The Church

Credit: Garry Allam, Bishop's Sutton Heritage; curated by Mark Allen

Early 16th century Brasses situated in St Nicholas church

It has been suggested that they represent Lewis Wingfield born about 1466 died 1526 and his wife Margaret (nee Noon) born about 1475. Lewis was granted the lease of Bishops Sutton manor by Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester in 1519. On his death Lewis willed the Manor to a Henry Wingfield.

Bishop's Sutton, Early 16th century Brasses situated in St Nicholas church

St Nicholas Church Norman South Doorway Beak heads and some later graffiti

The Norman South doorway is a rare example of carved chalk beak-head ornament. These beak-head type ornamentations are usually found around arches as in Sutton's case, and are not always exclusively birds but can be all sorts of intimidating grotesque animals and even humans. Reading Abbey, founded by King Henry I as his mausoleum in 1121, is usually seen as the fountainhead of Beakhead in this country. It seems no coincidence that Henry I brought Henry de Blois to England and it was he as Bishop of Winchester that is thought to have had St Nicholas Church built and founded St Cross in Winchester that has a similar design around a window.

Why these carvings were allowed on churches is not clear, but it has been suggested that these terrifying creatures represent the sin and vice that fills the world, which must be rejected by the man of God. The predatory birds: that cluster around their doorway are there to remind us that the world is really like that, however beautiful and serene it may appear, and that the only refuge is to be found in the Church.

Bishop's Sutton, St Nicholas Church Norman South Doorway Beak heads and some later graffiti

A representation of the doorway without its more modern porch taken from Duthys Sketches of Hampshire 1839.

Bishop's Sutton, A representation of the doorway without its more modern porch taken from Duthys Sketches of Hampshire 1839.

The blocked-in 14 century trefoiled squint in the north side of St Nicholas Church

Often described as the Lepers Squint, where the village lepers and other then-undesirables could look through to the altar and observe church rituals without encountering other parishioners.

Bishop's Sutton, The blocked-in 14 century trefoiled squint in the north side of St Nicholas Church

St Nicholas Church plate Silver Paten possibly 14th -early 15th century

The Church of St Nicholas in Bishop's Sutton has four pieces of church plate:
1. Britannia Pewter flagon What was at the beginning of the 1900’s described as a modern.
2. Silver Alms dish dating from 1751 a plain dish 9 inches in diameter and weighs 12. Ozs.5 dwts. Inscribed S Howard died 19 Feb 1752.
3. Silver Communion cup or Chalice of 1638. it has a plain bowl which rests on a trumpeted stem and weighs 7 ozs . 13 dwts, standing 6 ¾ inches high.
4. Silver paten Parcel-Gilt 5 ¼ inches diameter weighs 2 ozs . 19 dwts, the date for this interesting plate has been suggested as around 1440, although tradition has it that it was presented to St Nicholas’s by the Bishop of Winchester William of Wykeham which would make it 1366-1404

Bishop's Sutton, St Nicholas Church plate Silver Paten possibly 14th -early 15th century

St Nicholas Church 1913, Edward Thomas

There are many photos of the church but not many from this angle you can just see the roofs of the Alms House and Holberry Cottage. This was taken by The Poet Edward Thomas.

Bishop's Sutton, St Nicholas Church 1913, Edward Thomas

St Nicholas Church c1910

Looks like it was taken from Whitehill lane looking across the B3047

Bishop's Sutton, St Nicholas Church c1910

Memorial to Mabel Louisa Bennett 1879-1890

If you walk around the back of the Church there is one tomb stone that always stands out: the one with the little angel and the bird. This is the sad memorial to a little girl from the village - Mabel Louisa Bennett, who was born in the summer of 1879 the only child of William and Louisa. William was a grocer and employed 2 men and I assume lived in the shop, although at the time there were a couple of grocers living in the village. It seems that poor little Mabel contracted an illness that led to her demise after a short time on the 22 September 1890 not long after her 11th birthday. It seems that William and Louisa moved away shortly after as they don’t show on the 1891 census although they were both living in Freemantle Southampton by 1901.

Bishop's Sutton, Memorial to Mabel Louisa Bennett 1879-1890

Mabel Louisa Bennett Hampshire Chronicle Funeral report 27 September 1890

Bishop's Sutton, Red Crosses St Nicholas Church

Red Crosses St Nicholas Church

At the end of Chancel on the wall behind the Altar on either side of the east end Window there are two painted red crosses. These are known as Consecration or Dedication Crosses and both are dated from the 14 Century. These crosses are said to indicate two of the twelve places that were touched with Chrism or Holy Water when the Bishop anointed the Church as he consecrated it. Perhaps this was done after the Chancel was completely rebuilt in the late 13th century - most likely by either Bishop John of Pontoise or Henry Woodlock.

Bishop's Sutton, Memorial to Mabel Louisa Bennett 1879-1890