History of Bolney
The earliest sign of habitation is a walkway of oak timbers near Agates pond in The Street dated to the late Saxon period c 972. The Church is in the Early English style with suggestions of Saxon and Norman influence in the architecture. The nave and chancel date from the middle of the 12th century; the unusual' tower was built in 1533-1536 at the expense of John Bolne. It boasts the oldest peal of eight bells in Sussex, the earliest being dated 1592.
Plan of the church
1. South Doorway 2. Both round headed windows
Until 1724 the ring of 8 bells was unique in Sussex. The oldest bell dates back to 1592, and the latest to 1740. The bells were at risk in 1961 when weakness developed in the bell frame, but a successful appeal for funds made it possible to replace it. Unusual feats of bell ringing are recorded in the tower (through the memorial doors). The old inn in the village street opposite the steps up to the church is appropriately called the Eight Bells
The pub sign was undoubtedly inspired by the church, for this has eight bells and has long been famous for its bell-ringing. Lucas quoted an older writer saying: 'Those who are fond of the silvery tones of bells may enjoy them to perfection by placing themselves on the margin of a large pond, the property of Mr. W. Marshall: the reverberation of the sound, coming off the water, is pecularly striking.' The church, mostly 14th-century, is set immediately behind and above the houses in the High St., the visitor passing through a handsome lych-gate 'made of Sussex oak, Sussex marble, Sussex millstones and Horsham stone'.