|The Church St Mary
As you enter the church and turn towards the Altar the
feature that catches your eye is the Chancel Screen. This dates from about 1730
and is remarkable not only for its size but for the fact that it is the only
18th century screen in the county. Charles Kingsley is said to have designed the
lilies on the eastern side of the screen.
Before you pass through the screen, notice the Kingsley
brass on the wall, and the Pulpit which is part of the old 'three-decker" with
sounding board. Look for the fox on the steps which was carved in memory of John
Todd who was a churchwarden here.
Under the carpet in the Chancel there is an unusual brass in the form of a Cross
and is in memory of Richard Pendilton who died in 1502 he was the servant of
Giles Dawbeny, Chamberlain to King Henry VII.
The window above shows St. Elizabeth
of Hungary (the subject of a poem by Kingsley) and two water babies.
Tablets on the east wall date from the i7th century: Lady Henley was
the wife of the Lord of the manor of Bramshill. Alexander Ross, a
famous man in his time, spent his last years at Bramshill House.
The monument on your left is to Dame Marianne Cope. whose family
owned Bramshill from 1699 to 1934. This alabaster effigy is by James Redfem.
Dame Marianne Cope
Born XIII February MDCCCIII
Fell asleep in Christ
XX December MDCCCIXII
May she rest in peace
As you leave the Chancel notice the fist of
Rectors on the pillar. You are now on the site of the original Church, though
the aisle and the chapel have both been
rebuilt. However, an ancient piscine remains in the south-east corner of the
The font is Victorian and took the place of an older one. Under the
cover on the floor (which may be lifted) there is a sarsen stone
which was discovered
in 1940. It has been there for 50.000 years and surely shows that
the first Christian Church was built on the site of the older
|Near the door to the
Hall there is a tablet to Mary Henrietta Kingsley niece of
Charles, a remarkable Victorian lady Traveller and Author
An organ was erected in 1886 and was rebuilt in 1910 in
memory of King Edward VI I who came to Eversley as Prince of Wales. In 1940 the
entirely reconstructed and moved from the east end of the north aisle to its
|Before you leave the church look
at the stained glass window to the right of the door. How many
fishes can you find hidden in it?
As you return to the lych-gate the sequoia tree on your
left. was grown from a seed brought back from America by Charles Kingsley and
planted by his daughter Rose after his death.
Charles Kingsley Rector here from 1844-1875
As you walk down the avenue of
Irish Yews from the Lych-gate to the church porch you will see a
brick path on your left, leading to Charles Kingsley's grave. The
grave is marked by a large white marble cross on which, under a
spray of his favourite passion-flower, are the words of his choice,
the story of his life 'Amavimum, Amamus. Amabimus", meaning we loved
- We love, -We shall love
to all eternity. Above these words, circling round the cross. 'God
is Love', the keynote of his faith.
Here. on a snowy day in January 1875m Charles Kingsley.
Rector of Eversley and Canon of Westminster, was laid to rest after a service
taken by Dean Stanley of Westminster, and attended by a great congregation of
those who loved him.
It was thirty-three years earlier that he had first come. as a young deacon, to
Eversley to work as curate under a rector who had shamefully neglected his
duties. Unmarried, but engaged to Fanny Grenfell, he longed for a living of his
own which he could share with the lady of his choice. He settled in lodgings at
a house in Eversley Cross, now called Dial House, to work at bringing the people
committed to his care back to God. He and Fanny were married and moved to a
Dorset parish but before he had really settled there strange developments were
taking place in Eversley; the rector left very suddenly, and Sir John Cope of
Bramshill. the patron of the living, remembered the young curate who had
impressed him by his zeal and offered Kingsley the living of Eversley. So by the
end of 1844 the Kingsleys had settled in the Rectory close by the Church
where in the study with its massive old chimney much of his writing was done,
and where one morning in 1863 the first four chapters of The Water Babies first
saw light of day.
Of Kingsley's work elsewhere, of his activities as a Christian Socialist, of his
academic work as Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, of his Royal
Chaplaincy and his tutorship of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VI I), of his
work as a naturalist and a geologist, his many biographies will tell. Here at
Eversley he was the simple parish priest, who got to know his people and to love
them and be loved by them. He took their part against an inconsiderate Lord of
the Manor and his even more callous agent. He spoke to them in their own tongue,
and though many of them thought his new tangled ideas about the necessity of
ventilation and sanitation in their home somewhat unnecessary, they respected
his whims. He dressed as a farmer rather than as a cleric, and he knew the
countryside and its ways as well as they did. He strove hard to raise the
standard of education, by cottage meetings and lecture, by very careful teaching
in preparation for confirmation and above all by starting the village school in
1854 which still stands (although it is greatly increased in size) as an aided
church school, now called 'Charles Kingsley's School'.
A churchman of the 'broad' school, he detested 'popery', yet he introduced
decency and order into the services at Eversley. Holy Communion ceased to be
only a quarterly sacrament, the altar was properly covered and the cracked basin
in the font removed. Quiet reverence became the order of the day.
His special joy in his free time was fishing and the fly-book that he used is
still in existence. He rode, though hardly ever to hounds, but in a village full
he never carried a gun. Tradition has it that he kept a collection of clay pipes
hidden in trees around the parish so that he could always manage a quiet smoke
when out visiting. But he was probably at his best in his very happy home with
Fanny and their four children, Rose. Maurice. Mary and Grenville, who were born
to them at Eversley. Their home was always open house to his friends, the place
where the problems of the day were discussed and argued about with much laughter
and good wine.
The church he loved was 'restored* immediately after his death as a memorial to
him and so is greatly changed from the church he knew. The screen was painted in
his day (though against his wishes) for he preferred the old 'dunduckerty
|On the wall of the aisle there is
a plaque of Charles Kingsley below a Latin inscription in his
honour. Further on there is a tablet of John James who built
Walbrook House in the village, the church tower and possibly the
church in 1724.
To the Beloved Memory of
Canon of St Peter Westminster.
and much loved Rector of this Church for 31 years.
His sorrowing parishioners and friends
have charged themselves with the restoration
of this hallowed building.
which he illuminated wi th his teaching
On the east wall of the north aisle there is the memorial
brass placed in his memory, and on the south wall there is a memorial to his
To close this brief appreciation, a quotation from one of
his sermons preached in Eversley in 1867 is given:
|"If your heart be purged and cleansed of
then indeed will the Holy Spirit enter in and
dwell there; and you will abide in peace, through
all the changes and chances of this mortal life,
for you will abide in God. who is for ever peace.
And you will inherit a blessing; for you will
inherit Christ, your fight and life, who is blessed
for ever. And you will love life; for life will be
full to you of hope. of work. of duty, of interest.
of lessons without number. And you will see
good days; for all days will seem good to you,
even those which seem to the world bad days of
affliction and distress."
And so the peace of God will keep you in Jesus
Christ, in this life. and in the life to come"
This appreciation is compiled from notes in the Church Guide written byŚMaurice
B.S.Godfrey, M.A.Rector of Eversley 1966-1980 and edited by