Dibden is a village on the W side of Southampton Water on the N outskirts of Hythe. Dibden was formerly an extensive parish on the NE edge of the New Forest, with farms scattered around a central village core. This state of affairs has been overtaken by the growth of Hythe and Dibden Purlieu, and although the core still remains, around the church, Church Farm and the site of the old manor, it no longer forms a unified village centre. All Saints’ was bombed in 1940 and restored in 1955 by Pinckney and Gott. The restoration necessitated the replacement of the nave, but the 1884 tower and medieval chancel remain. The church now consists of a nave with a S porch, a W tower, and a late-13thc chancel with tall blind arcading on the interior to N and S. The only Romanesque feature is the Purbeck marble font.
Eling was held by Ketil in 1066, when it was assessed at 5 hides, and by Oda in 1086, when its valuation was only 2 hides, since 3 hides had been taken into the New Forest. No church was noted at this time but there was a salt-pan and a fishery.
In the 12thc the overlordship was held by Reynold de St Valery (d.1166) and then his son Bernard (d.1190). Dibden descended through the female line to Robert, Count of Dreux, and eventually fell into royal hands, being given to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, Henry III’s younger brother. The tenancy was split into three manors, one of which was rented by Reynold de St Valery to Edmund and Nicholas de Dibden in the time of Henry II. It stayed with the Dibdens until the death of Thomas de Dibden some time after 1428. The two other tenancies were held in the 13thc by John atte Hanger (1276) and Walter Nott (1300) respectively. The advowson of the church belonged, during this period, to the three lords in turn.
On the N side of the nave, opposite the S doorway. It is of Purbeck marble with a square bowl mortared to a large, square quirked chamfered impost block the is supported on the usual 5 shafts, the outer ones with cushion capitals and tall bulbous bases. These stand on a modern plinth and step. The bowl is not lined, but fitted with a framework for a modern steel basin. The upper surface of the bowl is generally eroded, and the four faces are decorated with relief designs as described below.
|Height of bowl||0.25m|
|Height of font (without plinth or step)||0.80m|
|Height of impost under bowl||0.09m|
|Interior diameter of basin||0.54m|
|Width of bowl at top||0.64m x 0.65m|
A row of 3 tall lilies with its symmetrical side petals apparently compass-drawn producing the effect of arcading.
A shallow arcade of 7 bays, completely unarticulated.
Two large quatrefoils in the form of saltires, badly eroded and difficult to read.
A row of three half-circles engraved along the rim, touching a similar design along the bottom of the face and thus forming lozenges in the interstices. This face is deeply grooved and worn in a horizontal central band.
English Heritage Listed Building 143383.
N. Pevsner and D. Lloyd, The Buildings of England. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Harmondsworth 1967, 191.
Victoria County History: Hampshire. IV(1911), 655-58.