The Church is by far the oldest building in the village.
According to the Domesday Book there were two small churches in
Easton. The present parish church was undoubtedly built on the
site of one of them and has been a centre of worship for at least
900 years. The site of the other church is unknown.
In 1955 the parishes of Easton and Martyr Worthy were merged, and
in 1991 Itchen Abbas and Avington joined to become the Benefice of the Itchen Valley within the
Alresford Deanery. All four churches continue to be used for
The present Church is thought to have been built between 1120 and
1170. The rounded windows on the north side of the nave and the
arches of the south and north doors (the latter is now bricked up)
are indicative of the Norman period.
The building was subjected to extensive alterations in the 1860s,
under the supervision of the church architect Mr. Woodyer, and
many features of the Church date from that period. It was a time
of building and renovation influenced by the Ecclesiological
Movement of the 19th century. The Ecclesiologists insisted on a
return to 15th century ideas of church building with a sanctuary,
chancel and nave symbolising the Trinity.
They rejected Georgian ideas which are perfectly represented at
Avington church two miles from Easton.
The alterations took ten years and cost £2,000. The Church was
reopened on November 26th 1870. The restoration service was attended by Samuel Wilberforce,
Bishop of Winchester.
THE SANCTUARY AND THE CHANCEL
The east end of the Church is an apse with rib vaulting. The
original window was altered in the 15th and then 19th century and
the glass is by Hardman. The panelling was installed at the same
time and has carved depictions of the Passion of Christ.
To the west of the Apse is a square rib vaulted Chancel. The ribs
in both are finely moulded with simple bosses. The main arch to the Chancel has slender shafts
with simple capitals and chevron decoration. Under the present altar is a broken stone slab,
presumed to be the original altar base replaced in the 19th century. The altar rails installed as part of the
1860s alterations are made partly from 15th century woodwork. The older top panels are thought to be from the
original Chancel screen. The floor was tiled in 1870 when gravestones were removed to form paving stones
on the churchyard path.
The Chancel contains several memorials including some to past
rectors of Easton.
The most interesting is that of Agatha Barlow who died in 1595,
A free translation could be:
Agatha, doth here remain;
Bishop, then exile, bishop again.
So long she lived; so well her children sped,
She saw five bishops her five daughters wed."
The organ which stands on the north side of
the Chancel was originally built for the Chapel at Eastbourne
College Junior School by J.W. Walker in 1953. It was installed in
1978 as a memorial to Miss Anne Harris, whose family lived in
Easton for several generations. The door replaced in 1997 leads
to the Vestry.
The screen which divides the Chancel from the Nave dates from the
1860s. Some of the old screen may be incorporated into the altar
The most noticeable feature of the Nave is the well proportioned
early 18th century wooden vault of post and truss construction.
The panelling round the walls was given by the Rev'd John
Freshfield in 1919 to commemorate his fifty years of service to
The pulpit, standing on a modern stone base is 17th century and
has been much over-cleaned and varnished.
In the north wall, beside the pulpit, is a door onto a staircase
leading to where the rood screen would have been. Rood screens
were banned in the 16th century and very few remain; those that
have survived no longer bear the Cross. The Gospels would have
been read from the rood screen which was, in effect, a narrow
The windows in the north side of the Nave are typically Norman
and are unaltered in shape and size. The corresponding windows in
the south side were enlarged during the 15th century.
On the north wall is an attractive, delicately carved and painted
memorial to the late Mrs. Dawson of Dymoke House opposite the
Church. The two panels represent scenes from the life of the
Virgin Mary; the visitation to Elizabeth and the Holy Family.
The north door, originally opposite the south door has been
covered over for many years. The font was placed adjacent to the
position of the north door in 1967, and was previously beneath
the western arch. It dates from 1870.
