The village of Northchapel is nicely situated in the north-western corner of Sussex, one mile to the south of the Surrey-Sussex county border. Northchapel is so named because its church was once a chapelry to the north of Petworth, but it became a separate parish in its own right in 1691. The population of Northchapel today is approximately 800.
The parish covers approximately 3,500 acres and lies on the clays of the Low Weald. Two miles to the west of Northchapel the distinctive shape of Blackdown frames the horizon, and at 280m it is the highest point in Sussex. The western part of the parish is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, although the gently rolling landscape to the east is equally beautiful, with open fields, hedgerows, and abundant woodland.
The parish landscape reflects many aspects of its development over the centuries. The Saxons exploited this part of the Weald for timber and summer grazing, while later settlers pushed back the margins of the forest to create the pattern of small fields and farms we still see today. The local woodland and natural resources have supported a wide variety of rural trades and woodland industries over the centuries, including Tudor ironworking, forest glass making, quarrying, coppicing and brickmaking.
Early village settlement evolved around the village green and the parish church, and developed in a linear fashion along the road. This main road, the A283, divides the village in a north/south direction. There are many listed buildings in the village centre. Many of these are vernacular timber-framed houses, some clad with the traditional brick and tile familiar to this part of Sussex. Others are Georgian or Victorian, and this gives the village its particular distinctive character. Among the buildings of note is the Toll house, built in the early 1800s.
The parish church of St Michael's lies tucked behind houses on the east side of the village.