In the heart of Medstead, on raised ground and partly shaded by grand yews, is the attractive village church of St. Andrew. Externally, most of the walls are faced with flint, upon which the roof, covered in small clay tiles, and a small wooden bell turret rest - building materials indigenous to this area.
parish n. 1. An area having its own church and clergy. 2. (in full civil parish) A district constituted for purposes of local government. 3. The inhabitants of a parish.
The Parish Church of St. Andrew is the oldest documented building in Medstead. The origins of the Church and the parish of Medstead can be traced back to the Saxon period and the granting of the Liberty of Alresford which covered the present-day parishes of Old Alresford, New Alresford and Medstead.
The Liberty may have originally been granted to the Bishop of Winchester by Cynegils, King of the West Saxons between 611 and 643, upon Cyneglis' baptism and admission into the Christian faith by St. Birinus.
Alternatively, a charter from King Ine in 701 dates the Liberty to the reign of Cynegils' son, Cenwealh, who became King in 643, subsequently converted to Christianity during his exile in 645-648 and ordered a new minster, SS Peter and Paul, to be built at Winchester, which began either in 648 or 660.
Although possibly spurious in origin, this charter does identify the Saxon boundaries of the Liberty:
"These are the landbounds to Alresford. First from Candover on this side, along this side in the White Ditch, along the ditch in the Barrow Meadow, along the boundary ways in the small valley, thence to the Buck's Horn, thence to the ford between the valley, along the valley to the wood, so by the bounds to Greenmeres stile, thence to Lameres gate, from that gate to Bokmeres stile, thence to Bealmeres gate, from that gate to Hamerdene gate, thence to Hremmescumbe gate, thence to Elges (?) gate, thence to Dunnes stile, thence into White Meadow, thence to the Broad Oak, thence along the bounds to Drayton in the ford, from that ford, to Woodford, thence south along the bounds to the southend of the gorse (furze), thence along the bounds into Ewillas, along Ewillas into Tichborne (Ticceburnam), along Tichborne in Itchen where Candover and Itchen come together, along Candover, where it went up."
Translation quoted by John Duthy in Sketches Of Hampshire, 1839.
These boundaries were confirmed in subsequent Anglo-Saxon charters.
The first genuine charter, which appears to date from 963-975, documents the restoration of the Bishopric of Winchester's land at Alresford by King Edgar, hinting that the origin of the Liberty may lie in an earlier period.
The Church is sited upon what is, effectively, an island with several other buildings, including the Church Hall, previously a Victorian school and the site of a Tithe Barn, and Old Rectory Cottage. It is possible the church was once sited on a green, or parcel of glebe land reserved for the church, which has, subsequently, been encroached upon.
The first known reference to the Church is in the Domesday Book of 1086, which confirms the establishment of the Liberty's Mother Church, St. Mary the Virgin, Old Alresford and states:
"In Fawley Hundred Wakelin Bishop of Winchester holds Alresford in lordship. It is and always was in the Bishopric. Before 1066 it answered for 51 hides; now for 42 hides. Land for 40 ploughs. In lordship 10 ploughs;" and it included "3 churches at £4. They paid £6 a year, but they could not bear it." The value of the Bishop's lordship was estimated to be £40.
The third church may be a reference to St. John the Baptist, in what is now New Alresford and which, according to Hampshire Treasures, may be of pre-Conquest origin. Alternatively, according to the Alresford Chamber Of Commerce, it may refer to a now lost chapel, perhaps at Armsworth or Southtown Medstead.
At the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, it is likely St. Andrew's was a small, two-celled chapel built of either flint or wood. The siting of the chapel, close to two burial mounds dating from 1000 BC and an Iron Age ring fort, suggests it may have been built on an existing ritual site.
It appears likely the Church was substantially enlarged or replaced around 1160, to which the oldest work now existing, the North Arcade of the Nave, has been dated. At this time the church was widened by 5 feet 7 inches by the addition of a north aisle.
During works on the church in 1966, Norman foundations were identified along the line of the north wall of the north aisle, which had been removed during alterations made to the church in 1833. A Norman sleeper wall between two of the pillars and acting to strengthen them, was also identified.
The first known Rector of Alresford, and hence St. Andrew's, was Godfrey de Tostes, who served from 1225 to 1280 and who, from 1240, paid William de Waltham to be Curate of our chapel. Godfrey had to fight for the position, however, as it was also claimed by Antony, Canon of St. Antoninus, Piacenza, Italy. After being tried twice in Italy, Godfrey finally won the case in October 1245.
In 1250 the Customs of the Manor of Old Alresford document the earliest known landholders, tenants of the feudal lord, the Bishop of Winchester. They included the Mother Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which held 2 virgates (c64 acres) freely, without rent. The Parson also held certain privileges or rights: to gather firewood from the lord's wood; to graze two horses, eight oxen, one hundred sheep and one ram on the lord's pasture; and to graze one hundred pigs in the lord's woods.
From the evidence of bequests made in wills, further repairs and extensions seem to have been carried out in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. In July 1561 Robert Wacke, or Wake, bequeathed one sheep "for the repairing of the Church at Medstyd", and in 1625, William Budd, a Hattingley yeoman, left 11/8 for "repairing the Parish Church".
