Church in the Wood, officially known as St Leonard’s Church and originally as St Rumbold’s Church, is an Anglican church in the Hollington area of the town and borough of Hastings. Although Hollington is now a large suburb, consisting mostly of postwar residential development, the church has stood in isolation in the middle of an ancient wood since it was founded in the 13th century—almost certainly as the successor to an 11th-century chapel. Restoration work in the Victorian era has given the Early English Gothic-style building its present appearance, but some medieval work remains. Legends and miraculous events have been associated with the church, and its secluded situation has been praised by writers including Charles Lamb. English Heritage has listed the building at Grade II for its architectural and historical importance.
The only surviving work from the medieval era is in the west and north walls of the nave and in the tower, where some stonework, timbers and an ancient bell survive. The church is built of stone rubble, the roof is tiled, and the pyramid-shaped cap on the tower is tile-hung; it was originally weatherboarded.
The bell, cast between 1371 and 1392, is the oldest in Hastings and one of the oldest in Sussex.
The plan includes a nave of three bays, a chancel (rebuilt in 1865 at a lower height, and having two bays), an ornate chancel arch (added at the same time), a low two-stage bell tower at the west end, a vestry, a porch and a modern parish hall. The stone used is mostly locally quarried bluestone with some dressings of Bath and Caen stone.
The architectural style is Early English Gothic. The east window is a three-light lancet with tracery in the Decorated Gothic style. Jean-Baptiste Capronnier added a stained glass depiction of the Resurrection to it in 1873. Faith and Hope are depicted in an 1886 window in the south side, and Charity is shown in a north-wall window of 1875. These were probably by the Clayton and Bell firm