Holy Trinity, Blendworth
With the building of the present Church of
the Holy Trinity a new era commenced in the life of the village
of Blendworth. In 1847 the old Church of St. Giles was found to
be insufficient for the accommodation
of the inhabitants and much dilapidated. A decision had to be
made whether it should be restored or a new Church built on the
same site. This had happened before as the then building of St.
Giles dated from
1759, but previous churches had stood there no doubt from the
fourteenth century. It was decided, however, to build a new
church on a new and more convenient site. The land on which the
present Church of the Holy
Trinity stands was given by Sir W. W. Knighton, Bart. An appeal
was made in 1849 and in two years, the sum of £2,100 was raised.
Among those subscribing were Sir W. W. Knighton and Sir J. Clarke-Jervoise,
Lord-of-the-Manor at that time.
The Church itself is the extreme contrast to the old St. Giles.
It was as if a new life had commenced. The old church was on the
corner of the old road and had gone into decay taking its past
with it. The wayside Chapel had become a substantial Church.
The foundation stone was laid in 1851 and the consecration of the
church in 1852. But the past is not all gone. The records which
date from 1303 are still here. In the porch is a list of Rectors
beginning with Adam de Boudone. The registers date from 1586.
In the Church itself there is an east window of three lights
representing St. Timothy, St. Stephen and St. Tutis which were
given as a memorial to Dorothea Lady Seymour and her daughter,
former residents of this parish.
The Reredos with its carved canopy of alabaster enclosing three
mosaic panels, the centre one bearing a Saint Andrew's Cross with
the letters A (Alpha) and 0 (Omega), the left St. Peter, and the
right St. Paul, makes
an imposing background to the Altar which commemorates the Rev. R.
W. Margesson, Rector of Blendworth 1881-1902, who himself gave
the oak choir-stalls. The north and south walls of the sanctuary
lights, whilst one window or light in the south wall of the
chancel is of unusual interest, as it is in memory of a chorister,
The pulpit of carved alabaster was given by a former Rector. The
font,- also of alabaster, is in memory of Admiral Long of
Blendworth Lodge, who died in 1893.
The oak pews are a replica of those in Catherington Church and
were given by the congregation. They were made by Mr J. Edney
The tower, which is surmounted by a spire, contains one bell cast
in 1898 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London, presented by Dr.
C. Nash. The tower is unusual in that it also contains a memorial
to those who fell in the 1914-1918 war, and as a thanksgiving to
God for those who returned. The memorial is a clock with chimes.
The choir vestry was built in 1904 by public subscription,
generously assisted by Sir Henry Clarke-Jervoise.
The Mosaic dado on the walls of the chancel and nave is the work
of Italian craftsmen and was commenced in November 1914.
The church lighting is a gift of Lorna Countess Howe to
commemorate the recovery of His Majesty King George V from his
serious illness, in humble thanksgiving to God. The solid oak
screen to the organ loft was also a gift of the same donor, the
carved screen to the organ itself, having been given by the
children of the Rev. R. W. Margesson in memory of their mother.
To commemorate the centenary of the church in 1951, an addition
to the organ was given by Major A. F. Clarke-Jervoise, Justice of
the Peace and High Sheriff of Hampshire for 1951.
Among the plate at Holy Trinity is a silver chalice (1681), a
silver Paten presented in 1718 by the Rev. Thomas Franklyn, and a
silver Flagon, dated 1720, presented by his son, Thomas Franklyn,
all of which orginally
belonged to St. Giles.
Given to the present church are: a silver alms dish, presented by
the wife of the Rev. E. J. Nelson, Rector, in 1915; a silver
bread-box by Dr. C. Nash in 1935; a brass alms dish, by the Rev.
H. M. Lake as 'a thankoffering,' also a small chalice and paten,
1938; a silver chalice by Lorna Countess Howe and Dr. C. Nash,
with a paten from M. R. Nash in memory of his father Dr. C. Nash.
