In 1994, whilst doing some repairs, some render fell off the south wall exposing herringbone masonry. At last, Tuxlith Chapel began to reveal its secrets. A north doorway was uncovered and a narrow round-headed window. These discoveries, coupled with thick walls and splayed windows, enabled us to place the origins of the current chapel at Milland in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The first documentary evidence we have of this charming building is in a will dated 1532, when Isabel Colpece left “ii shepe to the Church of Tyklyth”. However the building is much earlier than that, a blocked 12th century window having been discovered during repairs. This, together with ‘herringbone’ masonry in the north wall, points to a date within the Norman period (1066-1200).
It has been suggested that this building served as the original parish church of Trotton and was replaced by the present Trotton church early in the 14th century. If this is the case the chapel of Tuxlith certainly remained in use, as the Register begins in 1581, and the building itself shows signs of alteration.
In the 17th century a gallery was added, and although this was removed at a later date the stone stairs by which access was gained still remains outside. In the 18th century the most significant alteration – the addition of the north transept – was undertaken.
However, with the arrival of the railway and a subsequent growth in population the old church was considered too small and mean, and a new one was built to the west of the old in 1879. The old church then became a Sunday School room and continued as such for over fifty years. Sometime in the 1930s it was closed up and fell into complete ruin.
The roof fell in, render fell from the walls, and vegetation took hold. The building was eventually declared redundant in 1974. We stepped in to take the church into our care, and immediately made it weather-proof. At the same time, a friends group was created, they are still going strong and help us to care for this wonderful place.
The pulpit was restored in 1993. The altar, designed by Sir Hubert Bennett, is the latest addition to this much loved and now far from friendless.