The Living of Hurstbourne was in the gift
of the Crown until the reign of Henry II (1152-89), when the King
gave it for the endowment of a Prebend or Canonry of Salisbury.
The Prebend appointed the vicars from 1252 to 1847. In 1847 the
Prebend ceased to be endowed with the Rectory of Hurstbourne Tarrant. The Great Tithes went to the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners. In 1898 they handed them over to the Dean and
Chapter of Winchester, who are the present Rectors. The patronage
of the living passed in 1847 from the Prebendary to the Bishop of
Salisbury, who handed it to the Bishop of Winchester, the present
There was a church here in Saxon days, because we find in
Domesday Book the name of the Vicar, Vitalis. The church was
probably on the site of the present structure but no trace of it
The present church was begun in the year 1180, just when the
Norman style was changing into the Early Eng- lish. It is therefore "transitional" and has
characteristics of both styles.
The South Doorway (late 12th Century) is a
beautiful specimen of late Norman work, and is the oldest part of
the Church. Carved in stone on either side of the architrave are
the head of an Eagle on the left, and of a Lion on the right.
These representations were taken from the account of Ezekiels
vision. (Ezek. 1: 10). "The face of a lion on the right side
. . . four had the face of an eagle."
Nave and South Aisle (c. 1200) These were built
at the same time as the Doorway. Note the massive Norman pillars,
with a pointed instead of a rounded Arch, showing that the Norman
style is giving place to Early English.
The North Aisle (1220) This must have been built
later than the South Aisle, because the pillars (called the
Arcade) are less massive and imposing. The pillars throughout the
Church are most impressive by reason of their size, simplicity
The Clerestory was probably built in the 14th
Century when the Church was enlarged and the Chancel added.
The original roof (1200) was lower than the present one and came
immediately over the Arcade. The present roof (1450) is built in the perpendicular style and is very
beautiful and contains the original woodwork. It has been treated
for death watch beetle and a piece of affected wood can be seen
in the porch. The roofs of the aisles are new wood.
The Tower and Belfry was heightened with a spire
One of the massive oak pillars supporting the tower inside on the
South was replaced in the middle of this century, and the belfry
There are two painted beams (15th century) with gilded arcading
used to re-inforce the wall frames of the Belfry. These
presumably came from the old Rood Screen when it was removed.
The shingles were renewed in 1955 and a lightning conductor and
new weathercock added in 1970.
There are four bells:
||the bass dates from 1613, and has
"Love the Lord."
||the tenor dates from 1654.
||the two treble bells
||a). 1725 E. Osborne and T. Garlick.
b). 1740 John Corr B.F. 1740.
Due to the state of the Bell Tower and the
condition of the Bells at present they can only be chimed, not
rung. The Vestry was originally a Chapel for a Chantry of a Guild. (There
was also one where the pulpit now is.) where the rood screen was.
The Vestry contains a piscina, with what might be a pilgrim's
thumb cross above it.
The Font is 13th century and is on a pavement of
14th century encaustic tiles made of red clay, a pattern being
stamped in by a wooden die on wet clay, then filled in with white
clay, and a yellow glaze put over it before firing.
In the South aisle is a stone vessel which was possibly a
previous font. This was found early in the 20th century in the old vicarage garden next to the church. The marks (on the
rim) suggest that the fonts could be locked.
The Chancel was restored by the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners in 1850, and was practically rebuilt in 1890,
reusing the 13th and 15th century windows. The East Window is 15th
century but much restored. The glass is in memory of Henry
Prosser (1934), a recent benefactor to the parish whose large
tomb will be found at the top of the churchyard. The Reredos is
The Pulpit The wooden pulpit is Jacobean (17th
Century). In the 19th Century the panels were cut into holes for
decoration, but at the beginning of the 20th century they were
replaced by new plain panels to restore them to their original
The Lectern was given as a memorial to R. E. C.
Burder of Rookery Farm, Churchwarden of this Parish from 1913 to
1960. It was designed in the same style as the old Jacobean
pulpit, and was made in 1964 by Messrs. Edwin Carter & Son of
Winchester out of English oak obtained in Sussex.
The Screen The iron Gates were the work of a
former resident in the village, Frank Wickes.
The Pews Many of these date about the year 1500,
but since then have been altered and widened. The original hinges
for doors may be seen. Note the baluster rails, and names of 'owners',
e.g. Bunny and Child.
