Church Micro #853... Binsted – Holy Cross
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A Traditional Church Micro Cache set near the parish Church Binsted, Hampshire. Parking is available nearby.
Binsted church, dedicated to the Holy Cross, is one of the largest and most interesting mediaeval churches in the north of the county, arguably surpassed only by that of Crondall. It served a large parish, much of which was covered by Alice Holt Forest, in which there were several small chapels of ease. Yet this big church remained a mere chapelry of Alton until 1865.
It stands at the top of a greensand ridge about 4 miles South East of Alton and has the Alton arm of the River Wey just below and to the north. The present church dates from the early part of the 12th century but there could have been an earlier Saxon church on, or near the site
From the outside the first impression of the church is of a simple Norman building to which many additions have been made during the passing centuries, most of these possibly in the first 100 years of the church's existence, indicating a rapid growth in population during the 11th and 12th centuries, when most of the village would attend services. This may have been the reason for the building of the north and south aisles at a much earlier date than for most churches.
The original entrance to the nave would probably have been at the west end, through the lower section of the tower. The sturdy timber framing in the ground floor of the tower is mediaeval, possibly of the 14th century, as is the framework of the slated spire. The upper section is of a later date. At its earliest, the church consisted of the present nave. When the church was extended eastward, clerestory windows were cut into the east wall above the chancel arch to restore light to the nave.
Most of the windows are early English, with point headed lancets. The east window, by the artist Capronnier in 1875, has three long lancets, but those in the north and south walls of the chancel are of Norman origin.
In the Chancel there is a brass memorial plate in Latin (translation nearby) commemorating my distant ancestor Henry Heighes. In the north chapel is the tomb of a crusader, Richard de Westcote - a fine though battered effigy of c.1320 in a contemporary arched recess.
In the western end of the churchyard the grave of Field Marshal Lord Montgomery (“Monty”) can be found - a simple reminder of one of this country's most famous soldiers of recent years. (Abridged from Bentley & Binsted village website)
If anybody would like to expand this Church Micro series, please do, we would just ask that you could let Sadexploration know first so he can keep track of the Church numbers and names to avoid duplication.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum