M. L. P, 19th Century
The Church of the Holy Rood, Holybourne, Hampshire, August 1877

incribed and dated in the margin "Holybourne Church , Hants, August 1877"

pencil and watercolour
25 x 17.50 cm.


Holybourne is a village in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It is 1.3 miles (2.2 km) northeast of the centre of Alton, is contiguous with it and shares its A31 bypass. The nearest railway station also being in Alton. The village has a population of around 1,500, and is where Treloar College is located. Holybourne has a pub – The White Hart – and a small store. Holybourne is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Haliborne, and appears in 1418 as Halybourn. The name is thought to be derived from the Old English Haligburna which means sacred stream, referring to the small stream whose spring is near Holybourne Church whence it runs through the village.

English author Elizabeth Gaskell (1810–1865) bought a house in Holybourne in 1865. She died suddenly when visiting the house on 12 November 1865.

In the nineteenth century, a brewery was established in Holybourne by Walter Complin, who died in 1890. By the start of the 20th century, it was run by John Fowler Complin.The site is now occupied by a residential area called Complins. In 1984, planning permission was granted for the Holybourne Oil Terminal, rail served by the Alton Line, to be the trans-shipment point for production from the Humbly Grove oil field, Lasham, delivery of the oil to be by pipeline. In 1989, further permission was granted to deliver a limited amount of crude oil by road tanker.[5] The freight trains serving Holybourne arrive at Holybourne Freight railway station.

The Church of the Holy Rood in Holybourne has foundations dating from the 12th century, and the nave, west end and lower part of the tower appear to date from this time. The chancel was added later, completing the building by the 13th century. However, two centuries later the floor of the building was raised, possibly because of nearby springs. The north aisle was replaced in 1879.

In autumn 2009, eight new bells manufactured at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry were installed in the church by Whites Bellhangers, of Appleton, Oxon, who cleaned up the existing three bells and re-hung them on a new bell-frame installed higher up in the steeple and connected them back to the clock to continue their chiming role.

The new eight bells are in the key of B, and the heaviest (Bell No 8) weighs 6 cwt 3 qtrs 16 lb. They are inscribed and dedicated as follows:

No 1 Bell: Jane Austen, writer, 1775–1817
No 2 Bell: Elizabeth Gaskell, writer, 1810–1865
No 3 Bell: William Curtis, botanist, 1746–1799
No 4 Bell: Alfred Munnings, painter, 1878–1959 (the famous equestrian artist, who resided at The White Hart, Holybourne).
No 5 Bell: Edmund Spenser, poet, 1552–1599
No 6 Bell: Edward Thomas, poet, 1878–1917
No 7 Bell: Izaak Walton, angler & biographer, 1593–1683
No 8 Bell: Rev. Gilbert White, curate & naturalist, 1720–1793
On Sunday, 11 October 2009, there was a Service of Consecration of the eight new bells. On Sunday, 15 November 2009, there was a Service of Dedication by the Venerable Michael Harley – the new Archdeacon of Winchester.

Holybourne takes its name from the Old English Haligburna, meaning 'sacred stream'. The stream rises by the church creating a delightful pond, from which it flows as a tributary to the River Wey. It is perhaps surprising to find another church of Norman foundation so near to the ancient church of St Lawrence at Alton, less than two miles distant. The reason could be the proximity of Neatham, which was administered by the monks from Waverley Abbey, Holybourne church being one of many in Hampshire and Surrey established by the Cistercian monks of Waverley. The present church stands a little off the ancient route from Winchester to Farnham. Its foundations date to the 12th century, and the west end, the lower part of the present tower, and the nave seem to have constituted the original church. The north aisle was rebuilt in 1879, at one time being joined to the nave by a lean-to roof. The north aisle replaces a mediaeval one, whose two-bay fifteenth century arcade survives. The chancel, which is Early English (1190-1300) was added later and is the same width as the nave, an architectural oddity being created by the church's extension eastwards. This work was completed in the 13th century, but by two centuries later it was found necessary to raise the floor of the whole building, presumably due to problems arising from the nearby springs. By 1870, it became necessary to restore the nave, retaining the 15th century roof framework. The church is entered at the west end through a Norman arch under the tower. There is a fine Perpendicular three-light window in the east wall, and another can be seen in the north wall.Provision has been made in the north aisle for those attending in wheelchairs from the nearby Lord Mayor Treloar's College.

Holybourne is a chapelry in the parish of Alton in the northeastern part of Hampshire close to its border with neighbouring Surrey. As a chapelry the church was only registered for marriages for a short period in the duration of this transcript project. Holybourne is northeast of its mother parish along the line of the busy A31 which connects Alton with Farnham in Surrey and ultimately to London. Fortunately the A31 now follows a dual-carriageway to the south and no longer passes through the village. The village is set in the valley of the River Wey at just over 100 metres above sea level, however broad downs rise to the northwest to way over 200 metres as the valley is significantly incised. The area today is almost totally arable but would have had a significant amount of sheep grazing on the downland pastures at the time of this transcript. The area of the chapelry was compact, just over 1,300 acres, and supported just over 500 parishioners. In Domesday times Holybourne was held personally by the King and supported 5 ploughs.

Holy Rood church is sited to the west of a narrow lane which climbs from the village northwestwards on to the downs. The church is a mixture of four ages, the earliest part is the tower base which is Norman although the spire is a 19th century addition. The next oldest piece is the chancel which dates from the Early English era followed by the nave which dates from the classic build period of the Perpendicular. The church sits in a small graveyard bordered by a low stone wall, the site is curved to the road and access is gained by a wooden gateway. There are many mature trees making sight lines rather tricky, the east end, however, is presented rather pleasantly to the road.