St Mary, Eling, Hampshire

Feature Sets (2)


Eling is a village on the S edge of Totton at the N end of Southampton Water.  The church stands on a rise overlooking the main road running through the village. It consists of an 11thc-12thc nave with a chancel with N and S aisles. The N, of c.1300, has a tower at its W end, while the S arcade dates from c.1200, but has been widened and its arches replaced c.1300 to match those of the N arcade. The chancel has N and S chapels that communicate with their respective nave aisles, and there is a plain vestry on the N side of the N chapel that bears a date of 1825. Early 12thc windows in the W bay of the S nave aisle wall and the E bay of the N chancel chapel arcade wall confirm that both nave and chancel date from c.1100. Photographs of these plain windows are included, but the only Romanesque feature recorded here is the S nave arcade.

The church was drastically restored by Benjamin Ferrey in 1863-65, and, with the exception of the tower and N aisle, externally looks Victorian rather than medieval.


Eling was held by the king in 1086, and although the number of hides is not known it was clearly a major settlement with 69 recorded people indicating a population of more than 300.  Two mills were noted along with the church and a fishery.  Part of the manor was taken into the New Forest, reducing the value of woodland for pigs and honey, and destroying 19 of the serfs’ dwellings. Belonging to Eling were 2 berewicks on the Isle of Wight and 3 outside it, but when it was received from the king by Hugh de Port the 2 on the island wer held by Earl William of Hereford. With the exception of a grant for life to Gervase de Southampton, who founded God's House, Southampton, about 1193, the manor seems to have remained in royal hands until King John early in his reign granted it to Emma de Clere or de Staunton, to hold for the service of a tenth part of a knight's fee. Emma's daughter Cecily married Henry Husee, who forfeited the manor, which was ordered to be restored to him in 1217.

The advowson of the church was with the king until it was granted to Gervase of Southampton by Richard I. Gervase gave it to his brother Roger, but on Gervase’s death it reverted to the crown. King John gave in to Mottisfont Priory in 1204-05, and it remained with that house until the Dissolution.


Interior Features



S arcade

3 bays, pointed. The arches are of two chamfered orders and date from c.1300.  Piers are octagonal and responds semi-octagonal, both on 19thc bases, carrying octagonal capitals with undercut hollow chamfered imposts with quirked faces and plain chamfered neckings. All capitals appear to be heavily restored or recut.

E respond capital

Concave bell decorated with a row of spade-shaped vertical leaves, alternately overlapping, with fleshy central veins

Pier 1 capital

Convex bell decorated with a row of broad vertical leaves with central veins and ponted tips.

Pier 2 capital

As pier 1 capital but the leaves have crinkled edges, and some are similar but smaller and on short stems rising diagonally from the necking.

W respond capital

The main face and inner halves of the flanking faces have a form of multi-scallop with shields emerging from between pointed, fluted vertical leaves.  The outer faces are carved with a row of thick, pointed, fluted vertical leaves.


Pevsner dates the S arcade supports and capital forms to the late-12thc, noting that carved details are all renewed. The CRSBI is grateful to Terence Henry and the Totton and Eling Historical Society for the historic photograph of the church.


  • English Heritage Listed Building 143476

  • N. Pevsner and D. Lloyd, The Buildings of England. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Harmondsworth 1967, 207-09.

  • Victoria County History: Hampshire. IV (1911), 546-58.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SU 367 125 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hampshire
now: Hampshire
now: Winchester
medieval: Winchester
now: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
01 July 2014