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Benefice HomeBeauworth, St James Bramdean, St Simon & St Jude Cheriton, St Michael Church in the Wood Hinton Ampner, All Saints Kilmeston, St Andrew Tichborne, St Andrew

History of St Andrew's Church, Tichborne

ExteriorSt. Andrew's is a Grade I listed building and the oldest church of the Benefice having been founded in the middle of the 11th century. It is set on rising ground overlooking the village, built of stone and flint with an 18th century brick tower housing the bell chamber.

The Saxon chancel has unique double splayed windows and the north aisle is a Roman Catholic chantry and crypt of the Tichborne family which remains consecrated to the Roman Catholic Communion. The Jacobean box pews seat a maximum of 65 people. While an ancient building Tichborne was for much of its existence a chapelry within Cheriton parish and only became separate in 1974.

The Chancel and InteriorThe chancel showing the Jacobean communion rails and box pews. The memorial stone in the floor of the nave commemorates Thomas King, steward and clerk of the lands belonging to the bishop of Winchester, including the Tichborne estate. He was buried in March 1745/6.

The old, probably seventeenth century, south door opens into a charmingly rustic country interior to which nineteenth and twentieth century repairers have been kind. To the west is a heavy, sixteenth century box-pew and the twelfth century octagonal Norman font, which at some point has been roughly chamfered to a circular form. The eighteenth cover which is square clearly comes from elsewhere.

The Millenium WindowsThe two sets of windows each side of the door were renewed to mark the millennium, and made by Salisbury Cathedral Workshops from a design of actual views around the village.

They depict the four agricultural church festivals of Plough, Rogation, Lammas and Harvest, with their Christian symbols of faith, prayer, stewardship and thanksgiving.

The Tichborne Family Pew The Tichborne family pew is the best of the many Jacobean and Georgian box pews with which the church is filled. Several doors have been replaced, but the original wood has a wonderful patina. The photo detail here shows the hinge and armorial carving on Tichborne family pew. Of all the furnishings this pew is much the finest with its handsome panelling and decorative details. It may have been paid for by Sir Benjamin Tichborne whose spendid monument is on the north aisle (see below).

By the family pew is a small entrance doorway to the vanished rood-loft, complete with its original fifteenth century door, a rare and precious survival. The two blocked arches above may originally have held bells. In the tower there are six bells, rededicated in June 1948 and rehung and the third recast: No. 1 (1799), No. 2 (1737), No. 3 (1948), Nos. 4 and 5 (1737, recast 1887), No. 6. (1798). They are still rung occasionally.

The Tomb of Sir Benjamin Tichborne The alabaster tomb of Sir Benjamin Tichborne, the first baronet, with his wife Dame Amphillis and their seven children, was constructed in 1621. He was High Sheriff at the accession of James I in 1603, and immediately declared his loyalty to the new Stuart monarch.

As a result the king gave permission for Catholic services to be held in the north aisle of the church, which became the resting place for many subsequent generations of the family.

The Memorial to Richard Tichborne The memorial to Richard, infant son of Sir Richard Tichborne, the second baronet, who died in 1619 aged eighteen months. Tradition has it that a gipsy woman begged for food at the house and when refused laid a curse on the boy, foretelling his drowning on a certain day. The servants took him up to Gander Down well away from the river Itchen, where he fell out of the baby carriage and was drowned in a large puddle of water, thus fulfilling the prophecy.

The Picscinas The medieval piscina in the north chapel, used for cleansing the communion vessels. Nearby is an Elizabethan oak altar table, with a Latin cross in slight relief on the surface. It was used to support a small mensa (altar slab) for the secret saying of Latin mass for the Tichborne family. Tichborne appears to be only one of three churches in the country which has provided a place of worship for both Anglicans and Roman Catholics. An annual mass is still celebrated in the church at the time of the feast of St Peter and St Paul (29 June).

A larger piscina with aumbry (cupboard for keeping communion vessels and the sacrament) are to be found on the south wall of the main sanctuary, and the remains of another piscina on the south wall of the south aisle, where undoubtedly there was another chapel in the middle ages. These clues are important reminders of the historic liturgy of the past, but we should also remember that St Andrew's has its own small but faithful Anglican congregation which meet for worship here twice a month, and at major festivals of the church.

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