St Nicholas, Longparish
A Church Guide
ISt Nicholas, Longparish - A Church Guide I St Nicholas, to whom this Church is dedicated, was every lost man’s friend and every orphan’s father, the champion of the weak and distressed, the patron of merchants, travellers and scholars, and the Santa Claus of children. He has more churches dedicated to him than any other Saint not mentioned in the Bible. We welcome you very warmly to St Nicholas’ Parish Church, where God has been worshipped for at least the last 800 years. Please do have a good look around. With the nearby Longparish Church of England School, we witness to a living faith in Jesus Christ, engaging with village life in its richness and variety. The ministry of the Parish Church meets people in joy and in grief, at major moments of family and village life, and continues to offer worship to God every Sunday in the name of all who live in the parish and others who think of this place as home.
Longparish Parish Council with Hampshire County Council have published a leaflet Exploring Longparish, which is available free in the Church and the local pub and shows walks and interesting features of this beautiful area. The 44 mile Hampshire walking route, The Test Way, runs through the parish and through the churchyard on its path from Totton to Inkpen Beacon. St Nicholas is now in a benefice (group) with nearby Hurstbourne Priors, St Mary Bourne and Woodcott. (It was with Barton Stacey, Bullington and Hurstbourne Priors from 1980-2000.) All these Churches are worth visiting for architecture and pilgrimage, and are open for visitors during daylight working hours (St Andrew, Hurstbourne Priors is closed from October until Easter, except for Services).
Please rest for a time in this beautiful church and perhaps join your thoughts and prayers to the many thousands which have been offered throughout its spiritual history.
A Prayer on Entering a Church We adore you, our Lord Jesus Christ, and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world. (St Francis of Assisi) The Village Website provides much invaluable information about the parish:- www.longparish.org.uk The site has useful Church pages, with full details of the programme of Services:www.longparish.org.uk/church/index.php
Revd Craig Marshall Vicar Front Cover: Watercolour of St Nicholas’ Church, dated 1839 (Curacy Archive)
The parish of Longparish The 5,331 acres of the Parish of Longparish, which the Church serves, includes the hamlets of Forton and East Aston: West Aston (which includes the modern estate of North Acre) joins with present day Middleton to make up the centre of population of Longparish which is around 700. The village of Longparish was originally known as Middletune, the name under which it appeared in the Domesday Book (1086) as being held by nearby Wherwell Abbey, a Benedictine Nunnery founded in 986. Much of the ancient woodland, Harewood Forest, is included in the parish.
Priests, Prebendaries and Patrons of the Parish No Church is mentioned in the Domesday Book and after it was built, during the time of the abbesses Matilda of Bailleul and Euphemia de Walliers, Middleton was a prebendary benefice of the powerful and wealthy Wherwell Abbey. A Prebend was an ecclesiastical sinecure giving the holder a significant income from the parish tithes, with no active role in the parish other than the power as patron of appointing the vicar to serve there. Until 1897, the incumbent of Longparish was a vicar. After 1897, when the Prebendary privileges were transferred to the Rectory and Patron, the incumbent was a Rector, with the right to the income previously due to the Prebendary. In 2013 his title reverted to vicar. The Woodcock family has provided Prebendaries, Vicars, Rectors and Patrons of the Parish since at least 1765. The clergy list by the south door is somewhat provisional before the 19th century and fails to distinguish Prebendary from Vicar in the early years â€“ admittedly a difficult task.
The old font - replaced in 1956
The Church Building The Church as we see it has evolved over eight centuries into the beautiful building it now is. It was built in its original form a few years after the murder of Thomas Ă Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. When the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 the first stones had weathered, and the nave arcades have stood their ground ever since. The core of the present building dates back to the end of the twelfth century, but what has survived of its details have mainly been recut in the nineteenth century. Two images of the Church interior from the Church Restoration Album - just before the restoration of 1956
In the medieval period, the church was altered on various occasions, as with the addition of windows in the decorated style from about the first half of the fourteenth century. In the 16th century came the addition of the church tower which probably owed much to the availability of cheap stone as a result of the dissolution of nearby Wherwell Abbey in 1539.
