Saturday, 21 November 2015

Return to Hampstead Norreys

I visited the church of St Mary the Virgin  a few years ago but at the time of the visit a service was going on so I left the church for another day. I must admit every time I have visited it had been raining or overcast and today was no different. 

The entrance to St Mary the Virgin

Less overcast than last time though I was thwarted going in as the church was being used at the time for a dance class so after bumping into a local I was informed they would be finished in a short time so I took a few more photos round the churchyard.

One thing you pass is this base of what looks to be an old preaching cross
The waether looked quite nice at the time

But the clouds brought a shower of rain

But at least it was not like the last time very misty

The east end of St Mary

The bell tower

Chancel Cross


The porch and on the right the bell tower. There was some occasion happening in the village that day so that is why the flags you see were in place

Before going in the church I wandered the churchyard

Visiting the new Village cemetery

The cross at the top was even more covered in Ivy and the older headstones still stood though fading 

The main churchyard had gained some  safety fencing round the tombs,which I thought was the local PC not wanting people to fall in and them get sued but I have been since told  the tombs involved are very ancient and, unfortunately, in a very fragile state of repair and at risk of collapsing. They have now been repared and I will be returning to get some photos of them

Park of the churchyard on the South East end had been cleared so the heastones were now easy to see

Cleared enough to see the wall

and a few of the old headstones  piled there

 As ever I was drawn to look at the cast tomb
which belongs  to the Lowsley Family

 They are remembered all round the tomb 

 and there is a Celtic cross nearby to Horace Lowsley

So to the inside of the church where I had to carefully take my photos to leave out some of the boxes of children's toys and partition boards that was in there.

The chancel which looked very light and set  off by the color of the altar cloth
Looking back towards the rear of the church and the balcony

 The church did have a fine looking Organ that had been fitted in an arch

It also had a carved stone pulpit and some nice floral decorations 

as you can see I had to contend with a few tables as well
View of the nave from the pulpit

I did come across a tomb in the floor with a fine coat of arms on it

Another thing of note is the church used to have a Rood Loft as the steps here tell

The church also had a fair few memorial around on the walls

Like this one to Reverend John Blissard who was vicar of the parish

This small one to Richard & Susan Drewe 

another older one to the Drewe Family

On the left are the remnants of a wall painting no doubt middle ages and on the right a memorial to Isaac Mathews who died in 1724

His wife Mary survived  a good many years longer

 A memorial to Jethro Lousley a churchwarden who died in 1918

A couple of carvings were evident under the where the plaster had been removed one with glass fronted frame to protect it

Small Celtic cross in an alcove

I was taken with the joists in the roof where on one you could see the date of 1635
 Pity the chancel did not have one

The local WI or WU were evident in their work with the kneelers. I always wonder if the beautiful banners you see in churches were also made by them

A simple wooden cross

The church seems to have two fonts which is very unusual

At the back is the roll of Honour for Hampstead Norreys

which reveals family names common to Berkshire

I'll leave you with this view through this wonderful old church
Have a peaceful Weekend


  1. Beautiful, Bill! Simply beautiful!

  2. What a beautiful church! I love the wooden roof beams. And the organ is stunning, as is the carved stone pulpit. The cemetery is very interesting too.
    Thanks you for sharing.

  3. my favorite parts: the organ, the ceiling arch way, & that grave stone that almost looks a cake or suchness? very different. ( :
    my post this week:

  4. I like the castle like tower on this one.

  5. Thank you for the tour. It had such an interesting assortment of tombstones.

  6. I'm always so impressed with the work that goes into those unique kneelers! Very cool. I always appreciate your extensive research on your posts! Thanks for your visit to the Happy Wonderer

  7. What a wonderfully beautiful place! That organ is awesome to see.

  8. Looks like a beautiful and fascinating place, Bill. Great photos - as usual!

  9. Thank you for the lovely coverage of our beautiful 1th century church and churchyard. It was lovely to read some of the nice comments your followers have made.

    Just one correction. The reason some of the tombs had security fencing around them was not because the PCC felt threatened by legal action but because the tombs involved are very ancient and, unfortunately, in a very fragile state of repair and at risk of collapsing. This is quite a unique set of historical tombs and we didn't want to be in the position of them collapsing altogether and then the iron railings being dismantled for scrap.

    Because of their uniqueness we were fortunate to obtain a £60,000 heritage grant. All the tombs have undergone complete restoration with the stonework having been repaired and replaced by a heritage stonemason from Salisbury and all the railings repaired and restored by a heritage forge in Dorset.

    Please do visit again now that the churchyard is back to how it would have been many hundreds of years ago; it looks beautiful.

    We are one of very few churches that have managed to raise the funds to do this important work. Most churches, unfortunately, struggle to keep the building in good repair so churchyards tend to get over looked.

    Thank you again for your interest.

    1. Thank you for the information, I shall return in the near future for some photos. One of my reasons for touring round churyard is to highlite what they look like and hopefully gain some interest and help for them. Our heritige should not be lost nor should our religion