A short history of Christ Church, Emery Down

Consecrated in 1864, the church was designed by William Butterfield, who was a prestigious architect of the 19th century. Better known for his designs for Winchester Hospital and All Saints, Margaret Street in London, Butterfield’s considerable talents are shown here in the way he could also undertake a much smaller and more intimate project.  Christ Church Emery Down is built of polychrome Cornish brick and Bath stone. Seating for about 100 people, it has a delightfully peaceful atmosphere and fits perfectly into its forest environment.

Most of the stained glass windows were also designed by Butterfield and the East end window was given in memory of Jonathan Hargreaves, who became the father-in-law of Alice Liddell (‘Alice in Wonderland’) when she married his son, Reginald.

The beautiful altar frontal ‘For all Seasons’ was completed in 1989.  Designed and embroidered by local artist, Joan Van Schaick, the leaves in the church season’s liturgical colours were worked by many villagers and members of the congregation.

The bell inside the church, at the south-west corner, was originally the school bell from next door and was ‘rescued’ when the school closed in the 1950s.

admiral-boultbee-plaqueThe church was the gift of Admiral Frederick Moore Boultbee who came to live in the parish of Minstead at the beginning of the 19th century.  He became the village’s principal benefactor: building the school, almshouses and the church.  Largely because of his efforts, the parish itself was created from that of Minstead.  The Admiral and his niece Charlotte lived in Emery Down at `The Cottage’ (previously the inn `The Running Horse’).  Admiral Boultbee left his house to the parish as the vicarage – which it became after Charlotte Boultbee’s death.

Marking the millennium

The Stations of the Cross on the North and South walls of the church were commissioned specifically for Christ Church and its people.  They were painted by Sister Theresa Margaret CHN and completed in the year 2000.  The panels are of New Forest larch, prepared with a gesso ground, and the painting is done mainly in egg tempera.  (To find out what Stations of the Cross are, please click here.)

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