The Church Building Many generations and architectural styles have left their mark, as this brief summary shows: Style
What you can now see from each period
Late Norman (1190-1200) the priestâ€™s door in the south chancel wall and, possibly, the nave arcades (rows of pillars) Early English (1170-1300)
the chancel arch and south porch doorway
the south and north aisles and east window
Perpendicular (1350-1539) the west tower, bells date from 1791
The Chancel as it is today
High Church movement (1830s-84)
major restorations raising the roof of the nave and chancel, building of north organ chamber and vestry, south porch, wooden Font cover
Late 19 and early 20th Century
most of the stained glass
1956-8 restoration of the Font, removal of the painted decorations and texts and Victorian Font and cover; replacement of exterior stonework, and interior plaster; removal of side aisle pews: Aviator window.
Late 20th century and early 21st
complete replacement of roof tiles, repair of north wall buttresses, installation of French drain to improve ground drainage, glass porch doors and improvement of south door entry, Woodcock window
The Church Building In the nineteenth century, like so many medieval churches it was transformed. These changes were the product of a number of influences: the interests and enthusiasms of particular people of influence, and the need to cope with the growing population (in rural Hampshire this was particularly so in the early nineteenth century).
The cross which now stands at the corner of the entrance to the church and school was erected by him in 1867 with the inscription “Via Crucis, Via Lucis.” (The way of the cross is the way of light), perhaps indicating the path to the church which was less obvious after the road was moved.
There is one man who did more than any other in its known history to shape the Church as it is. The 19th century restoration owed much to the long incumbency of Henry Burnaby Greene, 1821-1884. Under his guidance, there was a series of restorations of the medieval church, of which it is now difficult to disentangle the details. A contemporary comment by Henry Moody writing in 1846, compliments Burnaby Greene and gives some idea of the scale of his early achievements: “Within the last few years the worthy vicar, the value of whose benefice does not exceed £226, has expended on the church and school near £3,000, and is still employed in the good work.” In fact, Burnaby Greene had not funded the building of the school.
Between 1833 and 1843 the vicar began to restore the church, negotiating the removal of pews in order to move the pulpit to the chancel arch and introduce an eagle lectern as well accommodating more seats. This was accomplished in 1842 with the aid of a diocesan faculty. In 1843 Henry Burnaby Greene replaced the dangerous and decayed roof with a new wooden one. J H Parker, in his Architectural Notes of 1845, describes St Nicholas’ as being, “a very interesting church, and in an unusually good state, having been carefully restored ... the windows are filled with modern painted glass, and the fittings are very rich and the reredos recently illuminated. The roof is entirely new and very successful in effect. The church on the whole reflects great credit on the Vicar.”
Burnaby Greene was both wealthy and a committed High Churchman and member of the Cambridge Camden Society (later The Ecclesiological Society), which aimed to raise standards of church architecture to inspire worship. Apart from developing the Church into a building suited to his vision of how worship should be offered, he also built a new Vicarage (1823) and had the village road rerouted in the 1860s to create a front garden, which involved the demolition of a house and its outbuildings.
The restoration of 1851-2 under the direction of Henry Woodyer involved the building of the present south wooden porch, as well as much detailed work around the interior of the church and especially the chancel. Woodyer was a favoured architect for clergy members of the Ecclesiological Society and Henry Burnaby Greene was fortunate to secure his services. The characteristic Woodyer drain heads on the south and north sides of the church have the dates 1851 and 1852.
The Church Building In 1866, William White, another noted Gothic revival architect, built the east lych gate, and erected a metal cross over the rood screen. White accepted a number of local church commissions in the area, including St Mary’s Andover, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Deane, Tangley and Longstock. It is suggested that the present north vestry was built in the final major restoration of 1883, architect unknown. The stencilling and texts, which covered the interior of the Church, were Burnaby Greene’s last act of restoration, being completed by Revd William Esdaire Burkitt, rector of Buttermere and a specialist church painter, just three weeks before Burnaby Greene died in 1884. The Victoria County History of 1911 gives a description of the overall effect, “The whole interior of the church is decorated with modern painted ornament and texts in red, blue, green and gold, and all the windows are filled with stained glass. This and the absence of a clerestory make the building very dark.”
