Christianity came late to the New Forest and there are many tiny churches and chapels dating from the eighteenth century or later.
Even the larger older churches have, in many cases, been extensively enlarged in this period.
St Peter's Church, Bramshaw
Only the west end of the nave survives from the original Bramshaw Church which dates back to the mid 13th century.
The rest was rebuilt in brick in 1829 by John Pensiton (according to Pevsner) and the chancel and vestry are modern.
The end result is surprisingly pretty in a quirky kind of way.
The most striking thing about the fine little 12th century church at Ellingham is the bright blue sundial above the porch.
No excuse for being late for the services at this church then. Unless itʼs cloudy, of course.
It was originally the church of an alien priory founded by William de Solariis in the year 1160
as a cell to the Benedictine Abbey of St. Sauveur-le-Vicomte.
Since then the main building has undergone little alteration apart from the porch which was added in 1720 and the west wall which was rebuilt in 1746.
External Links and References
Alien houses: Priory of Ellingham
Dry as dust history of Ellingham Priory from A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 2 https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol2/pp229-230
All Saints, Fawley is an odd church.
The two side aisles are roughly the same width as the nave
and the chancel is flanked by two chapels that are almost as big as it.
This results in a large rectangular, almost warehouse-like space, oddly divided into three bays at one end.
To get round this, the main altar has been brought forward to the top of the nave and the modern seating arranged to face it
so that members of the congregation in the chancel have their backs to the High Altar.
St Maryʼs, Hale was once a medieval church surrounded by a village.
Most of the village disappeared in the Black Death, and the rest migrated a mile and a half to the east of the church when, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the original site was subsumed by Hale Manor.
In 1631 the church walls were raised and the church was re-roofed by Sir Thomas Penruddock. A year later he added the chancel.
Then in 1717, Thomas Archer, architect of Hale Park the nearby Palladian style Georgian Mansion,
built the transepts and re-faced the building, giving it much of the appearance it has today.
And donʼt we know it, as he also designed the monument to himself and his wives that dominates the south transept.
It was re-roofed again in the 19th century when a bell cote was added to the north transept.
External Links and References
St Mary's, Hale
Service times from the official site. http://www.avp-benefice.org.uk/churches/hale/
The fifteenth century tower is all that remains of the original Harbridge Church.
The nave and the chancel were completely rebuilt in 1838 at the expense of the Earl of Normanton, owner of nearby Somerley House.
This was done in the traditional style, reusing some of the original stonework.
All Saints, Minstead
Whilst the core of All Saints, Minstead church dates back to the early 13th century it has been much modified and extended.
The porch was added in 1683; The tower in 1774 and the large South Transept in the late 18th century.
In the early 19th century, a family pew room was added on the north side, together with a schoolroom against porch, a vestry and the tower.
According to documents in the Hampshire Record Office, Cross Lanes Chapel was built in 1851 by the chapelʼs first minister, Mr Arthur Mist.
The church was formed 'in connexion with' the Ebeneezer Independent Chapel in Old Hall Lane, Ringwood,
under pastorate of Revd J O Jackson. The burial ground was added 1859.