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Cheriton - The village said to be a turning-point in the Civil War

Cheriton's 12th century parish church of St Michael is built on a sharp little hill, said to be a prehistoric burial mound. The porch entrance has plain Norman pillars and is probably one of the oldest parts of the building. In 1744 there was a fire brought about by four years of drought which wasn't broken until the last quarter of the year. The following is an entry in the church register by the curate Charles Moody, "On Tuesday ye 29th May 1744 a very sudden and terrible fire broke out in this parish which in the space of two hours burnt down and consumed several houses, outhouses, barns and stables belonging to the Parsonage and communicated itself to the church which being shingled was immediately all in flames, the roof and seats entirely destroyed, ye bells melted, the windows demolished and nothing left standing but ye walls". He goes on to relate that the Rector had the chancel repaired and the Bishop of Winchester gave the timber needed to repair the damage to the building, but apart from their generosity the cost of the work involved amounted to 630 and upwards, the sum was raised and the Church restored within two years.


The Nave has arcades of three bays each side dating to the early 13th century. The nave of a church traditionally is the part that belonged to the people; in medieval times, the people of the parish were responsible for the upkeep of the nave, and the parish priest for the upkeep of the chancel.


This Norman scratch or mass sun dial on the right hand side of the porch entrance was used to indicate the times of the Church services. The pin has long disappeared.


On either side of the entrance to the porch are two mysterious curved-sided triangles. The origins have puzzled many experts over the years but it is thought they probably originated as an embellishment to an arch.


These lovely stained glass windows were given to the church by Mrs Mary Egerton who lived in the village for over 50 years. It was a blow to her when her four nephews were killed in the First World War. The four windows were dedicated to their memory on All Saints' Day 1919. The windows illustrate the four knightly duties of Honour, Loyalty, Courage and Duty, and show the young knights dressed in their coats of arms with shields and crests. They commemorate Lieut. Geoffrey Pratt who died of wounds on November 27th 1915 aged 22; Lieut Frederick Egerton who died of wounds April 1st 1916 aged 19; Lieut. Stephen Christy killed in action July 12th 1916 aged 20 and Second Lieut. Basil Christy who died of wounds October 3rd 1916 aged 19.


Two Helmeted Pea Hens, part of a larger group of about 30 running free near a local farm.


Looking across the fields where the Battle of Cheriton was fought in 1644 and said to be a turning-point in the Civil War. The Roundheads under Sir William Waller routed the Earl of Forth and Lord Hopton's Royalist Army in the battle near Cheriton Wood, to the east of the village. The battle culminated in Lamborough Lane where it is said that the slaughter was terrible with the lane running in blood. Of the 20,000 soldiers that took part over 2000 Englishmen died that day.


A memorial on the outskirts of the village marking the Battle Cheriton.






Click on the image above for a larger version.

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All Photographs copyright David Packman © 2002 - 2009 (All Rights Reserved)