Other wills of the period made gifts for maintaining the upkeep and fabric of the church. In 1570, for example, John Budd, a substantial Medstead farmer, left "two sheep towards maintaining the Church of Medsteid".
In 1633 Peter Heylin, Sub-Dean of Westminster, Chaplain to King Charles I, distinguished theologian, historian and passionate Royalist, was appointed Rector. In 1640 he was deposed by Oliver Cromwell and his goods were confiscated. In 1642, during fighting in the Civil War, he was forced to flee to Winchester by Sir William Waller's troops, who had been sent to arrest him.
Subsequently, he wandered the countryside between Winchester and Oxford in disguise, suffering many hardships before falling into ill-health and suffering blindness.
After the Restoration in 1661 he was reinstated as Rector by Charles II, but died the following year. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, where his memorial, placed by "his sorrowful wife", tells of "a supporter of the church and the King's majesty".
The church at that time faced a problem with resonance today, that of declining attendances. In 1672 during a "Visitation" to St. Andrew's, Justin Turner, his wife and John Bone were "presented" to the visiting Archdeacon for not coming to church and receiving the Sacrament.
In 1737 John Hoadly was appointed Rector. He was the son of Benjamin Hoadly, a controversial and prolific preacher and writer on politics and religion, who had been appointed chaplain to George I in 1715 and Bishop successively of Bangor (1715), Hereford (1721), Salisbury (1723) and Winchester (1734).
Cambridge educated, John Hoadly had studied Law and was a poet and dramatist, authoring at least one play himself, The Housekeeper. He is also credited with assisting his brother, Dr. Benjamin Hoadly, physician to the Royal Household and a Fellow of the Royal Society, with his popular and successful comedy The Suspicious Husband. First performed in February 1747 in Covent Garden, it starred David Garrick in the part of Ranger.
John Hoadly was also appointed chaplain to Frederick, Prince of Wales and was Master of St. Cross, Winchester, from 1760-1776.
In 1797 Bishop North of Winchester appointed his son Francis, sixth Earl of Guildford, to be Rector of Alresford, including the parishes of Old Alresford, Medstead and New Alresford. The nepotism of Bishop North, himself appointed by his brother, Frederick Lord North, Prime Minister to George III from 1770 to 1782, was well known. According to Cobbett he had endowed ten of his relations with:
"twenty-four Livings, five Prebends, one Chancellorship, one Archdeaconship, and one Mastership, worth perhaps, all together, more than twenty thousand pounds a-year."
Source: William Cobbett, History of the Protestant Reformation in England, Letter IV, February 1825.
During Francis North's Rectorship in 1833 the, then, narrow, Norman arch between the Chancel and the Nave was replaced with the wider, pointed archway we see today and in 1848 the nave was repaired at a cost of £200.
At that time the dimensions of the church were similar to those of the twelfth century: the Chancel being 22 feet by 13 feet 8 inches and the Nave 28 feet by 17 feet, excluding the North Aisle, which retained its original width of 5 feet 7 inches. Except for the lengthening of the Nave and the addition of a North transept, these measurements still stand today.
Nine years earlier, in 1839, the following account of the church was printed in Sketches Of Hampshire by John Duthy:
"The church at Medstead, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a rude old structure, garbled, and patched, and plastered over with modern repairs, amidst which a few features peep out hinting at its remote origin. There is a large dilapidated window at the west end, with a pointed arch and foliated head; also two small narrow windows on each side of the chancel, those towards the north retaining their trefoiled heads and square dripstones. In the inside, dividing the north aisle from the body of the church, are two short massy pillars, supporting plain semi-circular arches, which are probably Saxon, or very early Norman, confirming the observation that this is one of the three churches mentioned in Domesday as then existing within the precincts of Alresford. There is also a pointed arch separating the chancel from the nave; across its span stretches a wooden beam, in the centre of which appears a dovetailed mortise; which was probably intended to receive the rood or cross, and is now filled up with wood of a different kind."
From the tenth century, when they were made obligatory by Edmund I, until 1936, when they were abolished in England, Rectors were entitled to receive the tithe, a tax for the church of one-tenth of the annual produce of the land. It was used to support the clergy, assist the poor and maintain the church.
North's abuses appear to have been commonly known:
"the foundation of Saint Cross... is a very interesting old place, both for its gothic tower and alms-square and for the appropriation of its rich rents to a relation of the Bishop of Winchester".
John Keats, Letter to George and Georgiana Keats, September 1819.
"What is seen at the hospital of Holy Cross now? Alas! TEN poor creatures... and THREE out-pensioners; and to those an attorney from Winchester carries, or sends, weekly, the few pence... that are allowed them! But the place of the 'Master' is, as I have heard, worth a round sum annually. I do not know exactly what it is; but, the post being a thing given to a son of the Bishop... it is not a trifle."
William Cobbett, History of the Protestant Reformation in England, Letter IV, February 1825.
The Rev. Henry Holloway estimated North had, during his incumbency, received profits of around £90,000 from St. Cross; £121,900 from St. Mary's and £80,000 from Alresford, the latter two exclusive of glebes, fees and houses.
The Times, December 10, 1853 and January 6, 1854.
When North left Alresford, among the possessions he sold were fifteen four-poster beds, sixty-two cases of wines and spirits, and two butts of ale.
A Field Guide to the English Country Parson, Thomas Hinde, 1984.
To put this into perspective, North paid his Curate at St. Andrew's £60 a year.
A Chronicle Of Medstead, Lorents Rathbone, 1966.
During North's tenure in 1836, the tithe in England was commuted for a rent charge which depended upon the price of grain. Consequently, in 1842, a meeting was held at the Windmill Inn, now in Four Marks, at which North claimed the tithes, which had previously been taken in kind, as a charge for the parish. This amounted to £580 a year. The money was to be used to enlarge the Rectory, now Old Rectory Cottage in Castle Street, for the permanent use of North and his successors.
By 1847 North had disposed of the parish Tithe Barn, which had been made redundant by commuting the tithes into money, and the Bishop Of Winchester conveyed the land to the Rector and Churchwardens to build a school "for the education of children... of the labouring, manufacturing and other poorer classes in the parish."
As Rector, North received an income of £1,410, as well as the houses, fees and glebes, lands reserved for the church. Six months after assuming the position, he was also appointed Rector of St Mary's, Southampton and in 1808 he was also appointed Master of St. Cross, Winchester. He was also Prebendary of Winchester.
This plurality provided opportunities which North exploited to increase his personal wealth. During his near half-century incumbency, North received, according to estimates somewhere between £45,000 and £305,000.
North's corruption was not exposed until 1849, when a campaign to end his abuses by the Rev. Henry Holloway of St. Faith, Winchester was reported in the press, leading to questions in the House of Commons and an enquiry into the running of his parishes and the appropriation of the revenues of St. Cross. The enquiry and consequent litigation lasted for four years.
The scandal appeared in a Times leader, in December 1853:
"No sane and honest man could imagine that the revenues of The Hospital of St Cross and the Almshouses of noble poverty were intended to aggrandise and to enrich the son of a bishop, the canon of a cathedral, the incumbent of two rich livings, and a peer of the realm..."
As the enquiry's judgement was being published, Parliament passed The Charitable Trusts Act, 1853, which created, for the first time, a permanent Charity Commission.
North was forced to resign as Rector in 1850 and as Master of St Cross in 1855. He died, aged 89 in 1861. The Times noted in its obituary on February 1st 1861: "[A]ll the world knows how [St. Cross] was for 40 years plundered by its appointed guardian."
The scandal influenced the author Anthony Trollope, who used it as the basis for his classic novel The Warden, published in 1855, and as inspiration for his subsequent Barchester series, which satirised contemporary clerical life.
All this day, O Lord,
let me touch as many lives as possible for thee;
and every life I touch, do thou by thy spirit quicken,
whether through the word I speak,
the prayer I breathe, or the life I lead.
North was succeded as Rector by George Sumner, son of the then Bishop of Winchester. He was also the husband of Mary Sumner, better known as the founder, in 1876, of the Mother's Union. Inspired by the birth of her grandaughter, a "Union of Mothers" grew out of monthly meetings Mary organised for women of the parish, in Old Alresford Rectory, to promote good parenting, strengthen marriage and preserve family life through Christianity.
A memorial to Mary Sumner, commemorating her life and work, is in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Old Alresford.
In the Liberty of Alresford, St. Mary the Virgin had been established as the Mother Church at Old Alresford with chapelries of St. John the Baptist at New Alresford and St. Andrew at Medstead. Except for brief periods most of this land remained in the hands of the Bishop Of Winchester, as Chief Lord of the Liberty of Alresford, and St. Andrew's remained a chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, served by a Curate appointed by the Rector of Old Alresford, until 1850.
In 1850 the church ceased to be a chapelry of Old Alresford, in 1870 the patronage of the living passed to the Earl Of Litchfield then, on May 6th 1873, to the Lord Chancellor acting on behalf of the Crown. The living of Old Alresford was divided into three parishes: Medstead, New Alresford and Old Alresford and Medstead became an independent parish with its own incumbent.
Between 1853 and 1861 significant alterations were made to the church and, in essence, these alterations provided the building we see today.
During this period a tower in the middle of the nave was demolished and the Nave lengthened to 45 feet, the old corner stone being exactly where the south door now stands. A tower and belfry at the west end was built and the south door with a gated porch added. Tradition has it the south door was added because the low north door knocked off the top hats of the yeomen farmers as they entered the Church.
The Church was entirely re-roofed, new buttresses built, the stonework of the windows repaired, a new north transept and vestry built and a new east window inserted to replace the old window, which had a wooden frame, a cross piece of wood and a semi-circular top.
To the left hand side of the Chancel step, a memorial to Frederick Graeme Middleton, Rector of St. Andrew's between 1851-1863, records the church was enlarged and restored in 1853. W. White's Directory of Hampshire & the Isle Of Wight, 1859, records the chancel was repaired in 1854 at a cost of £200.
