Repair funds needed as future of 9th century church is at stake

St Hubert's Church, known as 'the little church in the field' at dawn. Picture: David Uren.
St Hubert's Church, known as 'the little church in the field' at dawn. Picture: David Uren.
Rita Leist  at her Southsea home with the Hotpoint Dishwasher that has caused her so much concern     Picture: Malcolm Wells

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IT HAS seen battles, plague epidemics, war, as well as being rebuilt and extended, and now the historic building that is St Hubert’s Church needs repairing to stay open.

Courtesy of its tranquil surroundings, the 9th century building in Finchdean, near Rowlands Castle, is used by many – not just those who go to pray.

A fundraising group called The Friends of Church of St Hubert, Idsworth Trust, was set up last year to spread the word about the essential work that needs to be carried out.

Roger Walker, chairman of the group and the building’s manager, said: ‘The future of the church is uncertain. It’s famous for its age and wall paintings, and has been listed in Britain’s 100 best churches – that brings people from all over the world.

‘More people come here for private thought than for religious reasons, it’s amazingly tranquil. To lose it would a great shame, but it is in serious need of repair.’

A total of £100,000 is needed for the repairs, which include: the replacement of windows, the repair and rendering of walls, and the conservation of the roof, internal timbers, and 14th century paintings.

Mr Walker added: ‘Our group was set up not just to directly seek funds from people, but also to spread the word about the church, to let people know about its history and to tell them it’s there for use in a number of ways.

‘We are made up of ten trustees and a number of ‘Friends’ who are associate members. Anyone can become a Friend, and we hope those who join us will encourage others to use the church and to give us a little bit of money.’

The group started fundraising in November and have a number of events and programmes planned for 2017.

Fiona Charlesworth, chairwoman of the Rowlands Castle Association said: ‘St Hubert’s is a stunning place with a wonderful atmosphere and we want it to stay as part of our community.

‘All members of the association are in strong favour of continuing to support the church in any way possible. Last month we were able to donate £1,000 after holding a charity quiz night.’

To donate and find out more visit idsworthchurchfriends.org. Donations can also be sent to The Secretary, 16 Redhill Road, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, PO9 6AW.