Saturday, 3 April 2021

All Saints, Dummer


Located south west of Basingstoke and just off the M3, the pretty village of Dummer is home to a church rich in interest and full of character.

Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, the present building dates from around 1200, albeit with additions throughout the mediaeval period. Entered through a pretty 15th Century west porch, the first impression is one of gloom, thanks to the large 17th century gallery dominating the west end, which also contains the massive timber framing for the bell turret. The 13th century chancel arch is framed on the north by a fine 14th century niche, thought once to have been the reredos of a nave altar. On the south is a restored squint, rounded headed on the east side but decorated with cinquefoil cusps to the west. The chancel has three lancets in the east wall, filled with stained glass by Kempe, and a cusped piscina. Most impressive, however, is the 15th century rood beam and canopy above the chancel arch. This is a rare survival, and well preserved: it has twelve panels, decorated with bosses picked out in gold. 

The church has furnishings rich enough to match the architecture. Pride of place goes to the early  pulpit, dated to 1380 and with traceried panels. It is one of the oldest in England. Famous preachers who have used it include George Whitfield (1714-1770), who founded the Calvanistic Methodists, and Charles Wesley. The communion rails are 17th century, and Royal Coat of Arms in the chancel are those of Charles II (dated 1672). 

There are numerous small brasses, including one to William Moore, alias Dummer (d. 1508) and his wife, Katherine Brydges. Oddly, the space left for the date of his death was never filled in. In the nave, another brass records William Moore (alias Dummer) and his wife Ellen (d. 1427), in rhyming Latin verse. The nave has the remains of a 14th century tomb recess and also, beneath the gallery, a rare 16th century hinged palimpsest brass, recording different memorials on each side: on the rear, it commemorates Robert Clerk, priest, who dies c. 1500; on the front it recall Allys (Alice) Magewyk (d. 1591).

The church is in the benefice of Farleigh, Candovers and Wield, which contains 9 churches, and details of activities and service times.

All Saints, Farleigh Lane, Dummer, RG25 2AF

St Michael, North Waltham


 St Michael's sits atop a small rise at the north end of North Waltham, surrounded by a churchyard which was full of daffodils and primroses on my visit during Holy Week.

The church was rebuilt on the site of its mediaeval predecessor in 1895-6 by the prolific Winchester architect John Colson (1820-1895), responsible for the rebuilding of several of Hampshire's churches in the 19th century. The design is a simple double cell of nave and chancel, with north aisle and porch, topped with a shingle spire.

Colson reused a number of elements from the earlier building, most notably two of the arcade arches of c. 1200, which have robust drum columns, cushion capitals and moulded bases, supporting pointed arches. The chancel is of around 1300 with some original details alongside the 19th century east window and the rather elaborately decorated replacement chancel arch, all zig-zag and dogtooth. The chancel also has a fine surviving Decorated piscina, with an elaborately crocketed gable of surprising richness. At the rear of the church is a 15th century Perpendicular font, with pretty quartrefoils - this was brought from nearby Popham.

The church is part of a united benefice with Steventon, Ashe and Deane. It hosts services services every Sunday, as well as a Messy Church for children and families, and children's holiday clubs.

St Michael's, Church Road, North Waltham, RG25 2BL

Sunday, 3 January 2021

St Swithun, Martyr Worthy

Another of the Itchen Valley's picturesque churches, St Swithun's was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The present building dates largely from the late 12th Century, and sits above a heavily wooded lane which slopes gently down to the river.

The church has a nave and apsidal chancel: the former is the original Norman work, and contains fine north and south doorways with zig-zag and diamond decoration respectively. The chancel was added in 1865 and is clearly distinguished outside by its knapped flint walls (the original Norman walls being rendered). The nave has 15th century two-light windows in the west, north and south walls (the remainder being Victorian). The most distinctive feature is, however, the fine late Victorian bell-turret of 1871, which contains three 17th Century bells.

The church forms part of the Itchen Valley team ministry, with 3 services a month, complemented by those in Avington, Easton and Itchen Abbas.

St Swithun, Church Lane, Martyr Worthy SO21 1DY

St John the Baptist, Itchen Abbas

 St John's sits in a picture postcard position, just above the River Itchen, between Alresford and Winchester. 

Although there has been a church on the site since at least the 12th century, the present cruciform building dates largely from Victorian rebuilding, beginning with the chancel in 1867, followed by the nave and transepts in 1883. However, the main doorway and chancel arch are both 12th Century Norman and were reset from the original building. Both have heavy billets in the arch on simple column shafts. The windows in the Victorian chancel are also Norman in style, albeit rather more florid than the original, with marble columns and rich zig-zag decoration.

The interior is deceptively spacious and was re-ordered in 2009, removing the Victorian fittings, but expanding the gallery, and providing a kitchen and toilets. It is worth looking up at the fine barrel vaulted roof, with what the Listed Building entry describes as an "interesting design at the crossing".

St John the Baptist, Itchen Abbas SO21 1BJ

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Sunday, 27 September 2020

All Saints, Idmiston

All Saints is a delightful church, nestled in the lovely Bourne Valley between Salisbury and Andover. In the care of the Churches Conservation Trust since 1978, it is renowned for its fine set of decorative corbels, in the form of carved heads.

The tower is Norman, but heavily restored (the pyramidal cap is Victorian); inside both nave with its 2 bay arcades and the chancel are 13th Century, the chancel retaining its simple Early English lancets. The arches of the arcade and the tower arch are made of alternating grey and green stone, a surprisingly effective form of decoration. The aisles, clerestory, panelled wooden roof and two-storey north porch are all late 14th or early 15th century Perpendicular.

The 37 corbels inside and the gargoyles outside provide a fine gallery of mediaeval carving: these include heavily bearded men (one of whom holds his jaw - presumably a representation of toothache), women with a variety of headdresses, kings and angels. It is thought some may represent villagers.

Fittings include a fine 17th Century monument to Giles Rowbach (d. 1633), depicted kneeling at an altar; a sturdy 14th century octagonal font in Purbeck marble; and memorials to the Bowle family, including John Bowle (1725-88), known for his translation of Don Quixote.

Sunday, 30 August 2020