The Church of St Faith

Havant Church is dedicated to St. Faith, the girl martyr of Aquitaine. This dedication has existed since the eleventh century, and there has been a church of St. Faith at Havant on this spot for about nine centuries. Of the original Saxon, or Norman, church nothing definitely remains, although it is probable that some of the stonework is older material re- used.

There is let into the wall of the west end, near to the font, a peculiarly carved stone. This was found in the rubble filling the tower when it was rebuilt in the 19th century. The carving has been called part of a Saxon font but it was very likely executed much later. Even so, it is probably the earliest stone fragment in the church.

Roman Foundation
There is a possibility that some of the brick in the wall is Roman. When the church was being repaired in 1832 it was found to be standing on part of a Roman foundation. The Saxon church was replaced in the 12th century, when the arches of the crossing were set up, and a nave of three bays was continued towards the west. The original height of this nave was the same as that of the present chancel.

The chancel, the oldest undisturbed part of the building, was constructed in the early 13th century. It was originally lit by the lancet windows in the north and south walls of each bay, of which that on the north-east survives. The original east window also probably consisted of three of these lancets. North and south transepts in similar style completed the building.

In the 14th century an extra storey was apparently added to the tower; the lancets in the chancel were replaced, with one exception, by the present windows. A vestry was built on the north-east bay of the chancel, and the lancet window was buried in the new wall to be preserved for posterity.

Later too, the triple lancet at the east end was replaced by a perpendicular window, and the north transept aisle was added, probably in the late 15th century, to be the chantry and tomb of Sir Richard Dalyngridge, Lord of the Manor of Wade. The chantry lapsed before 1547.

This completed the church as it was to remain until the 19th century. In 1832 the nave was found to be very unsafe. It was taken down and a new one built, also of three bays, but higher than before, and without aisles. The resulting structure was adequate but not very handsome.

Tower Rebuilt
Then, in about 1870, it was discovered that the removal of the nave and its rebuilding had seriously affected the strength of the tower. This was on the point of collapse, and in fact was only saved by the brick supports inserted in 1832.

From then until 1875 the whole of the western end of the church was remodelled. The tower was taken down to the level of the crossing arches, which were strengthened and repaired, and was then rebuilt to the old plan with the original materials. The nave was rebuilt, this time with aisles, and was extended one bay to the west. The north porch was added, and the south transept aisle built on the pattern of that on the north. This resulted in the building which you see today.

Note the two blocked doorways near the chancel arch; the lower one originally gave access to the staircase in the tower from the church; the upper led from this to the rood loft. The two bosses in the chancel vault are thought to show French influence.

Situated in one of the blocked doorways is a statue depicting our patron St Faith, installed in memory of Doris Norkett, who gave many years of devoted service to the church.

The fine Lady Chapel in the south transept was the generous gift of the late Captain Boyd Richardson, R.N., as a memorial to his mother, and was dedicated by the Bishop of Salisbury in 1936. The designs were by Sir Charles Nicholson.

Hanging in the Church is the colour of the Loyal Havant Volunteers, a Troop raised before 1799. This colour was presented at a formal parade held on February 22nd of that year; at that date there were apparently three officers and 74 other ranks on the roll. The Corps was stood down for the last time in August, 1809. The colour has hung in Havant Church ever since. It was restored a few years ago by the local Trefoil Guild.

The small sitting area is in memory of Dr Michael Dewhurst. The stone seat and supports, salvaged from Canterbury Cathedral after the bombing in 1940, were presented to St Faith's Church by Charles Chase.

The monuments in Havant Church are neither numerous nor imposing, yet some are not without interest. No powerful family ever dominated the parish, and the leasing of the Manor to various families is sufficient to explain the absence of any splendid series of family memorials.

