the font there is a substantial pewter bason. A memorandum dated 1784, and preserved in the Parish Register, records a tradition that this bason was presented to the Church at the end of the 17th century, in commemoration of a great public disputation between an Antipaedobaptist and a Vicar of Willingdon, in which, by verdict of the audience, the latter gained the day. On a painted window in the N. aisle, there is a coat of arms surmounted by a greyhound as a crest; tradition says that it was through the running of the dog there portrayed that the estate of Ratton, was lost and won, but this theory lacks authority.
There are several mural monuments to different members of the Parker family which deserve examination, especially one to Sir Nicholas Parker, (d. 1619) and his 3 wives; in the chancel there is a brass, dated 1558, commemorating a John Parker. Below the sill of the middle window on the S. side of the nave, and outside, may still be noticed the fast-decaying vestiges of a stone sun-dial. More than one stone coffin has been found in Willingdon churchyard. (Rev. T. Lowe, Suss. Arch. Coll., XX 233.) One such coffin now does duty as a water-trough in a stable yard, situate to the W. of Willingdon Church and abutting on the street.
There is preserved at the Rectory, in a box made for the purpose in 1794, a very old Paraphrase on the New Testament, by Erasmus. The chain by which it was fastened to some desk in the Church remains entire.
The benefice of Willingdon, is a vicarage - patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Chichester: value, 300 pounds: population, 794; acreage, 4217. The present Vicar is the Rev. T. Lowe, M.A., appointed 1850.
Transcribed by Brenda Doyle