Until pews were introduced at the close of the 15th Century, the
floors of the Churches were covered with straw. As this was only changed three times a year, the place
used to swarm with vermin and rats. In the Churchwarden's
accounts of that period there is generally a payment to the rat-catcher,
who was indeed a regular village institution.
The Communion Rails were originally carved
between 1604 and 1621, and are an exceptionally fine example of
the craftsman's work of that day. The old original hasp for
fastening the central gate is still there. The rails came from
Derbyshire and were purchased from a descendant of a stonemason
who carved one of the pedaments at Chatsworth House. Given in
memory of Ewen Hay of Stoke Hill Farm, by Mrs. Hay and members of
her family during 1969. They replaced 19th century brass rails.
The original rails are reported to be those in front of the pews
in the nave.
Reredos The reredos was constructed about 1912
from old carved oak panels found covered in plaster in two
attached thatched cottages in Horseshoe Lane (now converted into
one house known as Poores after one of the previous occupants).
They replaced a Victorian superstructure on the Holy Table which
is now used as a book stand for hymn and prayer books in the
central aisle of the nave.
The West Door is an original 14th Century Door,
studded with its original nails.
The South Door is old, but has 18th Century
The Porch was erected in 1908 in place of a 17th
Century Porch, and was built of the old bricks.
a). Chancel The East
Window is a 15th Century window, perpendicular style.The glass
was inserted in 1935 to the memory of H. W.Prosser and is a good
example of the style of the period. The other Chancel windows are
Early English (13th Century) one of them has a 14th Century
additioncinquefoiled lights (Decorated style).
b). North Aisle
i). A 13th Century window with stained glass which is
comparatively modern in memory of William and Sarah Child.
ii). A 13th Century window with stained glass in memory of Robert
Child and Sarah Ann Child.
iii). A 14th Century "Decorated" window with flowing
tracery. The stained glass, which represents the stem of
Jesse, was put in memory of the Mosdell family (formerly of
Ibthorpe House) in 1882.
iv). Early English lancet.
c). South Aisle
i). This window was spoilt during restoration, when it was
widened and a new arch inserted.
ii). A decorated window of the 14th Century. In 1919 the War
Memorial window was inserted here.
iii). A Perpendicular Window put in about the year 1500.
iv). An early English Lancet Window.
d). West Wall is a very beautiul specimen of an early lancet (Early
English) window, and dates from 1220the earliest in the Church.
The Murals There are paintings on the North Wall,
the large mural represents the legend of "The three living
and the three dead." According to the fable three Kings out
hunting in the forest met three skeletons who reminded them that
they too must one day die. In 1266 Henry III gave the Manor of
Husseburn (Ess-eborne in Domesday Book) to the Abbey of Tarrant
in Dorset, as part of its endowment, hence the double name of the
village. The Cistercian Abbey was destroyed, and is now a farm,
but close by is the little Saxon Church of St. Mary's, Tarrant
Crawford, which contains a larger, better preserved, and somewhat
different mural depicting the Morality of the Three Living and
the Three Dead. The past association between the two parishes
makes it seem probable that they were executed by the same artist
early in the 14th Century.
The second Mural represents the Seven Deadly Sins. Sloth is seen
on a couch, the lettering was added much later. This Mural is too faint to be clearly seen. The Murals w'ere
uncovered at the end of the last Century, and restored by Mrs. Eva Baker in 1964. The decorative pattern on the
wall of the North Aisle, and its East Window also date back to the 14th Century.
At the time of the restoration of the Murals extensive exmination
of the walls was made, but no further painting of any was discovered. A number of 18th century cartouches were
painted on the walls, most of these have been erased.
The Church Plate consists of an 18th Century
Silver Chalice, Paton and Flagon, the gift of D. A. Dewar, Esq.,
of Doles, and a plated Salver.
Mural Tablets and Tombs there are several Mural
Tablets in the Church, in the Chancel are the tombs of John and
Mary Shish who both died in 1773, and also that of Thomas Powlett
who died in 1708. The Alder family memorial commemorates a son
Captain Alder, who among other campaigns took part in the Crimea
War, and the Congo Expedition for the suppression of the Slave
Trade on the West Coast of Africa.
There are two brass commemorative plaques on the South Wall with
the names of those who lost their lives in
the two World Wars.
The Royal Arms are of George III, dated after
1801 when the Arms of Hanover were placed on a small shield in
the centre and the Fleur-de-Lys of France omitted.
The Commandment Boards were first ordered to be
erected at the time of Elizabeth I.
