Petersfield Church, Hampshire

The church was here before the town of Petersfield, hence the town’s name. It seems likely that it was founded by Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror shortly before the Domesday Book was started. Petersfield was part of the manor of Mapledurham (now called Buriton) which land she owned. It seems the church was built because notoriously boggy land lay between here and the existing church at Mapledurham and so when a new village was to be founded provision needed to be made for the villagers spiritual needs.

St. Peter’s remained a chapel of ease to Mapledurham for many centuries, but interestingly when Pope Alexander III (1159-84) passed the gift to the Nuns of Eaton (Nuneaton) Petersfield was mentioned as the church and Mapledurham as the chapel, implying that the better situation of the new village meant it was already outgrowing its neighbour.

It stayed as a chapel of ease until 1886 when it finally became a separate parish church. Now it is the parent church with Buriton as the secondary.

In true Norman style the first church was cruciform with a central tower, however, it is thought the tower fell down (or perhaps was never completed) and during the late 12th Century a west tower was added in its place. The tower was enlarged in the 14th Century and the parapet was added, largely giving us a church of the size that stands today.

In 1873 the architect Sir Arthur Blomfield was employed to renovate and restore. In his usual style he took it upon himself to rebuild the nave, south wall and most of the chancel. Blomfield’s work at Petersfield is fairly restrained and the building still has the appearance of a medieval church rather than a Victorian rebuild.

In 1998 the church was closed for a year for restructuring and renovation.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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