South wall, characteristic Woodyer drainhead
The Wayside Cross
Burnaby Greene funded and oversaw a series of projects through his long incumbency of 63 years to create a Church suited for Anglo-Catholic worship out of the original medieval village church which he inherited. This is the church we now see, though ‘purified’ and brightened by the 1956-8 and later restorations. The hard plaster with the painted texts and coloured decoration, which had caused serious problems of damp, was replaced with lime wash, allowing the walls to breathe and making the church much lighter.
The Chancel The work of the Chancel arch is 12th or 13th century but has been entirely retooled. A fine screen, which once separated the chancel from the nave is believed to have been damaged beyond repair by Cromwellâ€™s soldiers. The parliamentary army may have used the Church as a stable around the time of the Battle of Andover in 1644 and imprisoned the Vicar as they did at Longstock. This rood screen was restored in 1850 and finally removed, along with the reredos in 1956-8. A small piece of the moulding has been reserved on the cover of the lovely Renaissance Font which was found neglected in the churchyard, but reinstalled at that time. The chancel roof is arched braced, and is coved above the sanctuary with gold ribs on a blue background which also includes tiny stars. This was done, along with the south wall piscina (washing place for holy vessels) in the Henry Woodyer restoration of 1851-2: opposite this on the north wall is a flamboyant credence table of the same date, where bread and wine are placed ready for their consecration on the altar at the Eucharist.
and placed in the Easter Sepulchre where they remained covered, surrounded by lit candles and watched until the ceremonial removal and uncovering of cross and pyx on Easter Day. But it is on the wrong side of the Church for this (they are usually on the north side). Perhaps it was originally on the north side, but moved to make space for the adding of the chancel vestry. It has no date, but is 16th century in style with a moulded top, columns, and panels which have both renaissance and gothic elements. There are three cusped panels above and below, each holding a shield containing a symbol of the passion, with two panels in the centre with a religious text in 19th century lettering. Henry Burnaby-Greene introduced a stone altar early in his incumbency.
The most prominent and interesting monument in the Church is also the most mysterious. On the south wall of the chancel is what looks like a monument which the Victoria County History calls â€œa modern reminiscence of an Easter Sepulchreâ€?. In the Middle Ages on Good Friday the bread consecrated at Communion on the previous day was taken in a special box (pyx) together with a cross wrapped up in cloth
The Nave and Aisles The nave arcades, each of four bays with circular columns, are the chief features remaining of the original Church, although they were heavily recut in medieval style in the nineteenth century restorations. The capitals are trumpet scalloped, and consist of several varying designs, including one with stiff leaf which is a clear reference to the Early English style. The organ chamber has an arch similar to the arcades, with capitals which look contemporary with the arcade ones. The structure of the old roofs seems to have been originally in two stages, lower over the aisles and higher on the nave. It is not known when the roofs were joined, but it seems to have been before 1830, judging from paintings of that time. Perhaps the most interesting ‘window’ is now only an outline above the South wall. Uncovered during the 1956-8 repair work and restoration, it appears to be one of the old clerestory windows but no evidence has been found of when these were removed. The pulpit was moved to its present position in 1842 and survived the various restorations; an hour-glass stands in a niche at its side. A craving for sermons in the eighteenth century is illustrated by an agreement made at Longparish between the Vicar and the Vestry in 1726 and recorded in one of the registers. The latter undertook to give the Vicar an extra new seat, with him “covenanting to give 14 sermons in the afternoon on full satisfaction.” The appetite for sermons has waned somewhat since then. The wooden eagle lectern was installed in 1839 by Henry Burnaby Greene and the open oak pews are the ones he paid for in 1842.
The Font The 1911 Victoria County History writes of the font, “The font near the west end of the nave has a tall modern canopy which swings on a pivoted iron bracket.” The Victorian Font and its wooden cover – a Gothic fantasy of gables and pinnacles in three tiers, apparently designed by Woodyer – were removed in the 1956-8 restoration of the interior and the 18th century stone Font was returned, with a simple cover incorporating a small panel of the screen.
Detail of the old Font cover
Present Font Cover
Monuments in Church
In the 1830s, a bequest from the will of Robert Adnam financed a new organ and organ gallery over the north door. The existing substantial organ chamber may have been added at that time, as its footprint can be seen in the tithe map of 1841. The current organ was a bequest from Catherine Thompson, a close family friend of Henry Burnaby-Greene, who died in 1883.