The Thatch Hook to be found at the back of the
church against the west wall is nearly 17ft. long. It was used
before the days of fire engines not only to remove burning thatch,
but could be harnessed to a horse and used to pull down whole
buildings which were on fire.
Village History Many Romano-British remains,
some now in Winchester Museum have been found in barrows and
camps at Doles and Hurstbourne Common on the thickly wooded ridge
to the south of the village.
During Anglo-Saxon times our village, known as Hisseburnas was
already part of the Royal Demesne of the sons of Alfred the Great.
In the Domesday Book, 1086, Essebourne (Hurstbourne) is mentioned
as belonging to the Royal Manor of Edward the Confessor and
"Vitalis the priest holds the Church."
At the Reformation, Edward VI granted the manor to William Paulet,
the first Marquis of Winchester in return for the maintenance of Netley Fort on the Solent together with
"one captain one gunner, one porter and six soldiers."
The family held the manor until the 18th century. The Registers
In 1538 during the reign of Henry VIII a law was passed to the
effect that Parish Registers must be carefully kept by the Vicar
of the Parish. Parishes were slow to respond, probably because no
registers had been required before 1538. Our own register was
begun in 1546, and has been beautifully kept, and written in a
neat and clear hand, with very few gaps. The Vicars were as
||Untraceable at present
||Philip Scott Fisher
||William Milton Huriock
||Francis Henry Sumner
||Pastor Henry Gough
||Charles Norwood Oliver
||Several Puritan Pastors
||J. W. Clarke
||Untraceable at present
||P. Fleetwood Jones
||Henry C. Threlfall
Jane Austin was a frequent
guest of the Lloyd family, then at Ibthorp Manor. Her brother
James married Mary Lloyd at St. Peter's Church, as the Register
shows, in January, 1797.
William Cobbett (1762-1835) was the frequent
guest of Joseph Blount at Rookery Farm House. Much of 'Rural
Rides' was written whilst staying there, since there are no less
than 29 entries in the index thereto, under 'Uphusband': 'The
village of Uphusband, the legal name of which is Hurstbourne
Tarrant is, as the reader will recollect, a great favourite with
me, not the less so certainly on account of the excellent free
quarters that it affords.' (29th Sept. 1822). In the middle of
the front wall of the garden is a brick incised 'W.C. 1825'. It
was a mason's tradition to invite some notable personage to lay a
brick and to pay a footing. A further hospitality by Joseph
Blount gave tills wall the name of 'Wayfarer's Table' since in
the hard times of the day, when a labourer's wage was six
shillings a week, it was his custom to have plates of bread and
bacon placed regularly on the flat top of this wall for the relief of the hungry. Blount
died in 1863 and is buried in St. Peter's Churchyard. Tradition says he ordered that his tombstone there should be big
enough and flat enough for the village children to play marbles
Anna Lee Merritt (d. 1930) lived for many years
m a thatched cottage where now stands Hill House. Her most
notable painting 'Love Locked Out' hangs in the Tatepainted
in the studio still remaining in Hill Hous^ garden. Her
autobiographic book 'A Hamlet in old Hampshire' gives an
entertaining and affectionate picture of life in Hurstbourne at
the turn of the century.
Hurstbourne Hill's steepness (max. 1-7) has been
much reduced even within living memory : Mr. Arthur Cooper
remembers that, seventy years ago, it was an achievement for a
small boy to climb on to the top of the great stone by the
roadside beyond the bridge and now barely showing above the
ground. And the Rookery Cottages were then level with the road
surface and not, as now, considerably below it. A famous trace-horse
'Tinker* was kept by Mr. Blount for the assistance up the hill of
market wagons. This horse is immortalised locally in a tale of Mr.
Blount which if not more than apocryphal was at least
entertaining enough to have been repeated over the past 150 years
: in a Parish meeting, Mr. Blount in irascible argument declared
his intention of being buried, not in the non-Catholic churchyard,
but 'under Sheepwash Bridge with old Tinker atop, so the devil
can't find me!' which brought the reply that 'he was a great fool
if he thought the devil didn't know the difference between a
horse and an ass.'
It is unlikely that Hurstbourne Tarrant was a stage for coachesthese
were normally about 15 miles apart, but the helterskelter nature
of the road from Newbury for the Oxford-Sarum coach probably
required a change of horses before attempting Hurstbourne Hill.
Hence there were a very large number of Inns in the village, of
which five still remained in 1900 : The Cooper's Arm's and
Brewery (behind Garvery House), The King's Head, The Plough, The
Five Alls and the George and Dragon. Of these only the last, but
much 'restored', remains today.