53. St Peter's Titchfield
This large and impressive church is testimony to the fact that until 1837 Titchfield parish covered 24½ square miles stretching 7 miles along the Solent and 15 miles up the Meon valley. Since 1877 six new parishes have been created at Sarisbury, Crofton, Hook with Warsash, Lock's Heath, Lee on the Solent and Swanwick.
The church today includes a multiplicity of styles, ranging from the 8th century Anglo-Saxon lower tower, the Norman doorway with its zig-zag moulding, the Early English chancel, the Perpendicular 15th century north aisle down to the Victorian south aisle. The plain glass of the north aisle windows flood the church with light to counteract the rather gloomy and ordinary stained glass elsewhere. The large east window is worthy of mention. The upper tier portrays the four Evangelists with Christ in the centre whilst the lower tiers depict five prophets - Isaiah, Moses, Jeremiah, David and Ezekiel. The one piece of modern glass in the west window of the north aisle is most attractive. Erected in honour of Agnes, Mabel and Edith Hewitt who lived in the parish between 1872 and 1956 it shows a farmer ploughing with horses accompanied by his dog and two seagulls. Above are strawberry plants.
There are also two large paintings in the church. A mural on the west wall illustrates the story of the Miraculous draught of Fishes in Lake Galilee. Originally painted in 1883 it was repainted by art students in 1951-2. Above the chancel arch is a Victorian painting of the Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John.
The south chapel is full of monuments especially the magnificent Wrothesley Monument of marble and alabaster in Renaissance style. This commemorates Lady Jane, Countess of Southampton, who died in 1574, her husband dressed in robes of state and her son the 3rd Earl in plate armour. on side panels are carved four alabaster figures kneeling before prie-dieus. High up on the south wall hangs the mortuary helmet of the 2nd Earl.
Also on this wall is a fine monument to Lady Mary Wrothesley fourth daughter of the 3rd Earl who died in 1615 aged 4 years and 4 months. The child is carved in white marble dressed in adult clothes with a ruff. On the floor a very worn slab of Purbeck marble marks the resting place of William de Pageham who died in 1305.
The chancel too is full of monuments. The north wall has a Jacobean memorial to William Chamberlaine of Beaulieu and his wife. They are shown kneeling at a commonprie-dieu with their 2 sons and 2 daughters kneeling behind. A monument in Latin to Gilbert Jackson (1779), Vicar for 50 years, indicates that he died of gout (obiit 'podagia fractus'). There is another amusing Latin inscription honouring Samuel Croppe 'a medical man skilled alike in experience and good results. By which he benefited nearly everybody but himself. Died October 29 1710. Aged 35.' A third monument is to Lucia Broomfield who died in 1628 aged 30 having borne eleven children!
Nearly all the church furnishings are modern. The font, for instance, was made in 1951 by Charles Upton as a memorial to the soldiers who passed through Titchfield in 1944 on their way to the D-Day landings. The oak pulpit dates from 1963. There is however, a medieval oak parish chest, approximately 4 feet long, lying in the south chapel.
A set of six bells hang not in the tower but in the lower part of the spire. The oldest bell has the inscription 'Ave Gratia Plena 1275-1300', and others date from the seventeenth century. Unusually access to the tower is by a 19th century stone stairway built against the north wall of the porch.
page last updated 25 OCTOBER 2001