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St Andrew, Tichborne

Postcode: SO24 0NA Grid Ref: SU569302 CHR No: 641024

St Andrew's Church, Tichborne - exteror view 

Photo 1: Exterior of St Andrew's,Tichborne

The church is set on a hill, overlooking the village of Tichborne. It retains its mid-11th century plan with a surviving Saxo-Norman chancel which has characteristic stone pilaster strips and small double-splayed windows. The nave and aisles are late 12th century, and the south doorway 14th century. The stairway to the rood loft survives, with a 15th century door. The rebuilt tower, of mixed red and blue brick, has a plaque on the south wall dated 1703 recording the churchwardens John Rowland and John Newell. The brick porch is also 18th century, perhaps contemporary with the tower (see on). The main body of the church is constructed of rubble flint and stone.

The north aisle was built as a chantry chapel in 1338 by Sir Roger de Tichborne and contains monuments to various members of the family. Very unusually, it remains a Catholic chapel within an Anglican church, and is separated from the nave with cast-iron railings. It contains a wooden Elizabethan altar table. There is a Norman font in the nave, Jacobean box pews in the nave and south aisle, and a Jacobean chair in the chancel.

Graffiti Summary

Most of the graffiti found is around the entrances, on the south porch and south doorway, and around the north doorway into the tower. This is a common phenomenon in English church graffiti and could be due to several factors. Parishioners or visitors may have wished to leave their mark as they entered, perhaps in the form of a cross, as a sign of personal devotion. They may have wished to leave their initials to simply show “I was here”, although as church porches were used for parish business in the medieval and post-reformation periods, names with dates may have recorded a particular business transaction or deal carried out in this space. It is also thought that people may have left initials with dates within a rough frame as a memorial to a loved one, when they could not afford a more expensive monument within the church.

The Church Exterior: The Tower

The tower is built of blue and red brick (Photo 1), and a plaque on the south face records the names of the church wardens: John Rowland and John Newell, and the rebuild date of 1703. Above this plaque is a sundial.

South face of the church tower 

Photo 2: The tower, south face, showing churchwardens' plaque and sundial above

There are some crosses and sets of initials around the tower’s north doorway...On its west jamb are carved initials which, from their form, are probably pre-20th Cr. They include AN, which might also be a possible monogram, with conjoined letters A and W. Another A is carved at an angle on the brick above, as are the initials AR (Photo 3).

Initials on west jamb of tower doorway 

Photo 3: Tower, north doorway. Monogram and initials

Also to the west of the doorway are what appear to be runes incised into a brick (Photo 4). Comparing these with the runic alphabets found on-line (Photo 4a), they seem to represent the letters DOG, and were probably made relatively recently.

Runes to west of the doorway A copy of the runic alphabet 

Photos 4 & 4a: Tower, north doorway, west side: Runic inscription with a copy of the runic alphabet.

The church interior

Most of the graffiti inside the church is on the box pews and the furniture, and there are masons’ marking out lines visible on some of the stonework.The box pew next to the south entrance (Photo 5) has initials carved into the edges of the bookshelf (Photo 6).

Box pew near south door 

Photo 5: Box pew by south entrance

Initials on box pew 

Photo 6: Box pew by south entrance. Bookshelf edge with initials

Other features of note:

In the floor of the north chapel is a stone marking the entrance to a vault, probably that of Sir Henry Tichborne (Photo 7).

Vault entrance 

Photo 7: North chapel floor, vault entrance

The Jacobean chair, currently located in the chancel, (Photo 8) has an elaborate pattern of intersecting compass-drawn circles carved into its seat. Whilst decorative, such circles can also have an apotropaic function, and are often found in domestic buildings around openings such as doors and windows, to prevent the ingress of evil spirits.

Jacobean chair 

Photo 8: Jacobean chair.

The Elizabethan altar table (Photo 9) in the north chapel, has a small N incised into its top surface.

Elizabethan Altar Table 

Photo 9: North chapel. Elizabethan altar table.

Survey Archive

126 photographs were taken during the survey. All images and record sheets are held by the Hampshire Field Club Medieval Graffiti Project archive and are available on request. A copy of this report has been lodged with the Hampshire Historic Environment Record and with the church, and the report has been posted on the Hampshire Field Club website.


This document has been prepared for the titled project or named part hereof and should not be relied upon or used for any other project or assessment without the permission of the Hampshire Medieval Graffiti Project.

The full report is available as a PDF download.

Surveyors: Mark Barden, Karen Parker, Karen Wardley.

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