St. Giles Church (now demolished)
The name Giles itself conjures up a picture of the countryside,
or at least the poorer part, and Blendworth, a Tything of the
ancient Manor of Chalton, was perhaps looked upon as such. In the
neighbouring Manor of Idsworth was a Chapel dedicated to St. Peter, whilst in
Chalton village the Church was dedicated to St. Michael. Both of
these Churches have stood for centuries. St. Gile's was dedicated
to the saint who was perhaps considered to be close to the way of
life of that part of the Manor.
Probably the first Church was built as a wayside chapel by the
Lord of the Manor or the Abbess of Nuneaton who held the Manor
Church of St. Michael, and so was a chapel dependent on that
Church before 1303 when the first Rector, Adam de Boudone, was
Standing on the road which once led from Chalton through Pyle
Gate and the Forest of Bere to the Manor and Abbey lands to the
south, it served the needs of those in this part of the Manor and
those who travelled on that road.
There are several legends concerning St. Giles, the English form
of the latin Aegidius. According to one legend, he was Athenian
by birth and during his youth cured a sick beggar by giving him
his cloak. He eventually travelled to France where he made his
hermitage in a wood near the mouth of the River Rhone. A
monastery was founded here and he became its first abbot, and the
monastery a place of pilgrimage. England had as many as a hundred-and-sixty
parish churches dedicated in his honour and he was invoked as the
patron of cripples, beggars and blacksmiths.
A certain amount of mystery surrounds this church. Dating back,
according to the list of Rectors, to 1303 and comparing it with
the neigh- bouring churches in the Manor of Chalton and Idsworth,
one would expect to find some relics of an older building. The church was
rebuilt in 1759, yet within a hundred years it was derelict.
What of the previous ones? Items in the registers suggest that
the building immediately preceding the last one was not of a very
substantial nature. One can only surmise what it was like, but in
the vestry book an entry of April 24th, 1743 gives an account of
the seating in the church when men and women were segregated.
According to this the door was on the south side. Five pews on
the south side and five on the north side to the east of the door
were for men only. The seats for the women were behind the men's,
that is, to the west of the door, with six pews on the north side
and five on the south side. All the seats were numbered and
allocated. The approximate number of seats was 60.
After giving the list of pews and seating, it is stated: "This
account was taken from one farmer Padwick dated April 24th, 1743,
such alterations only being made as were thought necessary to
assure to every inhabitant their respective and proper right to the seats in the Parish
Church of BIendworth and to prevent as much as in our power lies
any disputes that may hereafter arise concerning the same.'
This statement was signed by the Rector, J. Aiskew, the
Churchwardens and principal inhabitants of the parish.
In 1759 when the church was rebuilt, the pews and seating were
again allocated with the exception of the gallery and some
benches which were allocated for the poor of the parish. Although
under the new seating arrangements each inhabitant had his own seat, the men and women
were not segregated as previously. The building was no doubt
larger than its predecessor. Eventually the church was declared
unsafe and it
was demolished in 1960.
The burial ground is very small yet the burials registered
between 1600 and 1700 averaged six a year. A map of 1820 tends to
show it was then a little larger than it is at present.
The burial registers contain many names with 'Affidavit made'
attached. This was in keeping with a law as devised by Parliament
in 1666 for the benefit of the wool trade and to prevent the
export of money for buying linen. The enactment read: That after March 25th, 1667 no person
should be buried in any shift, shirt or sheet other than that
made of wool only. This was disobeyed wholesale and another Act
was passed in 1668 obliging the clergy to make an entry in the register that an
affidavit had been brought certifying the law had been observed,
hence 'Affidavit made.' These entries were certified yearly by
What of the Rectory? The first mention of one is in 1836 when a
Rectory was built adjoining the present Holy Trinity Church. In
1710 there was a house and parsonage land in Coppid Hall Lane.
That this house was the original rectory is substantiated by a
Deed of 1854 in which a house in one and a half acres of land
adjoining Blendworth Lodge was described as the Parsonage House.
The present rectory was completed in 1936.