Longparish Village Handbook (1999 edition)
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The Church

St. Nicholas Church dates from the early 13th century, though only the transept pillars, if anything, survive from that time. There have been various extensive “restorations”, the most recent of them in 1954, when the screen between the nave and the chancel was taken away and the walls were stripped of the texts that had been painted on them between 1882 and 1884. The turreted tower was built in 1520, and the first of the six bells was hung in 1731. Unusually the churchyard has two lychgates, where coffins could rest, which may indicate the importance of Forton as a settlement. The memorials in the church are mainly of the leading families: the Widmores, the Hawkers, the Durnfords, the Burnaby-Greenes and other rectors. Most of the stained glass, which is admired by those who sign the visitors’ book, was also contributed by these families. The window commemorating Major Lanoe George Hawker VC DSO, who was killed in 1916, is a good recent acquisition. He was one of the most successful pilots of the First World War but was shot down by Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron. A book in the Church records his life, and the window is reproduced at the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop.

The stocks which stand outside the church are a recent copy of those which used to be there.

The parish registers, recording births, deaths and marriages and dating from 1654, are to be found in the Hampshire Record Office in Sussex Street near Winchester Station. The churchyard was closed for burials in the early years of this century, whereupon the present cemetery, which is owned and managed by the Parish Council, was opened near the village hall.

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