Standing alone in a field amid the fields
of Old Idsworth and Heberdens Farms is the little Chapel of St.
Hubert, originally dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, A.D. 1053,
which has celebrated its nine-hundredth anniversary of
consecration. It stands some distance from the highway, adjoining
the site of the old Manor House of Idsworth, and to reach it one
crosses a narrow footbridge over the grass-covered bed of the
stream which once wended its way through the valley but now is
flooded only with the occasional rising of the Lavants.
Originally built by Earl Godwin (Father of King Harold), a great
favourite at the court of Edward the Confessor, it was probably
used as a hunting Chapel by Edward on his visits to Idsworth.
According to the Doomsday Book, dward himself held the Manor of Idsworth, in which case he would have lived at times at the Manor
House close to the Chapel. It is a small Saxon building, with a
Norman Nave, the style of which was introduced into England by
Edward himself. It has an early English Chancel surmounted by a
The Chapel was named after the patron saint of hunters, the son
of the Duke of Auitaine. Hubert later became Bishop of Liege and
died in 727. A miracle is credited to him at a Rogation
Procession. The Service was
disturbed by a man with an evil spirit. St. Hubert made the sign
of the Cross, and restored and converted him.
St. Hubert's Chapel is beautiful in its simplicity rather than
its richness, yet some of its contents are rich beyond price.
On the North wall of the Chancel are some ancient murals, dated
by a great authority at about 1300, certainly not later than 1320.
They are unique in their completeness and quality. There are two
paintings separated by a zig-zag line. The upper picture depicts
St. Hubert touching and so curing the Lycanthrope, i.e., a man
who through a form of insanity believed himself to be a wolf.
This is, no doubt, a portrayal of the miracle attributed to St.
Hubert. The lower one depicts John the Baptist being thrown into
prison, Salome dancing, and the head of John the Baptist being
presented on a salver to Salome at Herod's feast. These murals
are some of the oldest in Christendom and include the only known
one of St. Hubert.
The Chancel, generally
The Ceiling was replastered and decorated in the 19th century.
There are 13 medallions set within a framework of diamond panels
with ribs in cable pattern, rising from pleasing frescoes of
grapes, leaves and a bird at the top of each wall. Two crowns on each side
surmount the frescoes.
The medallions appear to show: The Good Shepherd, four
eagles receiving light from a cloud above them, a Cross of
Lorraine superimposed by cross keys, the Dove of the Holy Spirit,
a Phoenix rising from the flames, three fishes arranged in a
triangle with the head of each superimposed over another's tail,
a Bishop, a Chalice, the Lamb of St. John holding a flag and
staff, a peacock, St. Hubert and the stag, the mother Stork
pecking her breast to produce drops of blood to feed her three
chicks, and a medieval three-masted ship.
Two braces, boxed in wood, cross the Chancel overhead, and since
they partially mask the crowns, these were probably a later
The Altar is built of Stone.
The East window is of plain glass with one adornment, a small
circular inset picturing St. Hubert's conversion. On the splays
each side of the window, frescos of St. Peter and St. Paul are
easily discernible. St. Peter is shown holding the keys of Heaven,
and St. Paul with a staff over his shoulder holding aloft a book.
On the soffit of the arch are two angels. These paintings are
also dated at 1300 to 1320. On the wall to the North side of the
East window some remains of a mural are faintly visible, but
unfortunately the figures are not discernible. On the other side
is a niche in the wall, the bottom being shaped like a basin with
a drain hole in the centre. The water used for cleaning the
chalice was poured into this after the service of Holy Communion.
It is known as
The Nave seats about fifty and consists of box pews and narrow,
rather uncomfortable benches. In the North wall of the Nave is a
small arch, now blocked, only twenty-one inches wide. It is
visible from inside and out and might have been an entrance to a
much smaller chapel or building. Above the Nave are three tie
beams, the centre one conspicuous as the ceiling clings to the
line of the roof. The one below the bell turret is partly
embedded in the ceiling which at this point reaches down to the
beam to form the enclosure for the bell. Hanging here is a
painting of the Royal Coat of Arms of George III surrounded by
the inscription, "The Chapel was repaired in 1793
Thomas Padwick, Chapel Warden. This Chapel was repaired in 1825 -
Thomas Smith, Chapel Warden." The third beam is behind the
organ in the gallery.
The pulpit is of the early seventeenth century with carved
brackets to the back panel. The tester, or canopy, is of later
date, probably eighteenth century. The pulpit originally stood in
front of the small blocked archway in the North wall, but was
removed in 1913-1914 to the South wall by the Clarke-Jervoise
family, who at the same time restored the organ and gallery and
moved the organ from the Chancel to the gallery. A vestry was also added. These restorations and improvements are
commemorated by a stone tablet by the door in the West wall.
By the side of the Pulpit in its present position are two ancient
wall inscriptions, unfortunately only partly discernible.
Among other things of great antiquity are the original Norman
light in the North wall and the bench behind the Font. The Font
itself, octagonal with quatrefoiled panels is dated 1400, the
base having been broken, probably during the Civil War.
The entrance to the Chapel is through the West door. Although the
North and West walls are eleventh century, the arched entrance is
probably fourteenth century. An eighteenth century porch has been
added. The Chancel and Nave were the same width until the
sixteenth century when the Nave was widened Southwards.
