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Shelley Sites/Sights


The tiny village of Warnham, two miles from Shelley's birthplace at Field Place, is the site of Warnham Parish Church, where Shelley was christened and where he later rode every day for lessons with Reverend Edwards, the church vicar. The exterior of the church, with its medieval tower, remains much as Shelley would have seen it.
The inside, however, has undergone the extensive late-Victorian renewal typical of English churches, including the replacement of all original stained glass.
There are a number of memorials to the Shelley family, including Percy Shelley’s birth and christening records, and the font in which he was baptized on September 7, 1792. The church is frequently locked, but the key is available from the Post Office next door, which also has a leaflet describing Shelley’s connections to Warnham.
Nearby is Warnham Mill Pond, a man-made lake created to accommodate the Sussex iron industry in the early-seventeenth century. In Shelley’s time, it was the home of the fabled Great Turtle, who would allegedly emerge in the evenings and roam the surrounding woods.
Today, the pond is protected by the Warnham Nature Reserve—and a flock of very territorial swans—and features a "Shelley Garden" of plants mentioned in his poetry. The reserve is open to visitors from dawn to dusk year-round; however, the Nature Reserve building is open only from April to September, 10 AM to 6 PM, Thursdays through Sundays.

Published @ RC

January 2006