History of St Mary’s

The present Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Old Alresford, constructed of brick and flint dates from the 18th century. The Church appears in the Doomsday census and there is much to suggest that there was a place of worship on the site from the 9th century.

As the living was well endowed and in the gift of the Bishop of Winchester there have been many historically interesting Rectors, among them:- Revd. Peter Heylin, appointed 1637 who was also Chaplain to King Charles I:    Dr. John Hoadley, appointed in 1737, was instrumental in the building of the present Church: Revd. Francis North, appointed in 1797 who became notorious after becoming Master of St. Cross, a position he abused, and it is said the Trollope’s book ‘The Warden’ was based on the happenings there; Revd. George Sumner came in 1850 and his wife Mary founded the Mothers’ Union here, it is now a world wide organization with over 4 million members.

The Church was declared to be of special architectural and historic interest in 1956 and was listed grade II*.

In 2004 the Parish was united with All Saints, Bighton, St. Peter’s Ovington and St. John’s, New Alresford.

Further information on the History of the St. Mary’s can be found in a leaflet on sale at the Church.