History of the Church and Chapel
In Saxon times the tithing of East Stratton belonged to the Hundred of Micheldever, part of the Royal Estates and King Alfred the Great’s personal property. In 903AD the Hundred of Micheldever was granted to the New Minster Winchester (later Hyde Abbey) by Alfred’s son, King Edward the Elder, as described in the will of his father. The monastery collected the tithes and sent a monk in priest’s order as chaplain.
The earliest reference to a church or chapel at East Stratton is in 1308, (Milner suggests there was probably a chapel here before this date) when the Parish Priest’s appointment at Micheldever was made permanent, and subject to institution by the Bishop. He was given a definite income, from which he had to provide chaplains for daughter chapels at East and West Stratton, Northington and Popham.
In the following years there is frequent mention of the chapel at East Stratton in the wills left by the people who lived there. It was customary to leave money for masses to be said on the day of the burial, again in a months’ time and again in a years’ time. Also pious persons left money to the church for “tithe and oblations forgotten”.
Will of Alice Leff 1523 “I will that a priest be found the space of two years at the Jesus alter to pray for me, my fader, my moder and my husbonde in the said parish Church (Micheldever), and the said priest to say mass at East Stratton every second Sunday during the space of the said two years.”
Will of Nicolas Fygyn 1540 leaves “To the Chapel of Stratton three ewes, one of them to the Chapel and the others to the Rood light, and to my Curate 12d”
In 1538 Hyde Abbey at Winchester was dissolved and destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII, and the manor once again became crown property. In 1544 the manor was sold to Edmund Clerke, one of the clerks of the Privy Seal, and his wife Margaret, from whom it was purchased in 1546 by Sir Thomas Wriothesley, later the First Earl of Southampton. Its descent has since been coincident with that of Micheldever manor. In 1667 the manor was inherited by Rachel, daughter of the Fourth Earl of Southampton, and, by her marriage to William, Lord Russell, it became part of the estates of the Dukes of Bedford.
In 1677, the time of Lord William Russell and Lady Rachel at Stratton, there is reference made to a Bishop’s decree to establish a Chapel of St Bartholomew at East Stratton. The couple demolished the old medieval chapel and replaced it with one in the Gothic Style. Browns survey of the East Stratton estate in 1730, shows the chapel located in Stratton Park close to the site of the stone cross situated opposite the Old School House. The estate was surveyed again in 1799, prior to the sale of the estate, and the chapel is shown in the same location as in Browns 1730 survey.
The Old Church of All Saints East Stratton
In 1801 the Baring family purchased the estate from the Duke of Bedford and in 1810 Sir Francis Baring re-built the old chapel, further enlarging it in 1841 at a cost of £800.
In 1859 White’s Gazetteer describes the church as a handsome structure with a tower, 2 bells and 6 stained glass windows.
This photograph, taken c1880, shows the old church with battlemented parapets to the Nave and Chancel and a square tower with pinnacles.
Around 1820 William Cobbett rode through East Stratton and wrote:
“I went along by Stratton Park pales down East Stratton-street, a little girl, of whom I asked my way down into East Stratton, and who was dressed in a camlet gown, white apron and plaid cloak (it was Sunday), and who had a book in her hand, told me that Lady Baring gave her the clothes, and had her taught to read and to sing hymns and spiritual songs. As I came through the Strattons I saw not less than a dozen girls clad in this same way.”
In 1887 the church was described as, looking from the exterior, ‘somewhat damp and forlorn’. The faculty for the demolition of this church and the erection of the present one is dated 27th April 1887.
The carved stone wall panels on either side of the East window are by Sir Joseph Boehm and were removed and installed in St Mary’s Church Micheldever to commemorate Sir Thomas Baring’s son, also Thomas, who died in 1873.
The Old Church of All Saints East Stratton stood in Stratton Park, opposite the Old School House.
Following a prolonged spell of dry weather in the spring of 2010, the foundations of the old church were revealed, as parch marks in the grass, providing a tantalising glimpse of what once was.
The stumps of six ancient yew trees flanking the approach to the West end entrance can still be seen today.
In 1890 the stone cross in Stratton Park was erected with the inscription:
“THIS CROSS ERECTED AD MDCCCXC MARKS THE SITE OF THE OLD CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS EAST STRATTON”
The top section of the cross was damaged during a storm in 1989 and in 1998 Lady Rowena Northbrook funded the restoration of the top of the cross in memory of her husband and an inscribed stone plaque added to the steps reads:
“This cross damaged by storm in 1989 was restored in 1998 to the memory of Francis John Baring 5th Baron Northbrook.”
The New Church of All Saints East Stratton
On 1st November 1888 the present church was dedicated to ‘All Saints’ and became known as The Church of All Saints East Stratton. The church was built on a new site, fronting onto Church Bank Road, north of the main village. The new church included a consecrated burial ground as prior to 1888 all burials took place at The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Micheldever. The water table at the site of the old church was too high for burials and the deceased from East and West Stratton were conveyed along a 2km route, recorded on old maps as Chapel Lane, for burial at the mother church. The following is an extract from the 1769 Leet court:
It is presented that the way called the Burying Road leading from East Stratton to Micheldever ought not to be used by any wagons, carts, or other carriages save such as to carry corpses.
