Three churches and a goldfish

St Nicholas Church, Freefolk

After Saturday’s church visit fail, I decided to be a little more organised about my fifty before fifty travels yesterday and add another couple from the Churches Conservation Trust list and actually look up the locations properly before I set out.

I am still full of cold and feeling pretty under the weather so I thought three would do for yesterday.

First stop was St Nicholas Church, Freefolk, Hampshire. What a fabulous name for a village, I like that a lot.

It’s a tiny little church tucked down a single track lane half in someone’s front garden.

But it is very pretty and signposted so I had no trouble finding it.

It has remnants of centuries-old wall paintings on the wall and a small wooden slatted bell tower.

But the real surprise is a huge painted and gilded memorial inside to one Sir Richard Powlett.

Sir Richard Powlett’s memorial.

From what I can discover Sir Richard was the knight of Freefolk House and died in 1614. His memorial features him lying on his side, below him are his two daughters dressed in mourning black and above the memorial hangs his helmet and one spur.

It’s very unusual, I hadn’t seen anything quite like it.

I can’t find out very much about Sir Richard, although Hampshire Records Office appears to hold a couple of letters to him, one of which requests him to appear before a panel of knights ‘to render account for maimed soldiers’. I wonder how they were maimed.

His memorial is certainly impressive though.

Next church on my list was a few miles away in a tiny place called Preston Candover.

One of the added bonuses about hunting down these churches is the tiny little villages and hamlets I discover on the way that I never knew existed.

St Mary the Virgin Old Church, Preston Candover, Hampshire.

This is St Mary the Virgin Old Church in Preston Candover, once again tucked away behind a house but I found it easily enough because of this.

Churches Conservation Trust signposts.

Medieval floor tiles.

This chancel is all that’s left of the church, the rest was demolished in 1855.

The pretty little churchyard is part over grown and the church is estimated to date from around 1190.

Inside there were these incredible Medieval floor tiles. How many interesting people must have stepped on these over the centuries?

I bet when they were new they were really quite vibrant and bright although they look like they’ve been picked up and plonked back in random places, I’m not sure they are in their original positions.

I have no clue what this is though. It is just sitting in the corner in the chancel. In front of it was a lawn mower!

St Mary’s, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire.

My last stop was the church I was meant to see on Saturday – St Mary’s at Hartley Wintney.

It wasn’t open, but I knew that was going to be the case. Some of the churches owned by the Churches Conservation Trust, have keyholders living nearby and, although the telephone numbers are on the doors of the churches, it seems a bit intrusive to me to ring up and demand the key be brought down now. I think I would prefer to call in advance and arrange a convenient time.

As this church is on my doorstep, I can visit again.

Now somewhere in this graveyard is the grave of Henry ‘Hangman’ Hawley, Lieutenant-General in the English army and defeater of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden. He lived locally at  a house called West Green in the village.

I didn’t find the grave (it was cold, I am ill) but as I will be returning there anyway, I am sure I will on another occasion.

The church is another mish mash of architecture, started by nuns, it now has a 13th century chancel and nave and a flint tower from the 19th century, but it is so much prettier than the church of St John’s that is in use in the village and I wonder why they stopped using it.

All the churches managed by the Churches Conservation Trust are no longer in regular use, but all are still consecrated so services can take place there.

So that was my journey yesterday. Incidentally, today I have started signing the guestbooks Dory’s World instead of my name, just for fun really :) And I always give a donation while I’m there.


And elsewhere in Dory’s World, this is the newest addition to the family. This is Barry who arrived from the fairground on Saturday night.

It took the terror that is Marvin the Marvelous (cat) all of half a day to stick his head in the goldfish bowl so now Barry is living upstairs in Pud’s bedroom.

Kerry’s boyfriend John also won one for her. This has been named Jeremy and is currently residing at John’s house.




  1. Your posts are irresistible Dory…, this is a beaut – do love the history as well as the wonderful churches, and beautiful settings….

    • Thanks Valerie, that’s very kind and I’m having so much fun on my travels.

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