On the outer side of the North wall of the Chancel is a window
with two uncusped lights, anciently blocked, the inner side
having the murals previously described.
The earliest walling on the North side is of regularly set flintwork, while the South wall is of coarser rubble and
sandstone quoins, on one of which is an incised sundial.
The roof is tiled.
Parish registers were not kept until 1538 when a Royal Injunction
was published by Cromwell, Vicar-General, on September 29th of
that year. Registers of Marriages and Baptisms at Idsworth were
combined with those of Chalton, as the Chapel was dependent on
the Mother Church at Chalton. This fact was contested by a Lord
of the Manor, Henry de Bonynges who claimed it as an advowson of
Idsworth Manor itself, but the Prioress of Nuneaton proved her
right in 1275 as patron of Chalton Church, with Idsworth as a
dependent Chapel, and was so bound to find a Chaplain for it. In
1394 this was discontinued by the Rector, but proceedings were
taken against him by the hamlets of Idsworth and Dene and the
Court of Arches decided that the Rector was liable to find a
Chaplain for Idsworth. This decision was published by the Bishop
of Winchester on May 1st and confirmed on June 3rd 1398.
Entries in the combined register are very brief and simple, such
as "......... .and. ......... .were married, date," or ". . . . .male, was baptized, date."
The earliest records of Idsworth alone are the Churchwarden's
account books of 1793.
A late Bishop of Durham is recorded to have had no doubt as to
the dedication being from 1050 to 1053 to St. Peter, by which
name it was known until the nineteenth century.
Items of special interest
1789 The Idsworth Estate purchased by the Jervoise Clarke
Jervoise family whose desendants lived in Idsworth House until
1798 Signature of Samuel Clarke, Rector. Item"Perused
and approved by me, Samuel Clarke, Rector." (The Rev. Samuel
Clarke Jervoise). Samuel Clarke was also Rector of Blendworth,
Chalton and Catherington.
Six dozen sparrow heads Is. 6d.
1803-04 27 dozen sparrow heads 13s. 6d. 15 jays' heads
30 rabbit stops 7s 6d.
1809-10 393 rabbits at Id ...... £1 12s 9d.
1811-12 First mention of Rev. Samuel Clarke Jervoise. Item each
year Fee and charges at Wickham .... £1.
Fee and charges at Waltham .... £1 Is Od.
1830 Finchdean House (Circa 1688) coach house converted to the
existing Congregational Chapel.
1835 Sir Samuel left and Jervoise Clarke Jervoise came to
1836 First school in the district opened at 2 and 3 Dean Lane End
1838-39 "Killed in three or four hours 94 hares on Idsworth
1848 To rate at 4d. in the £ made by order in vestry £14 19s. 6d.
1849-50 The present Idsworth House (on the Finchdean-Horndean
Road) was built to replace Idsworth Manor House which stood 300
yards to the South of St. Huberts Church adjoining the present
"Old Idsworth Gardens" facing up the avenue of limes.
The old Idsworth House was demolished about 1850, (when the
railway was laid), except for the stables and coach house which
have been converted to form the existing residence. The well at
these gardens was the main supply to all the adjoining farms.
Drawing water to supply the cattle during the summer months on
Idsworth Farm was a full-time job for three men and horses as
recently as the beginning of the 20th century.
1851 Idsworth School built by Sir J. Clarke Jervoise to house
older children at that time at the Dean Lane End School.
1852 Two bushels of coal ...... 2/-.
1853 May 7th ...... It snowed five hours. May 9th. . . . It
snowed and hailed, wind south-west. G. Martin
1855 January Very cold weather, perished half the wheat.
1856 Very severe winter.
1857 April 20th. Road under arch opened Finchdean.
1862 Mr. Clark, 1 cwt. coal Is.
1863 April 19th. G. Martin locked two persons out of the Chapel
till one altered his mind. Both determined to do duty.
1864-5 Very severe winter wheat perished.
1869-70 Very severe winter wheat perished.
Two very hot summers.
1870-71 Very severe winter no hay or turnips.
1874 All local children taught at Idsworth School. Dean Lane End
Idsworth Farm rented by
1774 Mr. Clark.
1784 Mr. Parvin.
1788 Thomas Naters.
1794 H. Martin.
1804 Richard Mathew.
1806 H. Mathew.
1822 J. Foster.
1834 G. Martin.
1879 G. Benford.
1911 Mr. Coles.
1929 G. Bussell who later purchased it.
1962 Purchased by A. Murray.
1881 Vestry meeting March 19th at 3.15 p.m. to discuss and agree
to the opening of Hulbert Road, Bedhampton to London Road,
1913 New vestry added. Organ moved from chancel to gallery.
1950 Idsworth School closed.
1968 Electricity supply connected to the church. Roman remains
found on surrounding land whilst excavating trench.
1970 Fire destroyed the vestry and damaged the chancel roof of
the church. The vestry was restored in 1971.
1976 Severe drought, with just over 4 inches (10 cms.) of rain in
the first six months.
1978 The altar-rail kneelers worked by members of the
congregation, to designs matching the chancel ceiling.
1983 Roof re-tiled, wooden shingles placed on bell tower, felt
and insulation added.