The Church of St Swithun
The church is dedicated to St. Swithun. It consists of an apse 16ft. in diameter
and a nave 30 ft. long. It is built of flint rubble with angle quoins and door
and window dressings of Binstead stone. Alt authorities agree that it was
erected in the third quarter of the 12th century.
Nately Scures Church is probably the most perfect example of single cell Norman
aisleless apsidal church existing in this country. There are only two other
complete examples of this type of church in Great Britain. North Marden in
Sussex, and Little Tey in Essex, and both these have had porches and vestries
added (vide Aisleless Apsidal Churches of Great Britain by F. H. Fairweather).
A peculiarity of the church is the sole entrance being on the north side. This
is very unusual in England, yet Up Nateley church only a mile away and Greywell
two miles away have the same peculiarity.
Another peculiarity is the fact that the centre window of the apse is not truly
centred but inclines to the north, this is more noticeable externally than
internally. This peculiarity has never been noted by any writer on the church
and all plans give the window truly centred. The only suggestion which the
present writer can offer is that this feature had something to do with the sun
on St. Swithun's Day, Nately Scures church like many early Norman churches in
Hampshire being orientated due east (vide Shore Memorial Volume, Hampshire
Archaeological Society, Part 1).
The bell gable dates from the restoration of the last century and replaces a
wooden bell-cot of the 17th century. The present roof dates from 1786.
the most striking detail of the church is the beautiful Norman doorway. This is
of two orders; the outer semi-circular and enriched with zig-zag moulding in two
planes the edge being worked into a bead and reel pattern. This order rests on
circular shafts. Of the capitals of these shafts that on the east is the
"Mermaid Capital" (for the legend
see) that on the west is one of the original bases. The other carved capital
and carved base disappeared at the restoration of the last century (vide
Gentleman's Magazine, October 1836, in which an account of the church is given
as it was before this restoration and from which the framed engraving in the
church is taken). The inner order is square with a trefoiled head and rolled
On entering the church the first thing to note is the small plate on the inner
side of the underbeam on the gallery. The inscription on it reads:
Wilim bbedall founder here
Henrys Barnes Parson
Builder Heere 1591. H.B.
The importance of this inscription is that it shows that the
original gallery, of which this beam remains, was one of the earliest, if not
the earliest, galleries erected after the Reformation (vide Journal Hampshire
Archaeological Society, vol. VII, part II).
The rest of the present gallery dates probably from 1786.
The two windows on the south side of the nave date from the
last century. They
replace a window of three lights inserted probably in the 4th century (vide
Gentleman's Magazine, October 1836). Previous to that time there was probably no
window in the nave except the west window, the upper portion of which is
original though the window has been lengthened. The south window of the apse is
a last century reproduction of the original window, this window having been
enlarged into a mullioned window of two lights probably in the 14th century. The
other two windows of the apse are original.
Beneath the north window of the apse is a small square chamfered aumbry.
The pulpit, reading desk, and font all date from the last century.
The most interesting person connected with the church is Sir
Guy Carleton, 1st
Lord Dorchester, who is buried in the Carleton vault, which occupies the entire
space beneath the nave, and whose memorial brass is on the north wall close to
the pulpit. Sir Guy Carleton is an important figure in development of the
British Empire. Having served under Wolfe, he was appointed Governor-General of
Canada in 1766. He was several times commander-in-chief of our forces in Canada
for the Empire. He also organized the settlement in New Brunswick of some 70,000
loyalists banished from the United States after the American War of
|Some of the
On the south wall of the church is the memorial brass erected
by the legislature of New Brunswick to General Thomas Carleton, who is
also buried in the Carleton vault.
This is William Cobbett's Governor of New Brunswick. It was
General Carleton who carried out the loyalist settlement of New Brunswick
organized by his brother Sir Guy.
On the wall above the recess at the west end of the church is a brass plate of
17th century. The inscription on it is as follows:
Here lies John Palmer and Mary his wife
Prisoner of hope to Eternal Life.
Hee May the 15,1661, aged 61
Mary make room
To thee I come
And my last home
To the day of doom
Then shall we wake rise live for ay
With Christ a never dying day
Come then my dear we'll sleep in blisse
And in the dust each other kisse
Twice sixteen years we lived together
In sunshine and in stormy weather
In wedlock bands husband and wife
In Joy love peace void of all strife
And ten times changed our habitation
And here at last we find our station
When after ten years spent we have
Obtained at length a quiet grave
Shee October the 13,1660, aged 50
I went before
I could not stay
But now give way
Palmer eram ante obitum nemo fit palmifer at nunc
Palmifer in caelis qui modo palmer eram
Palmer on earth are pilgrims such as I
My pilgrimage is done and here I ly
The Gentleman's Magazine, October 1836, mentions a 17th century brass tablet,
obviously this one, as being affixed to the apse wall, so it was before the
restoration of the last century that it was removed from its original
position probably on the floor of the nave.
Also on the wall at the rear of the gallery can be found a
copy of the will of Maria Louisa Carleton
"Extract from the will of
Honble Maria Louisa Carleton, 1898..
To the Minister and Churchwardens
for the time being of the parish of
Nately Scures in the County of
Southampton, the sum of £1500 to be
held by them in trust to invest
the same in Government Stock and
to apply the yearly income thereof
for maintaining in proper repair
and condition the FAMILY VAULT
containing the remains of my Father
and Mother, and the Memorial or
Memorials of any said Father and
Mother, or to any other member of
my family, or to any ancestor
or mine in the Parish of Nately
Scures. And to apply the balance
of such income for the benefit of the
Poor Inhabitants of such parish in
such manner as such Minister
and Churchwardens shall from
time to time think fit.