82. St Mary Magdalene, West Tisted
This small 12th century church lies in the heart of the countryside west of the A32 West Meon - Alton road. Well hidden from view it stands in the grounds of the original Manor House and is approached by a long meandering gravel path surrounded by trees and high hedges.
The church is of simple single cell Norman design and entrance is by the red bricked porch on the south side which was donated in 1750 by Magdalen College Oxford the then patrons of the living. Remains of a small Saxon window can be seen to the west of the porch. The small wooden bell tower at the west end is supported by four massive timbers. Opposite the entrance door is a blocked north doorway with a plain double arch. Alongside stands the early Norman font. On the wall nearby is an interesting Memorial Tablet to Richard and Margaret Lacey. The Latin inscription reads:
illes obiit 3 May 1672
hic 14 March 1690
Nearer the pulpit on the north wall are monuments to Sir Benjamin Tichborne (1665) and his wife Margaret (1677). The Gothic style pulpit is painted black and bears the heraldic shields of Magdalen College, the diocese of Winchester and the See of Canterbury.
The chancel mostly dates from the restoration of 1847-8. The Victorian east window, designed by C.E.Kempe, shows Our Lord with St Mary Magdalene and St John. The small 12th century altar table has balustered legs.
An interesting First World War memorial can be seen in the entrance porch. It lists 26 villagers who served but amazingly all survived the war. Above the names is inscribed "Thou Lord hast made and preserved them all." (Nehemiah 9.4) and underneath a text from Zechariah 10.17 saying "Their children shall see it and be glad." Few villages can have been so lucky. However there were two deaths in World War Two as a tablet on the north wall of the nave commemorates two brothers of the Zambon family, one killed on flying duties and one killed in Italy in 1944.
The peaceful but overgrown churchyard contains the Tichborne Oak where Sir Benjamin Tichborne, the Lord of the Manor, hid from the Parliamentarians after the Royalist defeat at the nearby Battle of Cheriton in 1645. Also to be seen is a very ancient yew tree with a 27 foot girth, and a brick tomb with a stone slab known as the money table where out door relief was paid to parochial paupers in the eighteenth century.
This oasis of tranquillity lies well away from the tourist track and is all the better for it. Since 1978 the parish has been combined with Ropley and Bishop Sutton as a united benefice.
page last updated