Above the font, carved in the panelling are the names of those
men from the village who died during the First and Second World
Wars. Above the memorial is a Royal Coat of Arms dating from the
reign of William IV, 1830-1839
The Bell Tower at the west end of the Nave has a Transitional
Early English arch. There are six bells. The smallest three were
cast by Taylors of Loughborough in 1970. Bell no. 4 is pre-Reformation
(1539). Bell no. 5 is dated 1450. The tenor bell, weighing six
and a half hundredweights is dated 1614. A fuller description of
the bells is at the end of the book.
Externally the Church is built of flint with stone quoins and
window surrounds. The roof is tiled. The bell tower, made much
more elaborate in the 1860s, is roofed with wooden shingles.
Internally there are massive wooden beams, which originally
supported the bells and date from much earlier. The arch over the
south door is original Norman but the supporting columns are 19th
century. There is, however, the original conservation cross on
the right hand door post. On the buttress to the east of the door
can be seen a sundial carved into the stone, often found in early
The lych gate was built in 1918 as a memorial to the men of
Easton who died during the First World War. Their names are
inscribed on the east side of the lych gate. The names of those
villagers who served in the First World War are inscribed on the
west side of the lych gate.
PATRONS OF THE BENEFICE
Bishop of Winchester ....... until 1885
Bishop of Lichfield............. 1885-1888
Lord Chancellor................... 1888-1955
Lord Chancellor and
Bishop of Winchester
Lord Chancellor................... 1971-
St. Mary's, Easton is fortunate in having a ring of bells good
enough to be on the itinerary of visiting bands. The bells were
rehung in 1970 when the condition of the tower made it desirable
to lower the bells. The three original bells were augmented by
three new ones. The reinstallation was supervised by the Diocesan
Architect, Richard Sawyer.
The three lighter bells were cast by Taylors of Loughborough in
1969/1970. The treble has the inscription:
"O clap your hands together all ye people
0 sing unto God with voice of melody"
No. 2 bell is inscribed: 1970
In memory of Frederick and Florence Galbraith married in this
church of St. Mary's Easton 1904 and was donated by their
daughter. The treble and No. 2 bells each weigh 3 cwts 12 Ibs. No.
3 bell weighs 3 cwts 2qtrs 21bs is inscribed
Remember Brian Charles Malony Rector 1953-1959
No. 4 is the oldest bell. From its shape, we know it was cast
before 1450. The founder is unknown, and the inscription is
It would appear that the inscription had been cut from an earlier
bell but set in the mould with pieces missing. The result:
JHUHAVE MERCY / UPPON THE SOULIS
OF T / HOMAS STOCKER & I OF SEPTEM /
YE YEAR OF OUR LORD
The bell weighs 4cwt. 211bs.
No. 5 bell was cast by Robert Landon of the Wokingham Foundry in
about 1450. It has four founders marks and since it has the
inscription AVE MARIA was probably an Angelus bell. The weight is
No. 6, the tenor bell, was cast in 1614 by Roger Beckinsall, an
itinerant founder. Whilst in each place, the founder hoped to
attract customers from other churches. We cannot be certain the
bell was cast in Easton churchyard, however we do know that there
was a casting site in Alresford at this time.
The inscription is:
"In God is My Hope 1614".
The bell weighs 6cwt 581bs.
LIST OF RECTORS SINCE 1285
||Ralph de Firmingham,
who, as Rector institutes
Thomas de Brayles vicar
||Henry de Rowardon
||Ralph de Mareschal
Between 1297 and 1338
||John de Petyt
||Joseph Warton (1)
||Henry Inglis (2)
||William Wode (also
Rector of Martyr
||George Dudley Rider
||Robert Durrant Butemer
||John de Vores
||John Minet Freshfield
||George Lacey May
||Harry James Likeman
||Brian Charles Molony (3)
||Percy Malby Dodwell
||Abraham Markland (orMarkham)
||Roger Longson Wild
Master of Winchester College 1766-1793
(2) Formerly Head Master of Rugby School
(3) Formerly Head Master of Worksop College
Baptisms from 1692 - Marriages from 1694 Burials
All the above are
now held by
the Hampshire Record Office