46. All Saints, Odiham
This large and impressive parish church is dominated by its massive red brick batttlemented tower completed in 1649. The four pinnacles on top were added in the 19th century. The chancel and nave are early Norman as are the four arches of the South Aisle but the North Aisle with only three arches on more slender octagonal columns was added in the 14th century.
The church is particularly noteworthy for its modern stained glass windows and for six medieval brasses on the walls of the Lady Chapel. The main East Window was designed by Patrick Reyntiens who also designed some of the glass in Coventry Cathedral. The 3 lancet windows show the Adoration of the Lamb surrounded by the four living creatures and the innumerable company of saints as described in Revelations 7 v 9-17. Mostly done in rich green, red and dark blue colours it repays careful study. In the Lady Chapel to the north side of the chancel is another Reyntiens window. It is a memorial to Miss Hilda Chamberlain sister of the former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. With its green, blue and gold colours it depicts the Jesse Tree with the Virgin Mary and child, Adam and Eve and the Serpent. Both these windows add much to the beauty of the church.
The six brasses on the walls of the Lady Chapel date from 1480 to 1640. They include a Knight in Armour c 1540, a cleric (1498), a man in academic dress, a lady with eight children and another with six. The most recent is of Edward Seager, Gent, who died in 1640. On the floor are fine 18th century tombstones of James Lumbrey and his wife Mary. Two other brasses on the wall above the lectern commemorate William Goode a former Rector who died in 1498.
The Jacobean pulpit of carved oak is very fine. From this pulpit, it is said, Master Holmes, the minister, was arrested during his sermon by Cromwellian soldiers and taken to Farnham Castle. The font at the back of the church is medieval and carved out of chalk with a Latin inscription from Psalm 121 round the top. It now has a magnificent cover carved in lime wood made by a local carver in 1995. In the centre a dove is shown emerging from a tree with four angels alongside. The oldest object in the church is a 12th century piscina standing by the altar.
On the South wall is a Hatchment of Samuel Nicholls a Sergeant at Law and executor of Dean Swift. Another on the North wall is that of Alexander Baxter of the Priory. Standing under the South Gallery is a very large parish chest dated 1662. It has four separate locks marked V (Vicar) O (Odiham) H (Hillside) and N.W. (North Warnborough), each requiring a different key held by the various church wardens. Nearby in a glass case under the War Memorial is a facsimile of the original draft of the 1662 Prayer Book as well as an original Breeches Bible.
The West End has two galleries dating from 1634 either side of the tower. In the tower arch is the R.A.F. Window installed in 1989 and donated by R.A.F. Odiham and Support Helicopter Force. At the top is the R.A.F. Eagle and in the centre the Castle insignia of the station badge of R.A.F. Odiham. Encircled around are the badges of various squadrons. These include the Swift (72 Squadron), the Humming Bird (240), the Hart (32), the Great Bear constellation (7), the Tiger (270) and Pegasus (18). The bottom panels portray three helicopters - the Puma, the Wessex Mark II and the Chinook.
Alongside is an interesting memorial to the Sclater family. Philip, 1829-1913, a noted zoologist, his wife Jane and their two sons. Bertram Lutely Sclater was a Captain Royal Engineers who worked in Nyasaland and East Africa, building the road from Mombasa to Lake Victoria before dying of fever in Zanzibar in 1897. The second son Guy was a R.N. Captain killed with all his crew on November 26 1914 when his ship H.M.S. Bulwark blew up in the Medway.
Overhead hangs the Royal Coat of Arms of Charles II 1660 though the motto 'beati Pacifici' is that of his grandfather James I. Under the North gallery stands an ancient Hudd or graveside shelter to protect the parson at the graveside in wet weather. Carried like a sedan chair it was used in Victorian times. Only twelve others are known to exist in England.
Outside on the buttresses between the South wall windows a pair of pre-Reformation Mass clocks can be seen. In the S.W. corner of the churchyard a small single room Pest House can be seen. Built in 1625 it was used to house local inhabitants suffering from plague, smallpox or other infectious diseases. From 1780 until 1916 it was reserved for poor people as an extension of the almshouses. A photo of the last inhabitant, Mrs Cole, can be seen inside as well as various other artefacts. In a small garden various medieval herbs are grown as used in the 17th century. Only five other Pest Houses are known to survive in Great Britain. One final object of interest can be seen near the entrance gate - the ancient village stocks.
page last updated 3 MARCH 2001