HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
901 The church is one of the earliest documented
churches in Hampshire. It was in the manor of Wonston which was
granted by Edward the Elder to the Abbey of St. Peter's. Winchester.
1086 The Domesday Book records Wonston as
belonging to the Bishop of Winchester for the support of the
monks at the Priory of St. Swithun, Winchester.
1150 The Saxon church was enlarged and the
present nave and chancel are thought to have been completed by
1333 The Prior of St. Swithun was given consent
by the Pope to appropriate the revenues of the church at Wonston
(part of which was to be for the benefit of the Hospital of St.
Mary Magdelen on Morne Hill, Winchester). The appropriation in
fact never took place, probably due to the appointment of a new
Bishop of Winchester.
1450 The east window in the chancel was replaced
by the present Perpendicular style window.
1520 The tower was built.
1541 When the Priory of St. Swithun was
dissolved and Henry VIII established Winchester Cathedral as a
Dean and Chapter, the Cathedral was endowed with the Priory's
properties including the manor and church of Wonston.
1562 At the Reformation, the Rector, the Revd.
John Fowler, refused to conform to the Act of Supremacy which
abolished the authority of the Pope and established the Sovereign
as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. As a result, he
was deprived of the living.
1714 Fire destroyed the roof of the church and a
new roof was built, of which the truss against the west wall
survived the later fire of 1908.
1780 A gallery was built at the west end of the
1802 The church's five largest bells were cast.
1825 The north aisle and a further gallery were
built to accommodate the growing congregation.
1871 The two galleries were removed and the
church was re-seated with open pews, replacing the previous box
pews. The mullions of the east window were restored, windows were
constructed in the wall of the north aisle and an arcade of
arches built between the north aisle and the nave. A new font was
1900 The west tower screen and ringing loft were
1908 A serious fire destroyed the chancel roof,
the east end of the nave roof, the altar, communion table, some
plate and many fittings and furnishings.
1909 The church was restored, the vestry added
to the east end of the north aisle, new stained glass windows
installed and a new organ built. The restoration work: was
supervised by T. G. Jackson (later Sir T. G. Jackson), the eminent
architect trained under Sir Gilbert Scott. The organ was placed
at the west end of the nave but the console was on the south wall of the chancel, in the
1920 The war memorial was erected and the
crucifix placed over it in the following year.
1924 The organ console was moved to its present
position at the west end of the nave.
1932 A treble bell was added to complete the
present ring of six.
1948 Electricity was installed.
1981 The bells were rehung and tuned. The bell
from St. Luke's Church at Sutton Scotney was hung in the south
Over the last 20 years extensive repair work has been carried out
to the tower, roofs and nave windows.
Two Fires at Holy Trinity
The first fire, which burnt the major part of the roof of the
church, was in 1714. No information about the cause of this fire
is available. The board, pictured below, hangs at the west end of
the north aisle.
The second fire was in 1908 and an extract
from the 'Hampshire Chronicle' of the day, giving great detail,
hangs at the west end of the nave. Lady Ridding, who lived in the
Old House next door and the Bishop of Bombay, who was staying
with her, organised a large number of local volunteers to make a
human chain from the River Dever to the church, passing buckets
of water. Eventually the Whitchurch Fire Brigade arrived at about
4.30 a.m. and shortly afterwards, the Winchester brigade arrived
with their steam engine. A message was received almost as soon as
they started pumping, to say that a fire had broken out in the
Lion Brewery in Winchester and so they rolled up their hoses and
returned to deal with the brewery fire!
The cause of the second fire has always been a mystery. There had
been no service nor choir practice the previous evening nor any
reason to have lamps or candles lit. The fire burnt everything in
the chancel, including the four stained glass windows, the altar,
the communion table, the organ and pews. The extent of the roof
damage was vast, as can be seen from the picture. When the
foundations for the new vestry were dug after the fire, a
gentleman's silver shoe buckle and a trooper's belt buckle dating
from the Civil War were discovered. They probably belonged to a
Cavalier and one of his men who had fought in a cavalry
engagement at nearby Waller's Ash in 1644.