All Saints Church, Milford-on-Sea
THE SOUTH PORCH AND ARCADE
entering the Church by the south porch, you are facing the two arches of the
south arcade which are of late Norman work, 1150-1170; the capitals of the
pillars still show the detail of the beautiful carving done 800 years ago, the
right-hand pillar being of greater interest in that it shows a strong
association with the work done in Northern Italy by the Coniacine masters who
worked in England in the ]2th Century. Look to the left and see two ancient
stone coffin lids of about 1300 (one a child's) found buried in the churchyard.
The seating in the Church and the three altar rail steps are furnished with
tapestry kneelers, worked by ladies of the parish.
Now move to the carved wooden screen to the Tower, look eastwards up the
130 feet length of the Church towards the altar and notice the graceful sweep of
the lovely arches - there are no less than 20 of them - and the light and shade
that is so much part of their beauty. Behind you in the west wall of the
bell-tower are two very colourful lancet stained-glass windows, the subject of
Matthew xxv 35-36; on the wall to the right of the screen (at head height) is a
small carved stone panel of about 1350, much mutilated, thought to be part of
the reredos of the
earlier Church. The subject is the "Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,"
which throws some light on the belief that the Church was originally dedicated
to Saint Mary and All Saints"; above it is an ancient stone cross, formerly on
the east gable of the roof.
THE NORTH AISLE AND CHAPEL
Proceed over to the north aisle through the arcade of octagonal columns with
pointed arches; these are of Early English work dating from the end of the 13th
Century to the beginning of the 14th, replacing the original Norman arches which
were damaged when the First spire blew down. On the west wall is another large
painting which depicts "The Baptism of Cynegils." Cynegils was the first king of
the West Saxons to be converted to Christianity, A.D. 635. On the north wall is
the list of incumbents to the parish which starts at 1339; before this time
monks from Christchurch Priory - to which All Saints, Milford, was linked -
taken services before the First Vicar was installed. Further along on the north
side is one of the two Norman doors, giving entry into the North Transept.
Inside the door will be found a fine oak Elizabethan table and a chest. The
stained-glass window in the North Chapel is modern, the subject being "Christ
with Martha and Mary".
Two paintings which are on the wall in the
The left hand one depicts "The Baptism of Cynegils"
Come now to the Nave/Transept crossing under the central colourful boss that
once held a hanging brass chandelier and notice the four dwarf Purbeck shafts of
hard Dorset stone; these carry no less than 12 of the 20 arches which were all
part of the widening of the nave, arching and transepts and the erection of the
chancel about the beginning of the 13th Century.
Look up for a while to the ceiling, which with the adjoining bay to the
nave, crossing and transepts, is of Jacobean origin; see some of the 54 carved
oak Bosses, which were taken down and repainted in 1973. A detailed plan and
description of our Bosses is displayed in the Church. There are thousands of
Bosses in our older Churches but less than 10 are dated; All Saints has two,
dated 1639 and 1640. Because of the general illiteracy of the population right
up to the 18th Century, the general use of bosses, murals, carvings and imagery
in churches was a means of teaching, and Christian principles, often bordering
on old pagan beliefs, were interwoven into the designs. So are many of ours.
Milford claims a small link with King Charles I, for, on the north side of the
chancel above the choir stalls, there is a two-lancet stained-glass window, the
left-hand window depicts the king, who was held prisoner in Hurst
Castle in the parish of Milford, immediately prior to his trial and execution in
London in 1649. So here we see the haloed King Charles the Martyr with his
temporal crown at his feet.
the bosses in the ceiling
Two of the carved oak bosses
stone to George Dore
modern styled font
ropes with the high narrow spiral staircase
THE MEMORIAL CHAPEL
Now walk to the south, the Memorial Chapel, and note the unusual window
piscina of the Early Decorated period (14th Century). The subject of the modern
window over the altar is "The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary." Further
along is the south Norman door, late 12th Century, which shows traces of masons'
graffiti on the eastern jamb. And so return to the porch door. Over it hangs a
copy of a Perugino painting.
Finally, a few minutes spent in the churchyard should be of interest. On
leaving the porch, turn right to the west end. The Tower is Early English (12th
Century) and houses a ring of 8 bells. It is topped by a corbel table surrounded
by corbel brackets, most of which are carved heads, suggestive that originally
there was a Broach Spire of greater height than the present one. According to
tradition, this first spire was blown down by gales, so damaging the northern
arcade of Norman arches now seen to have been replaced by the the later Early
English ones. The present spire, built in 1827, tends to give one the impression
it is in the process of sinking down into the confines of the Tower. The
chambers beneath the two lean-to roofs were built at the same time as the Tower
and are unique for they provided living and sleeping accommodation for the monks
from Christchurch Priory, who would have served the Church. These were
converted, in 1984, into the Vicar's Vestry and Sacristy. Several of the lower
courses in the original stone tiles are still to be seen on the north slope. The
small window in
the south lean-to was at one time a door; tradition has it that improper use was
made of this door for bringing in beer for the bell-ringers and it was replaced
by the window in the early 19th Century. Continue round the north side of Church
and note two flat-topped memorials lying north and south, not the usual east and
west; these are reputed to be of two suicides, and instead of the interment
inscription reading ". . . who departed this life on the .. ." one sees the
ominous words "after witnessing the departure of all most dear to him, of a wife
and many daughters, HE DEPARTED HIMSELF on the ... ." Complete the circuit of
the Church and to the left of the south Norman door on the corner of masonry is
evidence of a Scratch Dial. Finally you return to the porch; look up to the 16th
Century Perpendicular window on the right and see the two grotesque stone bosses
that are terminals to the square-topped drip-stone, a man playing a bagpipe and
on the other side his friend wearing ear-pads who cannot stand the