St  Mary's

 

 

There has been a church on this site since the 13th Century. It may have been extended in the 14th but certainly by the 16th century the present bell tower had been added. The church was extensively renovated and enlarged in 1859. The tower at the west end, the chancel, the small chapels to the southeast and the northeast, which now houses the organ, and the arcades of three arches on each side of the nave are all that remain of the old building.

 On the south wall there is a memorial to Viscount Portal of Hungerford and an engraved window to the memory of Sir Robert Stirling Hamilton - the work of Simon Whistler. In the north aisle is a memorial panel to Miss Jessie Sparkes, who came from a family with a long connection with the parish. She lived to the age of 108 years and four months - “a most devout and faithful Christian”.

 In the large churchyard are the graves of Richard Churcher, who endowed Churcher’s College in Petersfield, Admiral of the Fleet  Sir Provo William Parry Wallis, the longest serving Admiral in the Royal Navy, and more recently Colonel “Pat” Porteous V.C. There are also the graves of a number of other noteworthy persons from military and diplomatic backgrounds.

In 2006 St. Mary’s enjoyed the addition of a Church Room that also incorporated a toilet and improved access for the disabled. It was generously funded by local benefactors and parish money and raising events and has proved a boon by encouraging the Sunday School plus numerous other activities and social events.

 The Parish Church is a Grade II* Listed Building which serves an active community. It was most fortunate in 2009 to receive the results of a survey of its fabric and fittings compiled by NADFAS. A photocopy of this record is available for reference in the Church Room library.