The first in importance and antiquity is the splendid brass to Thomas Aylward, Rector, who died in 1413; originally in the north transept, it is now to be seen in the sanctuary, but can be best studied from the excellent rubbing near the north door. He is shown in processional vestments with beautifully embroidered orphreys decorating the cope. Below his feet is a shield bearing his arms (sable, a chevron between three garbes or), while above his head four blank spaces indicate the former position of other shields now lost. The Morse, or fastening for the cope, bears his initials, T.A. - a somewhat unusual feature. It is rare to find heraldic charges used in the decoration of vestments, but here the garbe used in the orphreys almost certainly comes from the coat of arms below, while the other motifs appear to be taken from heraldic sources. The missing shields may well have given a clue.

Buried in Linnen
On the 12th November, 1728, Isaac Moody, Lord of the Manor of Havant, was buried in the chancel. Exceptionally, he was (to quote the Registers) "Buried in Linnen". His monument may now be seen thrust into the corner of the south transept, where its excellent proportions and simple dignity are obscured. It is a good example of the refinement and restraint that characterise the work of the early part of the century, in marked contrast to the riotous profusion of later years. This was probably executed in London.

Near this is the monument to Mrs. Selina Newland, related to the Moody family by marriage. Her grandson, Henry Garrett Newland, was Rector of Westbourne for many years and a man of considerable note in the years of Tractarian revival. The monument presents a striking contrast to its neighbour in both sentiment and design. On a tomb chest bearing a laudatory inscription stands a funerary urn, around which a winged figure is seen placing a garland, the composition being flanked by fluted columns and backed by a pyramid of black marble. Its base appears to be missing.

This work is by that very considerable sculptor. P.M. Van Gelder (1739-1809) who executed many of Robert Adams's designs.

Near the west end of the north aisle is a tablet to Richard Bingham, Rector for 37 years, and his wife Mary. He was the son of that most distinguished of Havant Rectors, the learned Joseph Bingham author of the monumental Origins Ecclesiastical The white oval plaque, bearing the well cut inscription, is set against a grey background with white rosettes in the spandrels, and is a more restrained composition than most of this period; the little cherub head between the brackets is a reminder of a much earlier fashion.

Next to it is an ordinary tablet to Thomas Mant and his wife Mary, members of an old local family who lie buried near the south wall. Their son Richard was Master of King Edward's School, Southampton, and father of that Richard Mant who became Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore.
An indefatigable writer, his hymns include such favourites as "Bright the vision that delighted" and "For all thy saints, 0 Lord".

Canadian Pioneer
The memorial on the west wall to Mrs. Eliz. Mildred Wale Mountain reminds us of the hardships and perils faced by the pioneers of the church in Canada. Her husband, Jacob Mountain, first Anglican Bishop of Quebec, laboured mightily for 30 years in promoting missions and building churches, including the Cathedral at Quebec. His second son was later Bishop of Montreal, and afterwards of Quebec, while another son, George Robert Mountain, became a much loved Rector of Havant. The present font was raised to his
memory by the parishioners.

Local Masons
Most of our memorials date from the late 18th century to the middle of the 19th, and the use of white marble against a black background recalls the fashion started in the 1600's, and used so effectively and with such variety during the succeeding century. It is interesting to note that at least three were produced at Havant by the family of Moore, builders and Master Masons. This is striking evidence of the late period to which local gentry entrusted important commissions to local craftsmen.

Stained Glass
The stained glass windows are not of high quality and are chiefly interesting as memorials. The west window, however, is good, and commemorates General Sir Frederick FitzWygram.

Sir Frederick's sister, Selina Frances FitzWygram is remembered in the chancel, and his son in the Lady Chapel. Also in the Lady Chapel is a window to G.R. Mountain, and members of his family. The east window was erected to the memory of Bishop Wilberforce.

The north window in the north transept is to the memory of Charles Frederick Mackenzie, first Bishop of Central Africa and leader of the first U.M.C.A. Mission, and to his intrepid sister Anne, who spent the last eight years of her life in Havant, where she lies buried.

There is a window on the North side of the Church commemorating the valiant service of HMS Havant at

A window at the West end of the Church in memory of Christopher Nias, who was a regular pilgrim to Lourdes, depicts Our Lady of Lourdes appearing to St Theresa.

The most recent stained window situated inside the North door is in memory of Bob Grant who faithfully served St Faith's for many years.

The Way of the Cross
Wood Carvings of the Stations of the Cross we re install ed in 1988 in memory and by bequest of Canon Philip Duke Baker.

The earliest records are of marriages dating from 1653. This was in the time of the Commonwealth when use of the Book of Common Prayer was prohibited, and marriages were made before a Magistrate and a "Register", or Registrar, as he would now be called. A typical entry may be quoted from 1655:

"John Reynolds and Annabell Moselye, widow, before
William Michell, J.P. and William Aylmer, Register."

A memorandum of 1679 states:

"John Lardner, Rector of this Parish, and Mrs. Dorothy
Aylmer, were married in Blendworth church by Mr. John
Housman, Rector there, on 12th October, 1675."

Buried in Wool
The burial registers start in 1653 and have many curious and interesting entries. The first register consists of folded sheets of parchment, unbound, with a faded ink drawing of a shield of arms - On a bend three roses.

These were the days of burial in wool, when affidavits had to be made to the clergy that only woollen material was used for shroud, or else a fine was levied. The neglect of this law was widespread and it is surprising to find affidavits recorded for every burial, with trifling exceptions, down to 1748/9.

All fines collected for non-observance had to be accounted for at Petty Sesions and in 1681 is noted "All burials aforementioned accounted for at ye Petty Sessions holden at Hambledon on 5th April 1681".

For a number of years towards the end of the 17th century troops were regulary quartered in Havant and a number of them lie in our churchyard. So little were they esteemed that even their names sometimes go unrecorded, and we find such entries as:

"1678. Nov. 15. Two soldiers under command of Captain
Middleton were buried".

Sailors, too, have sometimes found their last port here: "1681. Ambrose Brasey late Boatswayne of ye Anne of
London (who was brought hither on his way to London by virtue of a Pass granted by Thos. Hancock, Mayor of
Portsmouth) died here on ye 1st March and was buried here on ye 2nd day."

"1693. John Temple, Mariner, brought hither by a passe from John White, Deputy Mayor of Portsmouth, and Lewis Barton of ye same on ye 7th day of December died at night and was buried here ye 8th day of ye said month. He was a mariner of their Majesties Ship ye Falmouth and was to pass to Robin Hood's Bay near Scarborough in Yorkshire, as appeared by ye passe. Passe is now in ye hands of Nicholas Slidel, constable."

These were surely sick men returning home, else they would never have died at the end of one day's journey.

Evidence that Havant was not unaffected by the religious controversies of the times is given in an entry of 1693: "Antipas, son of Charles Nicholas (a preacher at ye conventicle) was buried Aug. 29th". Might not this "conventicle" have been an "Independent" congregation, forerunner of our pre-
sent Congregational church?

Religious scruples seem to be suggested, too, by our next entry from 1694: "Daniel Perrin buried Oct. 3rd. Buried without any Church service and after a private manner. (Affidavit made 6th Oct.)"

Delayed Burial
Undoubtedly the most puzzling burial of all took place on 7th October, 1727: "John Softly, ye son of William Softly, a Dissenter, was buried in ye Church after his decease seven months". This is a most extraordinary statement, and one longs to know the explanation. In those days burial within the building was quite common, and one can only conjecture that the Rector disputed the right of a Dissenter to such an interment, but was eventually forced to yield.

The family of Softly is one of the first to find mention in our records, and happily still has its representatives in Havant.

Finally an 18th century allusion to what must have been the oldest local industry: "16th May 1728. William Phillips, killed by ye overturning of a load of Salt."

A feature of the highest interest in our registers is that they contain a complete record of Inductions of Rectors from 1668 to 1917.

From the 12th century Havant was an Episcopal Peculiar, the Archdeacon having no rights of visitation or induction. The bishop would appoint to the living, and issue a mandate to one of the neighbouring incumbents to induct. Peculiars, other than certain Royal Peculiars, were abolished in the early 19th century. In medieval times Havant was one of the best endowed rectories in the gift of the Bishop of Winchester. Such benefices were usually filled by those in diocesan administration, the pastoral work in the parish being largely left
to assistant curates.

The Rectors of Havant include many distinguished names. It is only possible to mention the most prominent. Diocesan Registers prior to 1282 have been lost and the first recorded name is OTTO DE CHAUVENT, a Frenchman appointed by Henry III in 1261. He became Bishop of Lausanne in 1310 and died in 1312.

Brief details of other notable Rectors of Havant are as follows:

1390 THOMAS CRANLEIGH, first Warden of Winchester. Later Archbishop of Dublin.

1396 THOMAS AYLWARD, secretary and executor to Bishop William of Wykeham. There is a brass to his memory in the Chancel.

1476 JOHN DOGGET, was among the first boys educated at Eton, and became Provost of King's College, Cambridge. He left a small legacy to Havant.

1506 WILLIAM STYNT, also Rector of Meonstoke and Prebendary of Exeter.

1521 WILLIAM HOGESON, a Dominican Friar, was suffragan to Bishop Fox at Winchester.

1548 LEONARD BILSON, who must have accepted the ecclesiastical settlement of the reign of Edward VI. He did not accept the Elizabethan settlement, and was deprived of his preferments in 1562.

1567 HENRY COTTON, son of Sir Richard Cotton, of Warblington Castle, later became Bishop of Salisbury. He was succeeded by ARTHUR LAKE, one of the most distinguished theologians of his time, who afterwards became Bishop of Bath and Wells.

The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth period was a critical time for the Church. Many clergy unable to accept the conditions imposed in 1643 were deprived of their benefices, including FRANCIS RINGSTEAD, Rector of Havant in 1644. Three men able to accept the Cromwellian requirements held the benefice between 1645 and 1660 - Gabriel Sanger, William Speed and John Belchamber. All received episcopal ordination.

The Restoration
Equally difficult problems were presented by the restoration. John Belchamber seems to have hesitated, and King Charles II presented WILLIAM GULSTON in 1660. John Belchamber later became reconciled, and William Gulston withdrew, eventually becoming Bishop of Bristol. John Belchamber was collated Rector in 1662.

1671 GEORGE HOOPER, a friend of Bishop Ken, later Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1672 JOHN LARDNER, who had been curate to Thomas Ken.


1765 JOHN MICHELL, who published important works on mathematics, physics and astronomy.

1776 DAVID RENAUD, whose family connection with Havant lasted for three generations.

1825 GEORGE ROBERT MOUNTAIN, who helped in the foundation of the Church Schools.

1846 THOMAS GOODWIN HATCHARD, afterwards Bishop of Mauritius, where he died of fever in 1870.

1870 HENRY ARNOLD OLIVIER, who arranged the restoration of the church, which was completed
during the incumbency of WILLIAM RENAUD, grandson of David Renaud.

1892 SAMUEL GILBERT SCOTT held the living for 23 years, and was succeeded by ARTHUR GEORGE

1917 HAROLD NICKINSON RODGERS. He became Archdeacon of Portsmouth in 1927 and was responsible for much of the administration in the early years of the Portsmouth Diocese. He was succeeded by BASIL ASTON, who became Prebendary of Salisbury.

1943 PHILIP HOWARD DUKE BAKER, who held the living until 1962, when he became Rector of Botley, and was succeeded by RALPH HARRY BASSETT

1962 RALPH HENRY BASSETT, who held the living until 1969 when he became Vicar of Hambledon and was succeeded by DEREK FREDERICK BROWN.

(Taken from The Parish Church History of St Faith, Havant)
Kindly contributed by Robert Oxford, Havant