Benedictine Chapel of Ease
The first mention of the church of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Denys here dates to 1291. It seems probable that it pre-dates this and may have started out life as the chapel for Midhurst Castle in whose precinct it stood. The Castle was dismantled at some point between 1284 and 1311 and little survives today beyond foundations.
The chapel origin is given more credence by the fact that, until the Dissolution, the church was a chapel of ease for Easebourne Priory, a Benedictine foundation. Henry V had some issues around alien priories and around 1422 it seems the church was rebuilt, probably to stave off any thoughts the King may have had towards dissolving it as he did at a number of other sites.
After Henry VIII did dissolve the priory the chapel was raised to the status of Parish Church and remains that today. The name of St. Denys appears to have been given to the church in the 16th Century. Although very common in France, St. Denys is quite an unusual dedication in England.
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