Explore the Parish Churches
A guide to exploring the architecture and history of some of our most distinctive churches in Test Valley. Discover a selection of historical artifacts from medieval stain glass windows, wall paintings, monuments and brasses, embroidery and fonts.
Visit the grave of Florence Nightingale at St Margarets in East Wellow, the oldest font from Saxon times at Hurstbourne Tarrant Church, the Virgin Crowns at St Mary's Church in Abbot's Ann are one of the finest collections in the country.
The Visitor Information Centre holds an up to date list of all churches in the borough if you wish to check opening times. Churches listed below are ordered north to south.
Contact the Visitor Information Centre.
St Peter, Hurstbourne Tarrant, SP11 0AA
From its vantage point overlooking the Bourne Valley this church has seen nearly a thousand years pass. All centuries have left their mark... the Norman door arch and nave columns... the medieval wall paintings, with their 'dire warning'... its shingled tower and spire supported by the massive traunks of English oak forming the bell-ringing chamber... the Victorian chancel and th engraved glass of the Millennium window... all in harmonious relationship.
St George, Enham Alamein, SP11 6HN
Enham village became Enham Alamein in 1945, when the Egyptian government gave £225,000 to Britain in gratitude for the victory at the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. A special service is held here every year on the Sunday nearest the date of the battle. Stained glass windows show the badges of the Mediterranean Fleet, The Western Desert Air Force and The Eighth Army, and other formations which took part.
St Mary, Andover, SP10 1DP
This is the latest of several churches on the site; it is a beautiful Victorian gothic building, given to the town in 1840 by Dr.Goddard, a former headmaster of Winchester College. The conversion of Norway to Christianity began here in 994, when Olaf the Viking chieftain was confirmed in the Christian faith by Alphege, Bishop of Winchester. Its stained glass windows are an excellent example of the art from 1840 to the present day.
St Mary the Virgin, Abbotts Ann, SP11 7NR
The influence of Sir Christopher Wren can clearly be seen in the design of this church built in 1716, which was given to the village by Thomas Pitt, ancestor of two renowned Prime Ministers, William Pitt Earl of Chatham, and his son, William Pitt the Younger. It is an excellent example of the 'new age' of church building begun in the 18th century, with box pews, altar, pulpit and font all 'of their time'.
St Nicholas, Longparish, SO20 6EX
The Test Way Footpath can be taken right through the churchyard, where walkers often pause to look inside the church. A Victorian porch hides the Norman doorway on which is displayed a text from the 'foundation book' of the very first London Hospital (St Bartholomew's) dated 1135. The memorial window to Major Lanoe George Hawker V.C. of No.6 Squadron. R.F. contains a detailed scene of a First World War aerodrome in France.
St Andrew, Nether Wallop, SO20 8ET
Built by Earl Godwin of Wessex in 1016, this church is famous for its Saxon wall-painting of 'Christ in Majesty', rediscovered in 1930... it is not complete, yet is of high quality and great importance to students of art history, as are the other paintings of later centuries. The fine chancel was built by the Normans, who 'drove through' the Saxon east end to create it. The memorial brass of Mary Gore, Prioress of Amesbury Abbey dated 1436 is in the centre of the nave, and some of the ancient pews have to be among the oldest in the land.
St Mary the Lees, Chilbolton, SO20 6BG
The church and manor of Chilbolton have always been associated with Winchester Cathedral, to whom they were given by King Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great. On entering this church through curtains of heraldic pattern, you are immediately 'centre stage', and the suspended Millennium sculpture of 'The Risen Christ' by David Begbie cannot fail to catch your eye. The blending of architectural styles over the centuries is wonderful to behold.
St Peter, Stockbridge, SO20 6EX
'New' St Peter's church was built in 1866 by John Colson of Winchester and stands proudly welcoming worshippers, ramblers and visitors in the centre of the High Street. Only the chancel of 'old' St Peter's remains in its original position at the east end of this small town. A very old depiction of the crucifixion in stone, of possible Saxon origin, and only about twelve inches tall, is in the Lady Chapel. The varieties of subjects shown in the kneelers are much admired.
All Saints, Little Somborne, SO20 6QT
Of all the churches of Saxon origin within Test Valley, this church is unique. Here the actual size of the tiny original building is clearly visible and the windows still have their original 1000 year old plaster splays. It was no doubt built in the reign of king Ethelred at a time of some prosperity when faith was restored after the first millennium. Within the churchyard is the grave of Sir Tommy Sopwith... 'Aviation Pioneer' is all it says... it is sufficient.
St Andrew, Mottisfont, SO51 0LN
'O pastoral heart of England... like a psalm of green days telling with a quiet beat...' of course these words were not written to be expressive of the very amazing clock dated 1640-1670, the restored workings of which exist dramatically within the nave of this church, but we claim a little artistic license here. To travellers on the Test Way Footpath, which goes through the churchyard, it would seem that this is a Norman church without much exterior alteration. Only within can the full glory of the 15th century glass be truly appreciated.
St Mary and St Ethelfleda, Romsey, SO51 0QH
This is a wonderful example of Norman architecture of international standing, containing a wealth of artistic expression in all fields of human endeavour since its building in 1120 - 1180. Our gratitude goes to the townsfolk of Romsey, who at the time of the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries', managed to preserve it as their parish church, paying Henry VIII £100 for the privilege! The tomb of Earl Mountbatten of Burma lies in the south transept.
St Leonard, Sherfield English, SO51 6FP
This is at least the 'third edition' of a church in this village, which takes its unusual name from Hugo D'Engley, Lord of the Manor in 1304. This St. Leonards, was built by Lady Ashburton in memory of her daughter in 1904. The 'cottage garden' borders around the building show a similar care and attention to detail, to that which must have inspired the architect, Fred Bath of Salisbury. The beautiful Jacobean pulpit within the nave has carvings depicting Temperance, Justice and Love.
St John the Baptist, North Baddesley, SO52 9HU
A most interesting amalgam of building materialss combine to produce a lovely little church, which can trace its roots to before the Domesday Book of 1086. It had close links with the Knights Hospitallers, whose priory was demolished 'next door'. Inside, the decoration of the roof beams it is quite outstanding as is the roof of the chancel itself. It is full of 'treasures' too numerous to describe here, but will handsomely repay the time any visitor may spend.
St Margaret, East Wellow, SO51 6DR
Now forever associated with Florence Nightingale O.M., whose last resting place lies in this churchyard, St. Margaret's is a important shrine to her memory, and where a memorial service takes place every year in May. It is of 13th century date and has some marvellous wall decorations of that period. It is easy 'to want to extend one's stay... to sit for a while and forget the urgency of the world outside'.
St Boniface, Nursling, SO16 0YB
This church is all that remains to remind us of Nursling Abbey, from where in the year 717 St. Boniface set out to convert his Saxon ancestors. Many German Christian visitors make their pilfrimage to this place to remind themselves of his evangelistic work there. In spite of the proximity of the M27, it has a lovely atmosphere and within the churchyard there is an interesting variety of different trees.