St Andrew, Hurstbourne Priors, Hampshire

Feature Sets (4)


Hurstbourne Priors is in NW Hampshire, four miles E of Andover.  It lies in the valley of a tributary of the Test.  The village clusters around a crossroads S of the important Roman road known as the Portway, which runs through St Mary Bourne 2½ miles to the N.  The church is N of the village centre, and E of it is the wooded expanse of Hurstbourne Park, site of the manor house.  The medieval manor house was immediately E of the church, on a site known as the Cascades where 14thc masonry and Tudor bricks have been found on the river bed.  By the 18thc the estates belonged to the Earls of Portsmouth.  A later house on the same site was demolished in 1785, and replaced by another site on high ground further N, site of the present house, now known as Hurstbourne Park and dating partly from 1894.

St Andrew’s is substantially a rebuilding of 1870 by Clark and Holland, retaining or reusing some ancient material.  It consists of a nave with a transeptal S chapel, now housing the organ, a chancel with a N chapel, now used as a vestry, and a W tower.  The tower was rebuilt in 1870 by Clark and Holland in yellow brick with ashlar dressings, in a neo-Romanesque style but reusing the 12thc doorway.  The arch to the N chapel is also a recycled Norman piece that might originally have been the chancel arch.  The nave is of knapped flint and was rebuilt in 1870 with windows in a Perpendicular style.  The 18thc transeptal S chapel is of red brick. The chancel is substantially early 13thc, with lancets and a priest’s doorway of that date on the S side.  The N chapel is 16thc and is rendered in mortar outside.  A view of 1835 shows much the same arrangement of elements, but with a shorter tower of indeterminate date capped by a conical roof.  The church also houses a chevron-decorated font, probably 12thc rather than 19thc but grotesquely over restored. A new font carved by Marilyn Smith was installed in 2008.


The manor and church have a long history extending, according to the church guide, back to 802, when a charter of Denewulf, Bishop of Winchester, referred to the consecration of the church.  This seems unlikely since Denewulf’s episcopacy extended from 879 to 909.   A charter of Alfred the Great, dateable 878-99, regrants 60 hides at Hurstbourne Priors to Denewulf, Bishop of Winchester.  A charter of Edward the Elder of 900AD confirms a grant to the cathedral of 50 hides at Hurstbourne Priors bequeathed by Alfred, adding that it had been previously acquired from Abingdon abbey by King Egbert in exchange for land at Marcham, Berks. Alfred’s will also survives to confirm this, and is generally considered authentic.  The manor, then, certainly belonged to the bishop and monks before the Conquest, and the Domesday survey records that it had always belonged to the monastery.  It was assessed at 38 hides with 30 acres of meadow and woodland for 20 pigs.  Parts of the manor were held from the bishop by tenants.  Geoffrey held 5 hides and 20 acres of meadow in 1086, and before the Conquest this was held by three thegns with three halls.  Richer held two hides, and William another two hides from the bishop in 1086.  Finally, Leofwine held one hide from the bishop, with a church and two acres of meadow.

In 1157 Bishop Henry of Blois bestowed the great tithes of several Hampshire churches, including this one, on the Hospital of St Cross, which he had founded in 1136.  Later, possession of the manor by the prior and monks of the Cathedral was confirmed by Pope Innocent III in 1205, and they retained it until the Dissolution.


Exterior Features


Tower W doorway

Two orders, round headed.  The doorway was reused by Clark and Holland in their new tower of 1870, and now provides the only entrance to the church for the parish.

Height of opening (to step) 2.61m
Width of opening 1.15m
1st order

Plain and continuous

2nd order

En-delit nook-shafts in sections on slender bulbous bases, carrying double-scallop capitals with beading around the lower edges of the shields and wedges between the cones.  The neckings are plain rolls, and the imposts quirked hollow-chamfered.  The arch is carved with lateral centrifugal face chevron of roll hollow roll profile with a cogwheel edge, and outside it is a chamfered label carved with a row of chip-carved quatrefoils with fluted petals on the chamfer.

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel, N chapel arch

Round headed, two orders to S, one to N. Probably the chancel arch of the 12thc church.

1st order

Plain unmoulded jambs carrying plain chamfered imposts and an unmoulded arch.

2nd order (S face only)

Plain unmoulded jambs carrying plain chamfered imposts.  The arch is carved with lateral centrifugal face chevron of roll hollow roll profile with a cogwheel edge, and outside it is a flat label carved with a row of chip-carved sexfoils with fluted petals.




At the W end of the nave on the S side.  The bowl is tall and beaker-shaped and stands on a 19thc support consisting of a cylindrical shaft on a spurred attic base, on a square plinth and a step.

The bowl is carved with horizontal chevron bands encircling it.   Their profile, from top to bottom, is as follows:

(i) A row of flat chevron teeth pointing downwards, with a step around the lower edges.

(ii) A roll, a groove and a thin quadrant.

(iii) A roll with a double-quirk below it.

(iv) A roll.

(v) A broad, flat fillet, stepped above and below.

(vii) A row of flat chevron teeth pointing upwards.

The chevron is extremely irregularly laid out, and runs out of phase at various points.  In the worst of these, towards the NE, a vertical leaf-shape has been carved to fill a particularly awkward gap between elements (iii) and (iv).  A horizontal crack runs around the bowl just below the middle, and another runs vertically from it to the rim on the S side.  Both have been repaired with iron clamps.  It is not conventionally lined, but a small stone bowl has been inserted inside the basin to reduce its capacity.

The font is in very poor condition, despite its pristine appearance, which must be due to a dramatic recutting in the 19thc.  Inserted repairs on the rim mark the damage caused by the removal of staples for locks.

Ext. diameter of bowl at rim 0.70m
Height of bowl 0.585m
Int. diameter of bowl at rim (ignoring insert) 0.58m


The W doorway and the interior arch are carved with chevron of identical and common types.  The scallop capitals of the W doorway are also of a standard type, but the chip-carving suggests a relatively early date, say c1130-50.  The font is heavily recut, but probably of a similar date to the other Romanesque work here.  Pevsner makes no mention of it.


  • Anon., St Andrew’s Church Hurstbourne Priors (The Church and Manor of Hurstbourne Priors). Undated.

  • N. Pevsner and D. Lloyd, The Buildings of England. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Harmondsworth 1967, 300-01.

  • P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and Bibliography. London 1968, S354, S358.

  • Victoria County History: Hampshire. IV(1911), 287-91.

  • Victoria County History: Hampshire. II (1973), 108-15.


Site Location
Hurstbourne Priors
National Grid Reference
SU 439 467 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hampshire
now: Hampshire
medieval: Winchester
now: Winchester
now: St Andrew
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
06 April 2006