The western end of the south aisle has two stone tablets with elegant lettering, †1757 and †1799. Further east, eight tablets †1751-57 to †1969. The north aisle has nine tablets, †1790 to †1983, and the chancel has three tablets, †1906, †1910 and †1933. In the chancel most commemorate past vicars and rectors and the side windows were given by the Burnaby Greene family. Other tablets in the aisles were placed by the Thompson family who came to Forton House in the early 19th century and the Durnford family who were related by marriage to them. Both families also gave windows.
North Aisle West Window
North Aisle East Window
Monuments in Church - Chancel Windows In the south aisle there are some interesting tablets concerning the Widmore family, of Middleton House, Lords of the Manor and landowners in Longparish from 1698, whose charity established by the will of James Widmore in 1825 provided blankets for the poor. In the South West corner of the Church there is an inscription: â€œUnder this stone lies John Widmore, Esqr ... who died 12 March, 1757. Aged 59 years.â€? His remains were found in 1957 when the floor of the South aisle was being relaid, whereupon he was given a second burial service by the Rector, two centuries after his first. Behind the altar Sophia, an 8-year-old girl of the Widmore family, twin of James Widmore, is buried, and her memorial stone can just be seen.
St Anne, dedicated to Anna Burnaby Greene
St Joseph, dedicated to Elborough Woodcock
St Mary, dedicated to Adelaide Burnaby Greene
John the Baptist Statue
Monuments in Church On the North wall are memorials to the Hawker family. The sporting diaries of Colonel Peter Hawker, who died in 1853, have made the names of Longparish and Longparish House known to every sportsman with a love for rod and gun. Two modern sculptures by Peter Eugene Ball have recently been placed on either side of the nave tower door of the church, St Nicholas in 2012 and John the Baptist in 2015. Two icons, one of Christ Pantocrator by Caroline Lees and a Serbian St Nicholas, were placed on the chancel pillars in 2012.
Christ in Glory Icon
St Nicholas Icon
St Nicholas Statue
The Stained Glass All of the windows within the church contain stained glass. There is a good mix of styles from a number of well-known firms, Morris & Co, Clayton and Bell (the chancel side windows), Lavers & Barraud and Hardman. The most interesting are the chancel east window, the north east aisle Aviator’s design and the recently installed Woodcock window. The East Window 1912 by J H Dearle of Morris & Co. It depicts the Nativity, with much use of deep blues, reds and greens. Mary and Child, with angels around them. The stable is depicted as part of a rich outdoor scene amongst trees and fields. It is well drawn, especially the crisp draperies, but rather sober and lacking in animation. According to the Hampshire Papers publication, The Stained Glass Windows of William Morris and his Circle in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, this window is based on two earlier Sir Edward Burne-Jones designs from the 1880s for tapestry and glass:
“The window is handled like a painter’s canvas, with a single picture seemingly stretched across a multi-light window, disregarding the stone mullions which divide it into lights. This is evident in the thatched canopy and wattle fence housing the Virgin and Child which overlap from the centre light into the two side-lights.
The East Window
The Stained Glass The Aviator’s Window 1968 Designed by Francis Skeat, the window is more contemporary in style (in memory of Major Lanoe George Hawker, VC DSO RFC †1916, shot down and killed in aerial combat with ‘The Red Baron’), and the quality is good. It is an animated and dramatic scene with a vigorous Archangel Michael across all three lights on a clear glass background. Bertangles airfield, from which Major Hawker flew, and contemporary airmen are depicted below, relaxed and calm, one just ready to go, the other having just returned. The picture of the airfield is detailed, showing the Bessonier hangars, aircraft and motor vehicles.
The Aviator’s Window
The Stained Glass The Woodcock Window 2015 Designed by Jude Tarrant and given by John Woodcock, himself patron since 1957, in celebration of over 250 years of association of the Woodcock family with the parish as patrons, prebendaries, parsons and members of this church. The Tree of Life is rooted in the text of Psalm 1.3-4, â€œAnd he shall be like a tree planted by the waterside, that will bring forth his fruit in due season. His leaf also shall not wither and whatever he doeth it shall prosper.â€? The window evokes the nearby River Test and a woodcock is flying in the sky.
