16. St.Andrew's, Chilcomb.
This fine little church lies in the heart of the Hampshire countryside at the end of a narrow road off the A272 which leads nowhere. Yet from the ancient churchyard a fine view of Winchester can be obtained and the busy traffic on the motor-way only a mile away can be clearly seen.
The church itself is of the early Norman period and has been little altered apart from the addition of a nineteenth century porch. Yet an earlier Saxon church was almost certainly built after 653 A.D. when Cynegils, King of Wessex, celebrated a victory over the heathen Mercians by granting the large manor of Chilcomb to the Church. This was confirmed in 908A.D. in a charter granted by Edward the Elder son of King Alfred, a copy of which hangs on the south wall of the nave. For 1200 years until 1900 the manor remained in the possession of the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. Also on the nave wall is an interesting map showing the manorial lands of Chilcomb as recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Simple in outline, the narrow nave has a very high ceiling. The wooden bell tower dominates the west end. One bell, dated c. 1380A.D., was made at the Wokingham foundry, whilst the other, dated 1628, is inscribed 'In God My Hope'.
The chancel arch is ornamented in dog tooth pattern. The screen and oak doors date from the fourteenth century. The chancel, which is full of light, contains thirteenth century tiles depicting lions, griffins, eagles and fleur-de-lis patterns. The east window, partly filled in, contains a stained glass window showing St. Andrew and St. Hugh. This was placed there as a memorial to Lieutenant Hugh Elgee of Chilcomb Manor who was killed in the Dardanelles in 1915.
On the south side of the chancel fragments of 15th. century white and gold glass remain in an otherwise plain window. On the north side is a low window which is possibly a leper window from the Middle Ages.
On the north wall of the nave is an interesting Latin memorial to Henry Cornill, who died in 1699, and his wife Francesca who died in 1712, aged 82. The font at the west end stands on the lid of a fourteenth century stone coffin. John Washington, who was Rector from 1803 to his death in 1812, was related to George Washington, the first American President.
The only touch of modernity can be seen in two pieces of furniture standing near the altar. One is a finely carved bishop's chair and the other a prie-dieu made of light oak.
Overall, this is a church of great appeal. Its quiet air of holiness makes this an ideal place in which to meditate and reflect away from the hurly-burly of twentieth century life. Long may Chilcomb remain an oasis of peace in a noisy world.
written by John Symonds
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