In Memory Of Ours
J. Andrews; R. Budd
H.R. Butt; A. Doe
L.R. Eyden; H. Eyden
H. Gardner; F. Gotelee
W.A. Harfield; H.F. Hole
F. Holland; E. Hooker
P.F. Musgrave; G.W.S. Paine
A.E. Purchase; H. Purchase
M.R. Smith; W. Talmage
F.W. Wake; W. Williams
"These Laid The World Away"
Also In Memory Of
W.J. Appleton QRR;
R.L. Bradford RAF;
A.E.F. Giles RAF;
I.A.H. Gliddon RAF;
A.J. Markham SWB;
F.R. Stokes RAC;
W.W. White RN;
J.E. Woolston RA
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
For The Fallen
Laurence Robert Binyon
More details on the Medstead War Memorial
A nineteenth century plaque in the inner vestry acknowledges the Incorporated Society for Buildings & Churches granted £60 towards enlarging the church on the condition 136 seats were "reserved for the poorer inhabitants of this parish".
The Incorporated Church Building Society archive contains a plan dated 1859-1861 for a new west end, north transept (although a Medstead Tithe Map of 1845 which appears to show a north transept hints it may have been built earlier) and vestry, with reseating and repairs. The Post Office Directory Of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, 1875, records the church was "enlarged and restored in 1860, at an outlay of about £1,000", which according to W. White's Directory of Hampshire & the Isle Of Wight, 1878 was "raised by subscription".
The Hampshire Chronicle, dated 8th December 1860, reports:
"Medstead Church was reopened for divine service on Tuesday the 4th last. During the last year the old building, with the exception of the chancel and some Norman arches, had been pulled down, and a new church, more architectural in design and more suited in accommodation to the wants of the parish, has been erected in its stead. It has been rebuilt under the superintendent, Mr. Christian, and much taste has been displayed in its architecture and arrangements.
Morning service commenced at 11.30am. Prayers were read by the Rev. F.M. Middleton, and the sermon was preached by the Bishop of Winchester. The text his lordship selected for the occasion was the 11th verse of Isaiah 1v. The weather was rather unfavourable but it did not hinder a goodly company from witnessing the interesting ceremony. After morning prayers, the Bishop and about 70 of the neighbouring clergy and friends of the Incumbent sat down to luncheon in the schoolroom. Universal regret was expressed by the company present on account of the illness of the much respected Incumbent of the parish. His absence was very feelingly alluded to by the Bishop in his speech. The evening service was at 6.30pm. Prayers were read by the Very Rev. W, Standen, curate of Medstead, and the Rev. Thomas Clarke preached on Ephesians ii.v.21. The collections (including a donation of £25 from the Bishop) amounted to £75 7s 7d."
The first independent Rector of Medstead was the Reverend Maurice Allen Smelt who served St. Andrew's from 1863 to 1867.
The church was unheated, except for an open fire in the vestry, until 1882 when hot-air heating was installed, the east end of the north aisle being blocked-off to form a new boiler house. The work necessitated the removal of the east window of the north aisle, the window was re-built into the east wall of the organ loft. The hot-air furnace was replaced in 1926 with a central heating system and solid fuel boiler at a cost of £125. The solid fuel boiler was replaced with an oil fired boiler in 1971.
The church gate was erected in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
A new cemetery of three-quarters of an acre on South Town Road, opposite the village green, was formed and consecrated in 1884 under the control of a Burial Board, at a cost of £150.
The clock in the tower, according to a plaque in the south wall of the Nave, was erected by public subscription by the inhabitants of Medstead in June 1911, to commemorate the coronation of King George V. It was built by J.W. Benson of Ludgate Hill, London and is still wound, weekly, by hand as it was when it was installed.
Kelly's Directory of Hampshire describes the church as it appeared in 1911:
"The church of St. Andrew is an ancient structure of flints, consisting of chancel, nave, north aisle, small north transept, south porch and a belfry containing 3 bells; there is a Norman arcade, in an excellent state of preservation; the church was enlarged and restored in 1860, at an outlay of £1,000; it affords 210 sittings. The register dates from the year 1560. The living is a rectory, net income £283, with 7 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor."
The Grade II listed war memorial in the church grounds commemorates the twenty-eight men of the parish who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars. It was sculpted, by Messrs G. Maile and Sons of Euston Road, London, in un-polished Cornish granite and is approached by five stone steps by Messrs Jeffery and Son of Medstead. The memorial was unveiled on 17th October 1920 by Admiral Jervoise and was dedicated by the then rector, Revd Fulton.
benefice n. term used in the Church of England to describe a group of parishes amalgamated under a single stipendiary minister, perhaps supported by lay members, curates or non-stipendiary ministers.
In 1945 the ecclesiastical parishes of Medstead and Wield became a united benefice, remaining so until 2003 when the churches of St. Mary's Bentworth, St. Mary's Lasham, St. Andrew's Medstead and St. Peter & St. Paul Shalden became the united benefice of Bentworth, Lasham, Medstead and Shalden whilst Wield became part of the united benefice of Wield and the Candovers.
