Today 13.09.17, in the South of France, it was another beautiful hot day. We went along the coast to Nice and Monaco, visited a few places on the coast and then popped over to Italy, and then made our way up into the French Alps. Found a lovely Alpine Town with a wonderful church, which I will post about when the laptop is better. So, as I can’t post about the lovely churches I have visited in France, I found an English one that I can.
St Leonards Church is in Bursledon, a village in Hampshire, on the south coast of England. We were visiting Hampshire back in July and on the way home stopped for something to eat in Bursledon, when I noticed the church. It was about 7.00 pm, so I knew it would be locked, but it’s such a pretty church I took photos anyway, as goodness knows when we will be passing again.
A little history…..
The church in Bursledon can trace its history back to the last half of the twelfth century.
All churches can be given a ‘date’ by the styles of architecture they contain: St. Leonard’s has features that seem to confirm that it was indeed founded in the later twelfth century. The simple elegance of the Chancel Arch, dividing the nave from the raised area at the east end of the church, is of early English style and can be dated to 1190-1300. The font is perhaps earlier and, although unfinished and retooled in places, it is of transitional style dateable to 1160-1190.
The blocked doorways in the nave, presumably once the main access points for monks and congregation before the Victorian extension, date to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The small lancet window in the chancel, although restored in 1888-9 is of a thirteenth-century design.
In the 1830′s St. Leonard’s had two transepts added, making a cross-shaped church in plan. However, these proved unsatisfactory and in 1888-9 the church was extensively re-modelled. There is a brass plaque in the nave detailing the work that the architect, John Sedding, carried out. It seems that Sedding kept what was best about the old church and sensitively extended the nave and replaced the transepts, to accommodate the growing population of Bursledon.