The Church of All Saints 

The Parish Church of All Saints, Fawley. Along with the churches of Dibden, Eling, Boldre and Brockenhurst, Fawley survived the de-population of the area when William the Conqueror designated the South-Westem part of Hampshire, known to the Saxons as Ytenne, as a royal hunting forest. The story of the destruction of some thirty-five villages and their churches has now been proved to be an exaggerated report put about by some dissatisfied monks who wished to discredit William. However, this eleventh century record provides
evidence of a Church here prior to the Norman Conquest.

Fawley Church is dedicated to All Saints. However, a small quantity of old glass from the east window of the chancel was recovered showing the small figure of a saint and the inscription evidently forming part of 'Sctus Nicholaus'; from which we may draw the conclusion that probably the south chantry was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. This part of the Church is the last seen on departure and first on return to Southampton Water. It is a possible reason for building the Church on this site. The new Chapel within All Saints built in 1983 is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, and alongside the Church stands the Fawley Seafarer's Centre opened in 1988 and giving hospitality to and linking foreign sailors with their homes.

We know that the Bishop of Winchester held lands in Fawley and elsewhere for the maintenance of the Old Minster, and that those lands were transferred to the New Minster in 971 A.D.. The Benedictine monks from the New Minster at Hyde in Winchester built the first small chapel here. Reference to this piece of land and to there being a chapel here occurs again in the Domesday Survey in 1086 A.D. where Fawley is referred to as Falegia. There is physical evidence of a smaller chancel from this period behind the Norman-style chancel arch. This chancel had a stone tiled roof, the outline of which may be seen on the wall. And outside, in the east wall underneath the chancel window, a window of Saxon origin and carved from a single stone can be seen, backed by an eighteenth century tombstone. This window was moved here from a wall now contained within the Church where it may well have been used as a leper squint. The hagioscope, or leper squint, was held in the aperture in the south wall of the chancel. These 'lepers' might have suffered from any number of contagious skin diseases, which need not have been leprosy. The chapel on this side of the Church was, for some time, separated from the rest of the Church and still has a separate entrance. Possibly lepers were permitted here where they could peer through the Saxon window at the priest. The lepers in Fawley lived at a bam called Lazarus (a Lazarette was an isolation hospital in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), which was behind the Poorhouse in Church Lane. The Lazarus Bam was demolished in the middle of the eighteenth century. The Poorhouse cottages which were on the north of the Church near the present church car park, were demolished around thirty- five years ago.

Amongst the traditions of the Parish is one which suggests that the stones of the Church were originally deposited at Rollestone, and that the Church was to have been erected there. Apparently the stones were moved (some believed by supernatural power) to the site where the present Church is built. From this vantage point overlooking Southampton Water, Fawley people, over the years, have witnessed many stirring scenes. These incidents would go back at least as far as the Saxon Conquest of the region, which was destined to become the Kingdom of Wessex. The Saxon leaders Cerdic and Cymric are said to have landed near Calshot in 519 A.D.. Later Alfred ruled a united country from Winchester. The closing years of the ninth century were marked by frequent Danish raids on Southampton. One took place 897 A.D. on the Southampton Water between Fawley and Hamble. To support this was the discovery in more recent times in the Hamble Estuary of the keel of an ancient galley supposed to be one of the six Danish 'longships' which were met and defeated by King Alfred's fleet.

To understand how the Church came to have its present shape and dimensions one must first try to visualise a smaller aisleless Church consisting of only a nave and chancel. This was the Church of the twelfth century. Development took place over a number of years with two main periods of building being noticeable; one from 1170-1210 and the other from 1300-1340. To the first period belongs the alterations to the chancel, the building of the two chapels one on either side and the lower part of the tower. To the second period belongs the graceful Early English arches, the addition of the north and south aisles to the nave, the extension of the nave to its present length, and the raising of the tower.

