The first written record of Durley occurs
about the year 901 when Edward the Elder, son of King Alfred,
included certain lands at Durley in his endowment of his new
Minster at Winchester,
We do not know exactly when the Church was built.' Mention is
made in old Registers of Parishes in the Winchester Diocese of the Church at Upham in the year 1270. In
the year 1284 the list includes with Upham Church a Chapel at Durley.
The south door is Norman 'and so is the the font. The
chancel contains 13th century work. It would seem likely that the
church was built between 1270 and 1284. The porch. was added
The Church is Cruciform in plan and its dimensions are Length 75
feet, Chancel 15 feet wide, transepts 45 feet wide. The main part
of the building is said to belong to the period 1350 - l400 A.D.
but the mullions of the East window are said to be, 100 years
older, i.e. 1250 AD,
Interior of the Church
(Photo courtesy of Beverley Wadhams
The open timbered roof is in Spanish Chestnut. Prior to 1879 it
was entirely hidden by plaster superimposed, possibly at the
The two transepts, locally called wings, that form the arms of
the Cross are held to have been Chantry chapels ; and this is in
part borne out by the fact that beneath the South transept lies
the body of William Oysell who made his will in l4l0, therein
directing -that he should be buried in the 'Chapel of the Holy Cross, Durley It is assumed
that the arch in the South transept marks the tomb. It is
difficult to obtain any further information as to this tomb,
because no memoranda have been left as to the exact condition of
the Church before the 'restoration' which took place in l879.
The pulpit is a good example of carved Jacobean work, and has a
canopy. On the pulpit may be seen the initials A.W., E.D., T.C.,
and the date 1650. A.W. was the Curate Arthur Warwick and the
pulpit was erected during his ministry. He wrote a small book
called 'Spare Minutes'. Another notable Curate was Gilbert White,
later author of the Natural History of Selbourne. He was Curate
of Durley from 1754 - 1756.
There are the remains of two frescoed paintings, one on the north
wall of the sanctuary, and the other on the east wall of the
north transept; both inside the window splays.
The first represents an Evangelist; the latter a ship with a
sailor going aloft to the yard arm, which archaeologists, from
certain features in the design and rigging, said to belong to'
the reign of Edward III.
(Photo courtesy of Beverley Wadhams
The font of Purbeck marble, is of Norman origin, but has been
over restored. But the existence of a coyer can be traced in
certain marks where the hinges were fixed on' one side, and the
closing was effected on the opposite side.
Several reminders of the Crusades still remain visible in the
shape of crosses roughly carved in the stonework of the southern
door outside and also on that of a door into the sanctuary on the
east side now closed up.
There was a Rood beam, but nothing now remains of it.
Previous to l879 the organ stood just inside the west door on a
raised platform and there was a gallery which ran round that end
of the building .and terminated at a point somewhere short of the
south door. In this gallery choir and players were required to
lead the worship in olden days..
In 1931 the space under the tower was rearranged as a choir
vestry and a children's chapel was formed in the north transept.
Externally the wooden tower , or belfry, though of modest height
seems to fit in admirably with the rest of the building. The old
beams supporting the belfry and also (formerly) the gallery, are
worth noting both from their age and from the design adopted for
the support of the superstructure. There are three bells, two of
them dated 1750.
The roof showing the upper storey window
The side view of the church
There are two stone coffins outside the south wall of the Church,
one probably of Norman date, the other of somewhat earlier date,
and the lychgate was erected to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen
Victoria in l887.
The church plate is dated 1722. and the registers date back to
Oliver Cromwell' s sister, Bridget, married the celebrated
General Ire ton, and they supposedly resided for some time in Durley. Quite naturally Bridget would have been
visited by her famous brother. Legend adds that Oliver Cromwell on a visit tethered his horse to the Yew
tree outside the south porch of the Church. True story or not, that Yew tree is over 700 years old