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St Mary, Eling, Hampshire

(50°54′38″N, 1°28′45″W)
SU 367 125
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Hampshire
now Hampshire
  • Ron Baxter
01 July 2014

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Feature Sets

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



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.