In 1963 St Andrew's was listed as a Grade II building, confirmed by East Hampshire District Council as a building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, Grade II, in 1985.
In 1966 the bells were re-hung, the Chancel roof stripped and made sound, the interior was redecorated, the font was moved from inside the south door to its current position in the north aisle and some of the old grave stones used to replace Victorian floor tiles in the area between the Chancel and the Nave, these having been removed from the churchyard in 1947 to facilitate mowing. The earliest of these, in remarkably good condition, can be seen at the entrance to the arch by the font and records the death of 10-year-old John Budd in 1706, whilst the latest gravestone commemorates Frederick Wakely, who died in 1880.
In 1970 an appeal was raised for £1,000 to carry out quinquennial inspection repairs and to repair stonework. The east window was almost completely rebuilt in 1972. The hanging candelabra in the nave, each with eight candleholders, were made locally in 1977. In 1985 pews were removed from the north transept and the revealed chalk and earth floor was covered with further gravestones.
In 2004 the main roofs were re-tiled, the tower roof re-shingled, the boarding on the tower walls and the leadwork around the tower replaced, and the clockface and cockerel weathervane refurbished. The weathervane not only indicates the wind direction, but reminds us of how the disciple Peter, brother of Andrew, denied Christ three times before the crowing of the cock, as foretold by Jesus during the Last Supper.
In 2006 St. Andrew's launched an Organ Appeal which successfully raised the funds required to purchase a new organ.
The previous organ, by J.W. Walker & Sons dated from 1883, when it was installed in a new organ loft in an north extension to the Chancel, replacing the first known organ which, from a plan of 1860, was located at the east end of the north aisle. Originally hand-blown, a motor-driven organ blower was installed in a lean-to shed when, in 1933, electric lighting was installed in the church.
The Walker organ was a single manual, eight stop organ and an interesting period piece, with some very good pipework of the period. However, despite regular servicing and maintenance, it had begun to fail and was in need of extensive, and expensive, overhaul and restoration.
Following consultation with the Organs Advisor to the Diocese of Winchester it was decided the best way forward was install a high quality, modern digital organ, integrated with the existing casing whilst retaining the original pipework in situ, so the aesthetic appeal of the Walker organ was maintained.
The Walker organ was last used on 19th November, 2006 when it was played at the 11.00am service of Family Communion, its last hymn being Lord, the light of your love is shining. The new organ was first used at our 3.30pm Crib Service, playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star on Christmas Eve, 2006. It was dedicated and blessed by the Bishop of Basingstoke, The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, at a benefice-wide Holy Communion Service, on Sunday, March 11th, 2007.
The present Church Hall and School House Cottage is the site of the original Medstead School. This school was built under the Rectorship of Francis North between 1847 and 1849 at a cost of £165, on the site of the old Tithe Barn. In 1869 £565 was raised for the rebuilding of the school and the addition of a schoolhouse for the accommodation of the schoolmaster. In 1911 a parcel of land to the east of the school was given by the Silver family to the church and was put to use first as a school garden, then as a playground. In 1926 the Revd E.W. Silver donated a further small piece of land to extend the playground.
In 1974 the initial phase of a new school building on Roe Downs Road was completed for infants from the old school which remained open until 1984, when the new school was extended to accept juniors. With the old school now redundant, the school house was sold in 1982 and the playground reverted to the Silver family who obtained planning permission to build two houses on the land which was sold to St. Andrew's in 1987. The two houses are now 1 and 2, Old School Cottages.
After two applications by the church to redevelop the site were turned down by East Hampshire District Council, the church converted the old school into a Church Hall, using the money raised from the sale of the playground to fund the conversion. The Church Hall was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Michael Manktelow, Bishop of Basingstoke in 1991, at our patronal festival on 30th November. A plaque in the hall, dedicated to the greater glory of God and the work of St. Andrew's and referencing 2 Timothy 2:15, commemorates the occasion.
The teak seat in the churchyard, between the South Door and the Church Hall, overlooking Old Rectory Cottage is in memory of Brigadier Gris Davies-Scourfield CBE, MC, DL (1918-2006) and was dedicated by the Revd Canon Roger Holloway at the Parish Communion service on Sunday, 16th August, 2009.
"Parish church. Mentioned in Domesday, enlarged by the construction of a north aisle in 1160 (this arcade still remaining as the chief feature), C19 restoration, including a chancel arch of 183" and nave extension (and west tower demolished) of 1851.
Chancel, nave with north aisle, extended without further arcading to form a vestry, south porch, western bell turret. Flint walls and tiled roof.
The appearance is that of a Victorian church; plain roof with timber bell-turret, having a pyramid tile roof and boarded walls. Flint walls (cemented to the chancel) with stone dressings; buttresses, coupled traceried lights (3 lights east and west windows), single C14 windows in the chancel.
Inside the 2 round arches rest on massive cylindrical and ½-cylindrical columns, which have square abaci with scalloped caps and moulded bases, on square plinths. There is a C13 moulded 3-lobed bracket, which once supported a statue next to the east window, but is now positioned next to the south door. There are many floor slabs of the C18 and early C19, in the aisle, and some wall monuments (of 1770 and 1801)."