The Church was subsequently extensively altered and put in order in the time of Reverend William Gibson around 1850. After hundreds of years the open space within the Church had given way to the introduction of the first pews. Until that time, services and other occasions occurred with people standing and, if
desired, moving around freely. The introduction of pews made the inside of churches very different. Reverend Gibson removed the old pews and the whole body of the Church was fitted with new sittings of a uniform type which remained until 1988. The dormer window on the north of the Church was introduced at this time to give light to a small gallery or box pew (in the evening it appears mellow blue). The arches of the tower remained filled up with brick-work and the interior of the tower was used as a vestry. A rough wooden ladder to the belfry filled up much of the space. At this time the western porch was erected to protect the doorway from weather. The Church would then seat 736! According to a subsequent return to the Bishop, seats were reduced by the addition of an organ and a stove, and the formation of a vestry in the south chantry. However, the Church could still seat 658. Mrs. Gibson wrote regarding the arrangements:

"The Church was a most remarkable specimen of pewing when we first went to Fawley. There were five galleries, so called; two at the west end, reached by different staircases and quite separate. One was for the orchestra (bass, viola, flute, etc.) the other for men. On the South side was the Eaglehurst pew and the old Lord Caven requested Lord Walsigham to have one of the pillars in the nave cut away because it interferred with his view of the pulpit. Happily Lord Walsingham declined. Over the North aisle were two galleries; the one at the west end for men and women; the other simply a pew belonging to one of the farms, so placed that the occupant could if he pleased read the sermon for himself, if it were legibly written".

In 1866/67 further alterations were made. The tower was thrown open to the Church by the removal of the brick-work which filled up the western and northern arches. In 1867 a new organ built by J. Walker was given by Mrs. Berkeley Drummond and erected in the north aisle at the back of the present lady chapel. The cost of the new organ was 200. That organ was subsequently damaged by a bomb in 1940. By comparison, the rebuilding of the present organ in 1989 cost 17,365.

In 1886 the old communion table was removed and a new one substituted. At the same time the wooden floor at the east end was removed and replaced with Portland stone. In 1890 the Church was warmed by a large stove near the west door; a smaller one near the organ; and a slow combustion stove near the chancel door. In 1906 the warming stoves were removed and a heating apparatus for hot water was introduced at a cost of

On the 23rd November, 1940 during a bombing raid, an aircarft released its bombs over Fawley. One bomb exploded slightly north of the centre of the chancel leaving a crater in the floor about twenty feet across and six to eight feet deep. The chancel roof was completely destroyed as was the communion rail and the tiled floor in that area. The organ built by J. Walker, which was then in the north aisle, was completely shattered and severe damage was done to the electrical wiring and central heating system.

Miraculously the window in the north chapel dedicated to those who died in the First World War was undamaged. A temporary screen was placed across the entrance to the chancel and north and south chapels to enable the Church to continue to be used.

In the post war restoration, care was taken to preserve important features and, where possible, to restore them to their original positions. The ceilings of the two chapels were not replaced. As a result, in the north chapel can be seen the modem replacement timbers, while those in the south chapel are much older and probably date from the fourteenth century. Note particularly the truss nearest the window in this chapel. Both chapels contain trefoil piscinas and a corbel to hold an alter light. The gallery across the west end of the Church was the last to be removed in 1951 during this period of restoration. From the position of the
supporting corbels it is easy to imagine how dark and claustrophobic the Church was in at least part of its history. Much of the inspiration for the restoration of this period was encouraged by the then Rector, the Reverend John Mearing. A plaque in the north-east comer of the Church marks his achievement. The Church was re-dedicated on Sunday 12th September, 1954 by the Bishop of Winchester.

The latest period of development to the interior of the Church has occurred in the 1980's. The south chantry has been enclosed to develop a utility area which serves as a chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas and a vestry. The enclosing of this area has been achieved in such a way that the pillars in the chancel remain free- standing. The suspended wooden floor supporting the pews in the main body of the Church was found to contain dry rot. The floor and pews were removed in 1988 to be replaced by a solid floor topped with Purbeck stone. Chairs made of beech-wood with tweed upholstery now provide seating. The rebuilt organ
installed in 1954 by Ivemey and Cooper of Southampton, which replaced the Walker organ of 1867 destroyed in 1940, has been completely rebuilt and added to by Bishop and White organ builders. Since 1954 the instrument had been standing at the rear of the north aisle but in 1989 it was repositioned so that the
instrument is now at the back of the centre aisle in front of the west window. There is a separate organ console positioned midway along the north wall of the Church and connected to the pipework by a multicore cable.

