Grade II* listed by English Heritage and tucked away in the Hampshire countryside some eight miles north of Winchester is All Saints at Barton Stacey.
Like so many such English parish churches it has a fascinating and varied history. It stands on one of the oldest sites of continuous Christian worship in England. The exact date of the former Saxon church is unknown, but it was certainly standing by the 10th century. It was then called St Victor’s, a very rare dedication, and under this name it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, valued at 15 shillings. There is no record of when the name was changed to All Saints’.
During the late 12th century the church was rebuilt in the Norman Transitional style, but around 1250 the building was enlarged almost to its present size in the early English (Gothic) style, giving it the cruciform shape it has today. In the 15th century the aisles were remodelled in the later perpendicular style; and finally about 1510 the remarkably fine turreted and embattled tower was built into the west end of the church, bringing the whole appearance close to what we see here.
In 1792 a disastrous fire swept through the village, caused by sparks from a blacksmith’s opposite the old Malt House. Fewer than ten houses survived the fire, though it seems the church was unscathed, as it was used to shelter the unfortunate villagers. That fire also explains the lack of thatched cottages in the village.
It is a measure of the continuing importance of the church to the life of its parishioners that between 1989 and 1991 a major restoration took place, mainly to the stone and flint work, at a cost of some £65,000, nearly half of which was raised from within the village.
Services continue here Sunday by Sunday, as they have done for more than a thousand years.