Archaeology and Historic Buildings Record, Hampshire County Council.
Items of particular interest in the church today include the North Arcade of the Nave, which dates from about 1160 and consists of two bays with semicircular, chamfered arches and round columns with square scallop capitals and moulded bases. The eastern face of the centre column's capital records that HC was there in 1713, one of a number of interesting carvings in the stonework around the church.
Also worthy of merit are the fourteenth century net tracery and trefoil lights on the north and south sides of the Chancel and a curious, possibly contemporary, three-lobed stone window bracket.
This corbel of three engaged shafts with foliage is from the thirteenth or fourteenth century and is possibly French in origin. It was formerly an image bracket on the north side of the east window and is now on the left of the south door as you enter, below the poor box.
In the south wall of the Chancel are two pointed fourteenth century trefoil lancet windows, with stained glass dating from c1890 made by Heaton, Butler & Bayne.
The most easterly depicts Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me and I will refresh you". The most westerly depicts John 10:11, "I am the Good Shepherd", and is dedicated to George Martin, second son of Alfred and Mary Bonham Carter, who died in September 1890, aged 9.
Alfred Bonham Carter was a younger brother of John Bonham Carter, MP for Winchester and one of the promoters of the construction of the Alton, Alresford & Winchester Railway in 1861, which today is the Watercress Line.
Scratched into the bottom right hand corner of the stone surrounding this window can be seen three small, primitive, votive crosses. Such crosses are usually made by people, about to make a journey such as, perhaps, a Crusade, who pledged themselves to make an offering of thanks to the Church upon their safe return.
The altar is wooden and contains a 45cm square stone tablet, or mensa, which is let into the table top. The mensa bears five incised crosses, representing the five wounds of Christ, and marking the points where, when the altar was consecrated, it was anointed with holy oil at each corner and in the middle. The altar was built in 1947 and the mensa is taken from the previous altar.
The east window in the Sanctuary, made in 1875 by Hardman, has three main lights. The north light depicts the six disciples with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The centre light shows Christ with the stigmata. The south light shows the remainder of the disciples.
The window is dedicated to the memory of Major Francis Augustus Halliday, Catherine Mary Halliday and Georgina Elizabeth Halliday. According to the Times Of India, Georgina, daughter of Major F.A. Halliday died, aged 19, in Medstead on January 4th 1863. Francis Halliday's grandson, General Sir Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday VC, KCB, was born at Medstead House on 14th May, 1870. Son of Lieutenant Colonel Stratford Charles Halliday and educated in Guernsey, he entered the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1889 as a Second Lieutenant. Following various postings around the south coast, and having been promoted to Captian in 1898, he embarked in HMS Orlando bound for China the following year.
Aged 30, Captain Halliday was in command of the British Contingent at the Foreign Legations in Pekin during the Boxer Rebellion when the following incident, recorded in his diary, took place - for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy which can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
"I was sent with six Marines and six civilians to help the Japs, who, however, said they were able to hold their own; so came back to find a bad attack on the south-west stable. Led sortie among some ruined houses. Went down a narrow alley and came upon five men with rifles round the corner of a house. One immediately plugged me in the shoulder cutting the left brace of my Sam Browne belt in half. I then began to empty my revolver into them, as they were only a yard away there was no question of missing. I finished four and the fifth bolted round another corner. The men had then come up and I told them to go on. I found my way back to the hole in the wall through which I was helped. Poole helped me to the hospital and dressed me there. Had no pain to speak of. That finished my active share in the siege which was rather hard luck."
Source: The Royal Marines and the Victoria Cross by Matthew Grant Little, published by the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea, 2002. Quotation and image reproduced with permission from the Director of the Royal Marines Museum. Thanks also to A.J. Davie, Reading Branch of the Royal Marines Association.
A despatch by Sir Claude MacDonald, dean of the Diplomatic Colony appeared in The London Gazette and was used at his award of the Victoria Cross on 1st January 1901. In 1908 he married Florence Clara, only daughter of Brigadier General William Budgen, DSO. He died at Dorking, Surrey on 9th March 1966 and is buried in Medstead Cemetery.
Also in the Chancel can be found a plain marble wall-memorial to John Downes, native of Carmarthen and curate of Medstead and Wield, erected by Robert Thomas, curate of New Alresford. He died while still a young man in 1770, and the memorial celebrates the "long and affectionate friendship" of the two curates.
In the north wall of the Chancel are two rounded fourteenth century trefoil lancet windows. The most easterly, with stained glass made by Heaton, Butler & Bayne and dating from c1890, depicts Jesus with the Blessed Virgin Mary with a quotation from Luke 2:41-52, "I must be about my father's business". It is dedicated to Donald Stuart Parker, born on August 23rd, 1874 and who died on February 11th, 1879. He was the eldest son of the then Rector of St. Andrew's, Charles Stuart Parker and his wife, Alice Maude Darroch.
The most westerly, with stained glass dating from c1886, depicts the Madonna and Child. with a quotation from Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God". It is dedicated to Harriet Purefoy Jervoise, who died at Medstead House on April 9th, 1886, aged 75. She was the widow of the Rev. Charles Causton, Rector of St. Mary's, Lasham between 1865 and 1881.