Today the tree lined bridleway from the A33, near Winchester Lodge, to Rook Lane at Micheldever is known locally as Coffin Walk.
The 1st Earl of Northbrook and his brother, the Hon. Francis Baring, financed the building, which was built by Messrs Parnell of Rugby, at a cost of £4,160. The Rev. S Edmund Lyon was curate of East Stratton at the time of the building of the new church and The Vicar of Micheldever was the Rev. William A. Whitestone.
The church was designed by the notable Victorian architect, Sir Thomas G. Jackson, who also built the church at nearby Northington for Lord Ashburton. The style is Late Gothic, Perpendicular and consists of a wide Nave of four bays, Chancel and three-bay North Aisle with the three-stage Tower standing against the fourth bay. Below the tower is the vestry and organ chamber at ground floor level and access to the tower is through a door at the base of a projecting stair turret. A timber-framed Porch gives access to the Nave through the south door.
The design draws on Wessex vernacular design construction and the external elevations are of knapped flint with Chilmark stone dressings, including some chequer work to the west elevations of the Nave and North Aisle and to the east elevation of the Chancel. Beneath the Chancel east window and around the plinth to the tower are fine ashlar flush work arcades with flint infill. Internally the elevations are mainly of brick, possibly from the local brickworks, covered with a lime plaster, and painted, except for the upper sections of the tower where the brick is left exposed. The interior arches are of chalk from the quarry on St Giles Hill, Winchester, and it is interesting to note that Lord Northbrook owned a greater part of St Giles Hill at the time the Church was built.
The windows are in the Perpendicular Style, filled with 19th century mostly clear glass, which flood the spacious interior with light. The stained glass window to the south elevation of the nave was installed in 1930 when the church was re-consecrated as a Parish Church. The window in the chancel to the north of the altar commemorates Lady and Lord William Russell.
Lord Russell was beheaded in 1683, having been accused of complicity in the Rye House Plot – an attempt to kill King Charles II. Lady Rachel Russell continued to live in Stratton Park until her death in 1723, and from here she wrote many of the letters which appear in her published correspondence.
The Chancel, Nave, North aisle and Porch roofs are covered with clay plain tiles and finished with decorative hog-back ridges. The three-stage square tower is of dressed stone with knapped flint infill, has perpendicular louvres at the top stage and is topped with a cedar shingled broach spire. The tower has two bells, one dated 1665, and the smaller one (unused) dated 1737 which are understood to have come from the old church in Stratton Park.
The principal monuments, in the church, are to members of the Baring Family, notable to the First Earl of Northbrook, who was Viceroy of India from 1872 to 1876, and who held numerous government posts between 1857 and 1876. The funeral hatchment of Francis Thornhill Baring, 1st Baron Northbrook (20 April 1796 – 6 September 1866), is displayed on the south wall of the nave.
Other notable features are the organ, built by D. Martin of Oxford in 1888, which has an intricately carved timber organ case, octagonal carved stone font, carved oak pulpit on a stone base, brass lectern and oak pews with some fine carving to the Choir pews. The doors are oak throughout, and the stone surround to the main south door has finely carved heads of Queen Victoria to the left and the Bishop of Winchester to the right.
All Saints’ Church is now part of a United Benefice with St James’ at Hunton, St Mary’s at Micheldever, St Mary & St Michael at Stoke Charity, Holy Trinity at Wonston and St James’ at Woodmancote, collectively known as the Upper Dever Benefice. The Church was Grade II listed in 1955.
Primitive Methodist Chapel
The Victoria County History, A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3 (1908), records that at East Stratton; “An iron building is used as a Primitive Methodist chapel”. Oral history records that this chapel was of corrugated iron construction and stood near the junction of Church Bank Road with the A33, Winchester to Basingstoke Road. It was replaced with more substantial brick building in 1909. (HRO 39M73/BP560)
This 1962 aerial photograph of East Stratton shows All Saints Church arrowed in blue and the Primitive Methodist Chapel arrowed in red. The chapel was demolished in the 1980’s to make way for the M3 motorway.
The new East Stratton Primitive Methodist Chapel built by subscription in c1910. It is understood that the congregation purchased bricks with their names inscribed on the bricks.
This postcard photograph was taken c1930 following internal refurbishment.
Back of the postcard photograph taken c1930 following internal refurbishment inviting guests to the reopening ceremony.
Internal view of the Methodist Chapel before refurbishment. C1920.
Internal view of the Methodist Chapel following refurbishment. C1930
Whilst care has been taken in this research, I would be pleased to hear of any inaccuracies or omissions. I would also be pleased to hear from anyone who has information or images relating to the chapels and churches of East Stratton Please contact Pat Craze, T: 01962 774905 email: [email protected]
Acknowledgement and References:
- Milners History of Micheldever, Rev AB Milner 1923
- Victoria County History of Hampshire 1908
- William Cobbett Rural Rides
- Winchester City Council Museums Service
- Hampshire Records Office
- White’s Directory 1859