1,000 years of Warblington church history on display in museum’s exhibition

LOOKING Stephen Cook from Warblington at the exhibition.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121248-7086)
LOOKING Stephen Cook from Warblington at the exhibition. Picture: Sarah Standing (121248-7086)

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FROM grave robbers to stained-glass windows, the history of a 1,000-year-old church is on display.

The free exhibition about the Church of St Thomas à Becket in Warblington will be open every weekend for the rest of April.

EXHIBIT Maureen Barrett with one of the bibles on display.  (121248-7102)

EXHIBIT Maureen Barrett with one of the bibles on display. (121248-7102)

Displays and artefacts collected in Emsworth Museum chart the history of the building since it was built in 957AD.

It comes right up to date with information about an electrical fire which started inside the church in 2010, and was put out before it could cause major damage to the inside of the building.

The exhibition was co-ordinated by former churchwarden Michael Buchanan, 76, from Warblington Avenue, who worked with staff from the church and members of its congregation.

‘It’s a beautiful church,’ he said.

‘It’s very old and full of interesting artefacts and this exhibition is its story.

‘We were asked about six weeks ago to lay on an exhibition about the church by the museum; so the rector, the churchwarden, myself and a couple of others set about collecting information and photos.

‘The name of the exhibition is 1,000 years of worship.

‘We wanted to show the historical side of the church and what we do today.

‘It’s a living community and we wanted the exhibition to reflect that.’

The display contains eight panels that cover the history of the church and artefacts such as an almost original copy of the King James Bible from the 17th century and 16th century pitch pipes for tuning the organ.

Mr Buchanan said: ‘When the Saxons built the church, they used discarded Roman bricks and bits they found lying around – so it has a huge amount of history.

‘We have information about the old watch huts which were built in the church grounds to stop grave robbers.

‘Back then you could get a lot of money for dead bodies because in those days you couldn’t get bodies for medical experiments. There’s also a yew tree in the grounds that has been aged as being 1,500 years old.

‘I’m very happy with the exhibition. We’ve had all the old photographs mounted and they look wonderful.

Museum secretary Dorothy Bone said: ‘It is a great exhibition.

‘It captures both aspects – the beauty of these things and the history of where they come from. It is a much-loved church.’