3 – Looking at the nave.

View towards organ

Try to imagine it as it was originally, with every surface in the church painted with Bible stories in warm colours, even the pillars. The sculptures in the nave would all have been picked out in colour, the heads between the arches, the leaves and flowers looking like jewels. A few local churches still preserve their paintings from this period but the last of ours disappeared in the early 20th century.

The nave (the central section of the Church) dates from the second half of the twelfth century. After about 1103 no more building work seems to have been done on the church for about 50 years. This is probably because there was no Abbot with any interest in funding it, and later because of the Anarchy, the civil war which raged between 1139 and 1153 between King Stephen and Henry I’s daughter Matilda.

In about 1150 building started again and our great central arch was built, 39 feet high. Behind it, where the Altar is now, there was the tower with three other supporting arches, possibly not so high, with the transepts running out at each side to form chapels (all this was allowed to collapse in the sixteenth century).

By this point we had a well-connected Abbot as our Lord of the Manor, Henri de Sully; he was the nephew of King Stephen (1135-54). Another uncle, the King’s brother, was the rich and powerful Bishop Henry of Winchester. Around 1160 Bishop Henry finished building his splendid church at the Hospital of St Cross on the edge of Winchester and many of the features of that church appear in ours. We think that at least one of the master masons who built St Cross came here to work in our church. This in about 1160 – it was finished in about 1175.

Second labelstop in north arcade with arch springers

Play the audio file below to hear more about this Abbot and his uncle and their creation of our Nave


Labelstop on first arch on north arcade

Please proceed to the Tudor Screen (in the North Chapel at the end of the north aisle next to the Altar (see 4 on plan) and then press Next.