HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF ST MARY
Eling is the tenth oldest church in England,
a small chapel being built on this site around 850 A.D. All that
remains of the original Saxon workmanship are the arch in the
north aisle and a small window opening onto the Altar.
Just below hangs an iron helmet and coat-of-arms of some long ago
knight or squire. Three of these coats-of-arms remain in the
church, many having been discarded by various "spring
cleanings" of bygone days.
Extracts from the Churchwardens accounts:
1667 (The Great Fire of London was in 1666) Gave two Londoners who came with a pass who lost in ye fire 2s. 6d
To two mearchants who were Wracked and had a pass 0s. 6d
Paid for 8 ffoxes heads 8s 0d
To ye ringers on gunpowder reason day last past 6s 0d
1670 To the man that went with the collect money to ye briefe concerning ye slaves in Turkey for two daies 2s 6d
1672 Paid a horseshire to carry away a woman that was great with child into ye next parish 0s 6d
Paid for watching a madman 1s 6d
Paid to 2 families of Norfolk people being 16 of them who had sustained great loss to the value of 2000 pound by ye breach of waters on their land 2s 6d
1674 for paving belfrey with stone 1Pound
1678 To John Smith and other maimed soldiers 1s 4d
Collecting a briefe for St Paul's Church London towards ye rebuilding it 1 pound 15s 0d
Spent at T hackstones on ye ringers ye 6th of Ffeb being ye day that ye king came to his crown 15s 0d
1689 Paid to Mr George Strode for halfe a hund. of ffagots to make a bonfire when ye king and queen were proclaimed 2s 3d
THE TITANIC MEMORIAL
The loss of the Titanic was the greatest disaster ever to hit the Southampton area. Over 500 men from the area perished when the great ship sank in 1912. This caused great distress in the city and in surrounding areas.
Totton has alwas had a strong maritime tradition. This might seem strange at first but it need to be remembered that the Eling area has a long tradition of shipbuilding and seafaring. New Forest timber has supplied local shipbuilders since the Middle Ages. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars the area was building ships for Nelson’s Navy. The Warwick family were particularly’ important as local shipbuilders.
Details of the numbers of local men who served as seamen are sketchy but the census of 1851 lists a number of seafaring men. There are records of three, possibly four, Totton men who served on the Titanic. The probleni is that the names do not appear in all the sources. We can identify the following men, The Plaque in Si. Mary‘s church, Eling, identifies three Totton men listing their names and ages. The men listed are Frederick Godwin, aged 34 years, Tom Warwick, aged 25 years and W. T. Fox, aged 27 years. The Church Plaque is a good source of information as it must have been paid for and put up by local people who knew these men personally. A fourth man, F. Gardner is listed in the Board of Trade Inquiry hut nowhere else.
Frederick Godwin, aged 34 years, was a greaser on tile Titanic. Greasers worked in the Engine Room helping to maintain, the machinery, literally greasing the working parts. In terms of rank, greasers were one of the lowest ranks in tile shipping world. Strangely enough this man is not mentioned in the list of casualties in the official Board of Trade Inquiry. He is mentioned in the Crew and Passenger List produced by the White Star Line. As for where he lived and who his family were, a search of the local census returns for 1881 and 1891 is quite revealing. Three Godwins are listed as members of the old
Workhouse at Ashurst in1881. They are Robert Godwin, no age given, Samuel Godwin aged 6years and Frederick Godwin aged 2 years. Frederick is listed as having been born in Lyndhurst. Since the Frederick Godwin, on the Church Plaque is aged 34 years it would seem sensible to identify him, with 2 year old child called Frederick Godwin, in the Workhouse in 188 1. Other Godwin’s are mentioned in tile census of 1891.
Tom Warwick came from a local family which had a long reputation as shipbuilders in tile area. The family name can be traced back to 1500. Tom Warwick was a Saloon Steward, attending to the needs of the passengers. He would have waited on them generally looking after their comfort. The 1881 census lists a Henry Warwick, Boot maker aged 24 years living at Bearslane Totton. The census of 1891 is more informative. It lists a Henry Warwick, Shoemaker aged 34 years. At the same address is his wife, Mary , also aged 34 years. Their children are listed as William Warwick no age given, Edward Warwick aged 6 years, Emma Warwick aged 9 years and Tom Warwick aged 4 years. The last named must be the Tom Warwick on the Titanic since the sinking took place 21 years after the census of 1891. The Warwick on the Titanic was 25 years old when he lost his life. Tom is named on the Plaque in St. Mary’s church, in the Board of Trade Inquiry List and in the List presented by tile White Star Line.
W T. Fox is listed in official Board of Trade Inquiry and in the Passenger and crew List presented by the White Star Line. He is also mentioned on the Church Plaque. The Board of Trade Inquiry lists his job as Steward and his address as Polhawn, Springfield Road Totton. The modern name for this road is Downs Park Avenue. This manor his family are mot mentioned in the census returns for 1881 amid 1891. Kelly’s Directories of the time also fail to record the family. Other sources record a W. T. Fox living in Shirley Road. There is some confusion here. W. T. Fox must have sonic connection with the Totton area since his name is on the plaque. Perhaps he went to school in the area.
An F. Gardner, a greaser, of Totton is listed in the official Board of Trade inquiry. He is not named in the White Star List or named on the Church Plaque. The name does appear in the census for 1891. An S. Gardner and a M. Gardner are listed as living in Calmore in 1891.
Two other men are listed on the plaque in Eling Church. They are Richard Russell, aged 17 years, a steward and William Edward Hine, aged 36 years, a baker. Russell’s address is given as the Anchor Inn Redbridge. Hine address is given as Lyndhurst. They are both mentioned in the official White Star Passenger and Crew List and in the Board of Trade List. Although not resident in Totton, they be on the Church Plaque because they went to school in the area.