Scratched into the bottom left hand corner of the stone surrounding this window can be seen two further small votive crosses.
The sandstone font, located at the east end of the north aisle, is Victorian and was moved to its present position from inside the south door in 1966 to increase seating capacity. Between two roof trusses to the west of the south door can be seen the iron bar previously used to lift a large, ornate font cover, a practice discontinued when it was considered dangerous.
The font now has a simple wooden lid. Originally, covers were used to protect the water from dirt, dust or even theft, because the water was blessed once, on Easter day, then left for use throughout the year. Today, the water used in Baptism is blessed on the day and we use a portable, glass font engraved with words taken from Matthew 3:11: "I baptise with water but Jesus baptises with the Holy Spirit and fire".
The font's octagonal shape, mirrored by the Pulpit opposite, symbolises Jesus, the incarnation of God (represented by a circle) on earth (represented by a square) and the contact between heaven and earth which occurs at Baptism and when preaching. This is also reflected in the quotation, from 2 Corinthians 4:5 which is carved around the pulpit: "We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord". The pulpit is most probably Victorian, and was restored an re-erected in 1949. During the interior works undertaken in 1966, a small, brick-lined hole - to the north of the Chancel arch and adjacent to the present position of the font - was uncovered, possibly marking the site of an earlier pulpit.
Standing by the font, it is possible to form a view of the narrow Norman north aisle, the east and west ends of which still exist; the addition of the north transept in the mid-nineteenth century having removed most of the then external north wall of this aisle.
Near the font, on the eastern wall of the north transept, there is a beautifully-crafted baptismal roll which records the children baptised at St. Andrew's between November 1985 and September 1991.
Also on the east wall of the north transept a banner depicting the words "Love, by this shall all men know that you are my disciples", in silver letters on a maroon background, is from John 13:35 and commemorates the ministry of David Bray, Rector of St. Andrew's between 2000 and 2002. Made by some of David's friends, it was dedicated in November 2004.
Nearby, on the opposite wall, is a memorial tablet to Adelaide Causton who worshipped constantly at the church for 47 years. She was the youngest daughter of Harriet Purefoy, the subject of a memorial window in the Chancel, and the Rev. Charles Causton. The pannelling around the east wall by the altar is also dedicated to her memory.
The church contains a number of other interesting stained glass windows. The window in the south wall of the Nave, for example, which depicts St. Elizabeth and St. Jeanne d'Arc is in memory of a mother, Ethel Agnes Zambra, who died on 15th December 1911, and of her baby daughter, Ethel Joyce Margaret, who died on 14th April 1912, the following spring. Ethel Agnes Zambra (née Lockland) was born in c1890, the eldest daughter of James Laughland, married Nelson Zambra in 1905 and also had a son, Warren Zambra, born in 1910.
St. Elizabeth, in Hebrew "worshipper of God", was the mother of John the Baptist and is the patron saint of pregnant women. Her story is found in Luke, Chapter 1. Having reached an advanced age apparently barren, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth and announced she would conceive a son. Soon after the Annunciation and during Elizabeth's pregnancy the Virgin Mary visited her and spoke the hymn of praise known as the Magnificat. Elizabeth's feast day is on November 5th.
St. Jeanne d'Arc (1412-1431), the French national heroine, raised the siege of Orléans, was wounded during the battle to recapture Paris and was taken prisoner by the English, following a skirmish near Compiègne, during the Hundred Years' War. During her trial she asserted visions from God had told her to liberate France from the English. She was executed for heresy when she was 19 years old.
Subsequently declared an innocent martyr by Pope Callixtus III in 1455, she was canonised as a saint in 1920. The window is notable since the maker's mark in the lower right hand corner, a stylised AKN denoting A K Nicholson, dates it to 1914, six years before she was canonised.
To the left of St. Jeanne, the inscription on the streamer wrapped around the sword, "De Par Le Roy Du Ciel" "The King of Heaven Commands It", is taken from St. Jeanne's battle standard, which was painted at Tours before her march to the relief of Orléans. Beneath the figures of the Saints, the Latin text Amor and Fides translates to Love and Faith.
Also depicted in the window is St. Catherine, "the pure one", a virgin and martyr. Following her protest against the Roman emperor's violent persecution of the Christians she was scourged, imprisoned and condemned to die on a spiked wheel. However, this instrument of torture was miraculously destroyed at her touch and she was finally beheaded, the wheel becoming her emblem.
Immensely popular during the Middle Ages, it was claimed she appeared to Jeanne d'Arc and, together with St. Margaret, became divinely appointed her adviser. This is the scene depicted in the panel below St. Jeanne d'Arc.
Moving down the nave, on the wall by the south door a board records the Rectors who have served St. Andrew's since 1225, and is in in memory of Daphne Chivers, who served our church as Sacristan between 1973 and 1987.
The Rectors' Board was dedicated in June, 2008 together with the oak noticeboard in the churchyard by the Church gate. The noticeboard gives thanks for the life of Val Prior, flower arranger, choir and PCC member at St. Andrew's between 1974 and 2007.
At the end of the nave is the tower with a belfry containing three bells, dated 1655, 1660 and 1705. The most westerly of the bells, 25½ inches in diameter, bears the inscription "Samuel Knight made mee 1705". Knight, a noted bellfounder based in Holborn, London, who also made bells for, amongst others, St Mary's Church, Bentley, Hampshire, Southwark Cathedral and St. Sepulchre's Newgate, was the last of a long line of bellfounders who started work at Reading in 1518.
The other two bells - the easterly treble, 23 inches in diameter and dated 1655 and the central tenor, 28 inches in diameter, dated 1660 and at 4¼cwt the largest of the three bells - were probably cast by Henry Knight.
In about 1825 a cricket team from Medstead played at West Meon. A member of the team spotted a bell lying in an adjacent farmyard. It was agreed if Medstead won, the bell was the prize. It was duly brought back and, after being used for some years at Towngate Farm, now Medstead House, to call labourers from the fields, is now one of the three in the church, most probably the treble.
In 1966 the bells were re-hung by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel Foundry and fitted with levers to allow the bells to be chimed, but not rung as there is insufficient room in the belfry for the bells to swing full circle.
The Church records are complete from 1560 to the present, except for a gap in burials between 1702-1738. The earliest book of registers begins in 1560, baptisms continue until 1732, marriages until 1723 and burials until 1702. A second book runs from 1732 to 1779, a third from 1780 to 1812.
The plate consists of an Elizabethan silver Chalice, or communion cup, of 1563, with incised bands of ornament on the bowl and foot, and a flat Paten, probably of local make, dated 1680. There are also a modern silver Chalice and Paten, purchased from Selbourne in 1948.
The church also possesses a brass cross of Abyssinian workmanship, from King Theodore's chapel at Magdale.
The plain cross on the north wall of the nave below the belfry, is modern.
The cross is empty, without a figure of Jesus hanging upon it. It is a cross from which the intended victim has defied torture and death by crucifixion, and has risen again in new life and glory.
It is both symbolic of the power of God and a message of hope, which we invite you to take away with you from your visit to our church.
Rectors & Rectories
As St. Andrew's Church was attached to Old Alresford, the advowson - the right to nominate a person to hold a church office in a parish - followed the descent of Alresford. Consequently, Rectors of St Andrew's were appointed by the Bishop of Winchester. In 1873, following the separation of Medstead from Old Alresford, the incumbent at St. Andrew's was formally appointed by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Crown. When the benefice of Bentworth, Lasham, Medstead and Shalden was formed in 2003 the patronage became the gift, alternately, of the Crown and the Jervoise family, who previously held the patronage of Bentworth, Lasham and Shalden.
The following have served as incumbents at St. Andrew's since 1225:
||Godfrey de Tostes
||William de Waltham
||Jordan de Marisco
||T F Baker
||John de Eydene
||John de Donestaple
||Dr Hamlet Marshall
||Peter Starkey BA
||Adam de Wamberghe
||Dr Peter Heylin
||John de Nebbeleghe
||George Henry Sumner DD
Later Archdeacon of Winchester
Then Bishop of Guildford
||Thomas de Edyndone
||Frederick Graeme Middleton MA
||Thomas of Enham
||Walter de Sevenhampton
||John R Gurney
||Dr Peter Heylin
||Maurice Allen Smelt MA
||Dr George Beaumont BD
Prebendary of Winchester
||Edgar Silver MA
||Bishop Beaufort's Register is missing from 1415-1447
||Charles Stuart Parker Darroch MA
||William Needham BD
||Edward Arthur Bradney
||Frank Edward Bignold
||Brian de Holme
Prebendary of Winchester
||A R Wilson
||Dr John Hoadly LLD
Chancellor of Winchester
||J Fraser Fulton
||W J Riley
||W C Edwards
of All Souls
||Geoffrey C Harris MA
||Dr William Buller
Prebendary of Winchester
Later Bishop of Exeter
||George Kenneth Matthews
||John Docker BA
||William Harrison BA
||Terry Smith MSc
Earl Of Guildford
Prebendary of Winchester
Later Bishop Of Winchester
||George Coulthard BA
||John Powell BA
||George Coulthard BA
The earliest Medstead Rectory, which may date from the seventeenth century, is Old Rectory Cottage on Castle Street. In 1842, the then Rector, Francis North, claimed tithes of £580 per year as a charge for the parish to be used to enlarge this Rectory for the permanent use of North and his successors. However, during the incumbency of the first independent Rector of Medstead, the Reverend Maurice Allen Smelt (1863-1867) this Rectory was sold for £104 and a new Rectory was built at the top of Common Hill.
After the second world war, what is now known as Church House at the top of Trinity Hill became the Rectory. In 1971 a new Rectory, The Rectory was built slightly further down Trinity Hill and Church House became privately owned. Since 2003, and the creation of the benefice of Bentworth, Lasham, Medstead and Shalden, the Rector has resided in Bentworth Rectory, and Medstead's Rectory has been put at the disposal of the Diocese of Winchester.
Read more about the life of our patron, Saint Andrew - the first Apostle: