ST MARY'S CHURCH
( HERITAGE )
St Mary's Church can be traced back almost a thousand years beginning in the 11th Century when it probably consisted simply of a small building on the site of the present nave.
By the 15th Century the side aisles, tower and chancel had been added.
Today, the church stands at the centre of the village, modernised in recent years to provide a comfortable and functional place of worship for all.
The privilege of allowing the Rector to possess the Columbarium (Dovecote) in the churchyard was granted in about 1340, the present structure being dated about 1680.
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St Mary's Heritage and Development
About St Mary's ChurchThe CHURCH consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, west tower, north vestry and north and south porches. The earliest building for which evidence exists was a twelfth-century church without aisles, with a nave of the same width as the present one, but only extending as far west as the existing aisles, and probably without a west tower. Some of the quoins of its south-east angle can still be seen. Towards the end of the twelfth century the north wall was pierced by the present arcade and the aisle added, and soon afterwards the south arcade and aisle were built. About 1220 the nave was lengthened westwards and the present west door built. In the fifteenth century a west tower was built, the thirteenth-century west door being re-used in it, and a clerestory was added to the nave. Early in the seventeenth century the nave and the north aisle were much damaged by a fire, traces of which are still visible in the north arcade and the tower. Today, the church has been modernised with the addition of a meeting room, children\'s area and carpeting throughout. The organ was renovated and relocated in recent years and a modest PA system aids the acoustics for all visitors and worshipers.
The ChancelThe CHANCEL, runs slightly northwards. Nearly all old English churches built in cruciform design have their chancels inclining a little to the north. This is to represent Our Lord\'s Head inclining on the Cross. It seems to have been practically rebuilt in the seventeenth century, and again partially in 1886; the western pair of clerestory windows are of the former date. The chancel has been improved by the insertion of new east and north windows, while the two south windows, each with two wide square-headed lights are for the most part of seventeenth-century date. On the NORTH side a door leads to the modern vestry, which has an external door and a three-light east window. On the SOUTH side is an interesting fifteenth-century pillar piscina. The bowl is octagonal with roses on the sides and below are three grotesque figures, one a devil catching a man in a noose. The stem has trefoiled panels and a moulded base and was originally attached to the wall. The CHANCEL ARCH is modern, in thirteenth-century style, and replaces a plain timber partition.
The NaveThe north arcade of the NAVE consists of three bays, with pointed arches of two chamfered orders, round columns and half-round responds. The arches are in chalk, and both they and the capitals are badly splintered by fire; the latter are of late twelfth-century type with small flutes or scallops except that of the east respond, which is moulded and of later style. The columns are very low and the arches are disproportionately high and of considerable span. The south arcade is very like the north, but the arches are in larger stones, and the plain round capitals and piers seem to be late rebuildings of the old work. The nave extends west beyond the arcades, this part being now filled with an organ and vestries. In the north and south walls are thirteenth-century lancets with chamfered rear arches. The northern lancet appears to be in position, but the other has been reset. A modern moulded doorway leads to the tower, the blocked eastern arch of which is now buried in the wall. In the NAVE CLERESTORY only the three cast windows on the north side are old, the corresponding windows on the south side are modern copies of them, while the west windows on either side are of eighteenth-century character with uncusped round heads. The rear arches of the windows and door in the north aisle are old, but the tracery and outer order of the door are modern as is the north porch. The corbels of the fifteenth-century roofs no doubt burnt in the fire remain in the walls. (Two of the corbels of the fifteenth-century roof have been set in the walls of the belfry. The corbels in the nave were put up in 1939, and are designed from an old one in the south aisle.). All the windows of the south aisle are likewise modern except that in the west wall, which has two lights and is of fifteenth-century date. There is an image bracket (This recess is the piscina for the altar. which once stood at the cast end of the south aisle.) to the south of the east window and in the south wall a trefoiled chamfered recess with modern sill and no drain. The south door has a plain rounded head of uncertain date and over it is an eighteenth-century brick porch. In the wall near the western respond is set a thirteenth-century trefoiled recess with continuous roll moulding; it has a small hole in the head, but it seems doubtful whether this is an ancient arrangement.
The TowerThe TOWER is of three stages, the lower part flint with diagonal buttresses, the upper of modern brickwork, plastered, replacing a wooden belfry stage. The west door has three moulded orders the outer having a line of dog-tooth ornament between two beaded rolls, and the outer orders have shafts with moulded capitals, but without bases. On either side of the door a fifteenth- century cinquefoiled niche has been inserted, and above the door is a single trefoiled light. There is a south external door in the tower, which has lately been re-opened. The tower has been a good deal patched with brickwork within and its south door shows marks of fire. The tower contains six bells. The treble, cast by John Taylor, was given by a former Broughton man 'In memory of George Petty, Yeoman of this Parish', and was hung in the tower in 1934. The second was cast by R. Wells of Aldbourne in 1779. The third is inscribed 'PT, IT, CT cast me in 1618' (the maker was Clement Tozier), with an eagle displayed as a stop. The fourth, of early eighteenth-century dates is inscribed 'William Tozier cast this bell, a third to be known full well'. The fifth is dated 1617 and the sixth, the tenor was cast by Lester & Pack in 1763.
South Isle and FontIn the south aisle is a richly carved early seventeenth-century altar table (which some authorities consider to be a reproduction), with baluster legs. In the nave are a number of well-preserved panelled pews. One is inscribed W.B. 1638 and another H.B. with the same date. The font is modern, with an elaborate bowl on grey marble shafts. On the south chancel wall is a mural tablet to Margaret, wife of Christopher Hearst, of 1647; another tablet on the north wall is to Thomas Dowse and his wife Blanch Covert, of 1602, put up by their son, Sir Edmond Dowse, 1625.
The SanctuaryThe Sanctuary now has an English Altar such as many medieval churches had and it was dedicated in 1938.