The Woodcock Window
The Tower The beautiful perpendicular tower at the West end, was possibly constructed from stone from Wherwell Abbey when it was dissolved in 1539. Notice the mixture of flint and large blocks of cut stone and try to identify any of these blocks that show evidence of having been carved and then reused. The tower is divided into three stages with an embattled parapet. It is one of a group of late gothic towers of a local type, similar to those at Barton Stacey and Micheldever, and was built inside the walls of the old Church. The original plaster was found recently continuing on the arcade wall beyond the face of the tower wall. Traces were also found of a balcony across the West end of the Church, a west gallery intended to accommodate bands or ‘choirs’ of village musicians playing traditional instruments, such as viols, hautboys, flutes and serpents. This accounts for the unusually tall arch in the tower. The ringing floor would have been behind this balcony. The tower also has renewed features from the 1851-2 restoration, which do not appear to have reproduced the original design. The belfry window in the west wall was made circular, with scenes from Christ’s life in deep colours, and has a cusped sound hole within it. In 1859 a clock was inserted in memory of Henry’s aunt Anna Dorothea Burnaby Greene †1858.
The Tower Window
Until 1936 the tower contained five bells, by Richard Wells of Aldbourne in Wiltshire (1791). These were rehung in 1897 and recast in 1936 when a sixth bell was added. On the South wall of the belfry is the following inscription, a remnant of the 1880s decoration:
To call the folk to church on time, we chime. When mirth and joy are on the wing, we ring. When we lament a passing soul, we toll.
The main lychgate was renewed in the 1866 restoration by William White. There is a second one serving Forton leading to the footpath across Buckclose. The churchyard was closed to new burials in 1883, when the present Longparish Cemetery was opened. There are some significant carved 18th and 19th century memorial stones worthy of interest including a cast iron Gothic grave marker to Peter and Harriot Pricktoe, NE of the vestry. The Pricktoes were blacksmiths. The stocks outside the churchyard wall are a modern replica.
The Bell Tower
The Pricktoe Graves
The Perry Memorial
Sources Sources from which this Guide has been edited 1. Victoria County History, Citation: ‘Parishes: Longparish’, A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 406-409. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=56843
8. David Bond and Glynis Dear, The Stained Glass Windows of William Morris and his Circle in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Hampshire Papers Publication 1998)
2. Church Appeal Leaflet prepared in 1959 by John Woodcock, Patron of the Church and resident of Longparish, and updated by him in 1986. The watercolour of the Church in 1839 is used by his kind permission from John’s private collection.
9. ed. John Elliott & John Pritchard, Henry Woodyer Gentleman Architect (The University of Reading, 2002)
3. Barry Meehan, web page published on his internet site, dated 25 July 2004: http://www.baxian.org.uk/churches/hants/longparish/st_nicholas.htm. Warm tribute must be paid to this most informative, comprehensively researched and illustrated article, which is particularly well-informed on the developing architecture of the Church, while making clear the questions yet to be resolved. This article has since been taken down.
10. Comments on the original drafts by John Hare, and local resident and historian, Mary Jo Darrah. 11. Martin Coppen, 63 Years a Vicar: Henry Burnaby Greene in Longparish, Hampshire 1821-1884 (Andover, second edition 2016) Guide edited by Martin Coppen, Rector of Longparish, August 2009, revised by Mary Jo Darrah and Martin Coppen 2017
4. Michael Bullen, John Crook, Rodney Hubbuck and Nikolaus Pevsner The Buildings of England: Hampshire: Winchester and the North 2010 5. Letter from Dr Andrew Thomson dated 14th August 2008, regarding Vicars, Rectors and Prebendaries. Artwork/Design - wysiwyggraphic.com 6. J H Parker, Architectural Notes of the Churches and Other Ancient Buildings in the City and Neighbourhood of Winchester (Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute, Winchester 1845). 7. Robin Freeman, The Art and Architecture of Owen Browne Carter, 1806-1859 (Hampshire Papers publication 1991)
St Nicholas, Longparish - A Church Guide
Lithograph of Owen Browne Carterâ€™s drawing of St Nicholas, 1830s-40s