We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Mary and St Michael, Stoke Charity, Hampshire

(51°9′3″N, 1°18′8″W)
Stoke Charity
SU 489 393
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Hampshire
now Hampshire
  • Ron Baxter
06 April 2006

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=10254.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


Stoke Charity is in rolling woodland and sheep pasture in central Hampshire, 6 miles N of Winchester, and is one of a chain of villages than runs along the valley of the river Dever, many of which form the present benefice. The tiny village is on the S side of the river, with the church now standing alone in fields to the N of the centre, close to the riverbank. The manor, originally SW of the church, was demolished c1730, and the widening of the river to the NW of the church is probably connected with the provision of manor fishponds. The Iron Age hillfort of Norsebury Ring is half a mile to the N of the church, across the river.

The nave has a W bell turret carrying a short broach spire; both tower and spire clad in wooden shingles. It also has a N aisle and a 19thc timber S porch. The chancel has a N chapel linked to the nave aisle by an arch. The nave must be 12thc, although its S wall was rebuilt and it was lengthened westward in the early 14thc, and its doorway and W and S windows are of this period. The 2-bay N arcade is 12thc, however, as is the arch to the N chapel from the aisle and a small doorway, curiously set at the E end of the aisle. The aisle N windows are 19thc replacements and its W window is of c1300. The chancel arch is 12thc, but the chancel is otherwise late 13thc, with S windows and a piscina of that date. The E wall has been rebuilt in brick and a 3-light Perpendicular window of 1907, said to reproduce the design of a 15thc window and incorporating some 15thc glass, is set in it. The present N chapel is 15thc., built by Thomas Hampton (d.1483) and his wife Isabella (d.1475), whose tombs it houses. The 15thc chapel clearly replaced an earlier one on the site, as is demonstrated by the 12thc arch from the N aisle and traces of c1200 wallpainting on the S wall. It was restored in 1946. The exterior is of flint except the E chancel wall, rebuilt in brick, and the timber porch, bell-turret and spire. Romanesque features are the N arcade, the chancel arch, the arch from the aisle to the N chapel, the N aisle doorway and a pillar piscina head mortared to the N chapel window sill (described as a loose stone below).


Stoke Charity is not certainly mentioned in the Domesday Survey. VCH proposes that the manor was among the lands in Micheldever presented to Hyde Abbey, Winchester, by Edward the Elder in 904, and identifies the Domesday “Stockes”, held by the Bishop of Winchester and from him by one Geoffrey as a manor of 4 hides as Stoke Charity. If so it has been wrongly entered under the hundred of Meon. By the 13thc Stoke Charity was held by Henry de Caritate, and from him by John of Windsor. It remained in the Windsor family until the end of the 13thc., thence passing by marriage of the heiress, Alice, to her son Thomas de Alneto. Later ownership of the manor may be found in VCH.

The church, if VCH’s speculations about the Domesday manor are correct, was held by Mauger in 1086. Thereafter the advowson passed with the manor.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches
Nave arches



Loose Sculpture


Pevsner described the arcade as early Norman, despite the octagonal piers, and the chancel arch as late Norman. He was puzzled by the chevron in the small N nave aisle doorway, which he suggested might have come from one of the main 12thc doorways to the nave. This seems unlikely, as it does not appear to have been cut down. The arch to the S chapel from the aisle also gave him problems, and he speculated that it was contemporary with the chancel arch; unlikely on style grounds. VCH dates both the arcade and the chancel arch c1160. What seems certain to the present author is that the chancel arch and the piscina head are contemporary, high-quality work of c.1170, while the arcade is much cruder and is likely to be earlier rather than later, but not by much, perhaps c.1140-50. The chapel arch could be contemporary with this, but is not later, while the exterior doorway was built in its present form as a priest’s doorway; needed, for some reason, on the N side but more conveniently accessing the aisle rather than the chapel. Green reports that the font is 12thc, but it has the octagonal form more typical of 13thc work.


B. Green, The Church of St Mary and St Michael, Stoke Charity. 1998.

N. Pevsner and D. Lloyd, The Buildings of England. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Harmondsworth 1967, 613-14

Victoria County History: Hampshire. III (1908), 447-51.