As you wander, you will notice a number of interesting features. Your entry through the Church was through a doorway of traditional twelfth century construction. It is likely that this fine Norman 'dog-tooth' archway was intended for the south entrance and was moved to its present position when the Church was enlarged in the fifteenth century. On the chancel arch can be seen two large stone corbels, and over the arch two small ones with carved faces. These formed the supports of the roof loft, which was approached by a staircase from the north side.

There is a fine example of an early Norman window in the tower. It is filled with glass to represent the coats-of-arms of various members of the Drummond family. The falcon which surmounts the four shields is the crest of the Dukes of Perth, and titular head of the family. The left side of each of the shields represent the coats-of-arms of the male members of the Drummond family and on the right the coats-of-arms of their respective wives. Details of the marriages can be traced by referring to the memorial brasses in the arcade, matching the shield in the window with the shield of brass. On the east wall of the tower there is a hatchment which belonged to a male member of the family. These lozenge shaped coats-of-arms were hung for some months at the front of the house of the deceased person, after which time it was brought into the Church. The colour and arrangement of the arms give information of the deceased. This one being black on the left and white on the right indicates that it relates to a married male member of the family who died before his wife (Andrew Robert Drummond, husband of Lady Elisabeth - in whose memory the east window was given). The Drummond vault is under the floor in the front of the chancel. There are records of many other people being buried inside the Church and a number of these are referred to by memorials.

The statue of Christ the King which stands in the alcove on the south wall of the aisle is a relatively recent gift from the neighbouring Parish of Beaulieu. It was orginally in the church at Park (now dismantled) and had been placed there in 1908 in memory of Mr. H.A. Huth who lived at Eaglehurst, Calshot, within this Parish.

The oldest memorial brass can be found on the north wall of the chancel. It is a memorial to Sir Thomas Audley of Holbury Manor who was His Majesty's Receiver General for the counties of Southampton, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire in the seventeenth century.

The model of a 'long-boat' in the south chapel was made by Fred Green. It recalls the 'exile' to this Parish of the Islanders from Tristan da Cunha. Set in the South Atfanic, it is said to be the remotest island in the world. In October, 1961 the volcano which the Island consists of, erupted. The population survived by escaping in their fishing boats made of canvas stretched over a wooden frame. An actual boat used in the escape can be seen in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. Next to the model is a piece of volcanic rock from the Island. Also alongside is a fragment of the bomb which fell on All Saints in 1940.

Very little old woodwork remains in the Church. In former times it could boast of a three-decker pulpit of which only one section remains. It is still a fine example of Jacobean work. There are three old Parish chests, one which dates from the seventeenth century. They once held the Parish Registers of Baptism, Marriages and Burials and other books and documents relating to the work carried out by the Churchwardens, who besides being ecclesiastical officers were the local government officers up to the mid-nineteenth century. The registers are complete from 1677. Trends in Christian names are interesting. For the most part the Registers ring the changes on William and Thomas, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane, but the following are unusual: Selah, Bazill (feminine), Pesco, Trusterum, Alias, Philadelphia, Ancey, Damask, Ernlyn, Fortune, Fortunatus, Setuen, Gatharell, Martilla, Gerril, Barbary, Roberra, Diney and Laugh. Surnames familiar to us now and regularly found in the registers are: 1678 - Boamen, Hobart, Etheridge and Abraham. In the 1811 census: Snelgrove, Bonner, Limbum, Cull, Etheridge, Wheeler, Baker, Aldridge, South, Bunday, Nicholas, Whitfield, Musslewhite, Tiller (Tillyer), Morris, Cole, Osey, Westbrook, Major, Simmonds, Saunders, Wright, Trattle, Soffe, Drummond, Cotton, Arnold, Hayward, Osman, Attwood, Kitcher, Mintram, Read, Willis and Waterman.

There are many interesting entries in the Parish Registers which are particularly noteworthy. Amongst these are the following:

August 3rd, 1694. Buried Philip Rossiter aged 105 as he himself reported.

February 6th, 1725. Charles Tirmey of Hieth taken by Pirates and carried captive by them entered upon a brave resolution to destroy the Captain of the Pirates which he effected and redeemed himself and companions, but dyed at home by the small pox.

March 1781. Catherine wife of John Bitten of Hythe who on Monday 5th of this month was found lying in bed with her throat cut; and as her husband John Bitten was found lying in the kichen behind the back door in the same condition with a bloody knife clenched in his left hand, it was immediately suspected that
he was the murderer. Accordingly from circumstances the coroner's inquest found a verdict against him of wilful murder and suicide. He is buried at Hardley Lane End, leading to Bewley, in the Cross Road. He had all his clothes on except his shoes. (The spot where this interment took place is said to have been at the end of the lane leading to the Forest from Hardley farm; and it is related by residents in the Parish that when they were young the grave was marked from the fact that no grass would grow on it.).

The number of persons drowned whose names were known or of unknown persons found drowned is very large. It is evident that the use of small boats in Southampton Water was a constant source of danger and often ended in fatal accidents.

In the Baptismal Register for 1813 a paper is inserted giving the following record:

"A male negro infant supposed to be nine or ten years of age, a native of Poppoe near Whidal on the coast of Africa and who had been stolen while playing in the bushes with another boy, was this day Baptised by the name of Irby Amelia Frederic, in grateful testimony of the humanity and intrepidity of his gallant deliverer,
the homble Frederic Paul Irby, Captain of H.M. Ship the Amelia, who rescued this youth from bondage and from barbarism on the 6th January 1812, as he was on his passage with many other hapless children to the Brazils. The same Divine Providence which rescued this innocent victim of mercantile rapacity from slavery also preserved him for injury and from death in the fierce conflict which his heroic and benevolent protector gloriously sustained in asserting the supremacy of the British flag, in an action with the Arethusa, a French frigate of superior force. It is not only to record the admirable skill and unrivalled bravery displayed in this sanguinary conflict in which 46 men, including every lieutenant in the ship were killed and 90 wounded, also the well directed efforts of my truly honourable friend from whom I received this hapless orphan, to entirely supress a traffic repugnant to religion and every principle of justice, that I wish these particulars may be recorded in the Archives of the Parish of which I am resident. Wllm. Augs. Miles."

In 1746 the spelling in the records show a sudden deterioration. The writing also shows a sad change from the beautiful copperplate of the earlier century. Legacy appears as legesey, leagusey and legasey; Surveyor as survayours, sirvayours, cervayours and cervayers; Persons as parsons, pearson and passons. The following entry shows the low level of scholarship:

"Aprel ye 30, 1746. At a Vesterey on a publick sumones the former perticolers was ordered and a Greed on that Jon. Froud have a Greed to mend the 2nd bell and to Put him up and to put all things In Place; Except the wood worke for the sume of 4 pounds 4 shillings and If not done afectuley to warn him for 12 month or else to have nothing for his Labour; ..... I John Froude do agree to perform the a Bove signd articole."

In the Inventory of Church goods extracted from documents in the Records there is reference to a small Paten evidently intended to be used as the cover for a Chalice. It is part of the Communion Plate which was presented to the Parish by William of Wykeham, Bishop fo Winchester at the close of the fourteenth century.
There is also an Elizabethan chalice dated 1562, a goblet styled chalice dated 1797 with the inscription Wm. Froud, Wm. Etheridge; Churchwardens, a small chalice and paten dated 1844 and a silver flagon designed to carry water for Baptism dated 1834. All these items, together with some newer pieces, are in regular use to this very day.

The first recorded Rector of Fawley was Nicholas de Rokeland, who resigned the living in 1273. His successor, Nicholas de Andover, had scruples of conscience about retaining the two good livings of Fawley and Droxford, but these were comfortably allayed by a Papal dispensation. In 1349 and 1350 the Black Death ravaged England. Thomas Crewe did not minister to his dying parishoners. He obtained leave from the Pope to say Mass in his own house instead of the Church.

In 1642 came the Civil War. We have no records to show how Fawley fared, but it is safe to believe that families were divided. Part of a cannon ball which was found in the Churchyard is probably a relic of this time. It is now kept in the Vestry. The Rector, Mr. Tull, was a Royalist, and was ejected from the living by the victorious Puritans.

There are six bells in the tower. Until the 1960's, the bells were rung from the body of the Church. One rope used for tolling the bell during services of Holy Communion still hangs below the tower. A new ringing chamber was dedicated in 1966. On the wall outside the St. Nicholas Chapel is a carillon. Effectively this is a cupboard which houses the ropes which, when plucked, operate hammers against the bells. This is no longer used as the bells are regularly rung by ringers from the Church. Below is a list of the details of the six bells hanging in the tower.

Treble Cast by John Wamer & Sons, London 1909
"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound"
Note-F, Weight 200 Kg.

2 Cast by John Wamer & Sons, London 1909
Given by A.C. Drummond
"Ring out the false, ring in the true"
Note - E Flat, Weight 213 Kg.

3 Cast by John Wamer & Sons, London 1867
Note - D Flat, Weight 263 Kg.

4 Cast by R.B. 1603.
"Geve God the glory".
Note - C Flat, Weight 363 Kg.

5 Cast by Richard Flory, 1677. Willaim Andrew, Richard
Coombes, Churchwardens.
Note - B Flat, Weight 300 Kg.

Tenor Cast by Joshua Kipling, 1737. Richard Clarke, Thomas
Colchester, Churchwardens.
Note - A Flat, Weight 400 Kg.

The bells of the tower balanced ready for ringing.

In 1909 the bells were re-hung with new fittings and framework and two trebles were added by John Wamer & Sons, London. In 1966 the bells were again re-hung with new fittings and bearings by Mear and Stainbank, London. At the same time a ringing chamber at first floor level was constructed. There is evidence of earlier bells than those listed. The Parish records state: "In 1662 three bells were re-hung".

On the outside of the Church in the wall, two mass clocks or sundials can be seen on the walls of the south chapel. The one on the left of the doorway is a true mass clock and bears the marks of the four services radiating from a hole where the priest used to insert a stick which cast a shadow on the stone. A very crude
sundial may be found on the eastern side of the south buttress. It is unlikely that it was orginally placed here as it faces the wrong direction. It was probably saved, as was the Saxon window seen on the same wall, by a zealous workman during one of the periods of restoration.

There are many notable tombstones within the Churchyard and it is certainly worth spending some time wandering through the seven acres. On the south side of the Church lies a large granite cross marking the grave of Flight Lieutenant Kinkead, D.S.O., D.S.C., D.F.C., who died while attempting to break the world air speed record. Kinkead was at the time a member of the R.A.F. High Speed Flight competing for the Schneider Trophy.

Memorial to Flight Lieutenant
Samuel Marcus Kinkead
Who died on the 18th March 1928
While flying at Calshot. Gave
his life in an attempt to beat
the world's speed record

This team was based at R.A.F. Calshot which lies within the Parish of Fawley. Nearby are the graves of other young airmen who died during the Second World War. Also in the Churchyard are the graves of Mr. A.C. Cossor, founder of the electronics firm of the same name; and of Miss Elizabeth Trattle, a local benefactress whose charity is still administered locally by the Rector and the Churchwardens. Until 1961, ten German airmen were buried in the Churchyard but in that year their remains were exhumed and reinterred in Cannock Chase. There are two noteable tomb chests on the north side of the Church listed as being of particular historic interest. Nearest the porch is a stone tombchest surrounded by wrought iron railings and dated 1846. Further along is a very unusual carved stone tombchest in memory of
James Osey and dated 1686. The Churchyard is still regularly used for burials and memorials reflect the history of this Parish throughout the years.

The RAF graves in the churchyard including the crosses in the foreground

Having served as a place of worship and community in Fawley for over 1000 years, All Saints oozes character. It is a place many people love to visit to just sit in or walk around enjoying the richness of the architecture and atmosphere. Much of the history is undocumented, however records held at Winchester Records Office would fill many booklets like this. A keen eye and an enquiring mind will be repaid by this fascinating Parish Church. But, All Saints is not a museum. Those who look after this Church hope that you enjoy your visit and will want to visit again. We would also remind you that All Saints remains a busy Parish Church serving what is now a large community within the Parish of Fawley. You will see evidence of what the Church is about today as much as what the Church has been about in the past. All Saints stands to the glory of God on behalf of this community.