St Hubert, PO8 0BA
St Hubert's Church Idsworth
The church which dates from 10th Century sits in the middle of field near the village of Finchdean and is a peaceful place to visit and worship.
St Hubert's Idsworth is one of three churches in the United Benefice. The others are Holy Trinity, Blendworth (near Horndean) and St. Michael's, Chalton (near Clanfield off the A3M) which have their own pages on this website.
The Pattern of Worship
St Hubert's has a regular congregation of about 30 who meet at 9.30 am on Sundays. The usual pattern of worship is as follows:
1st Sunday of the month 9.30 am Mattins
2nd Sunday of the month 9.30 am Parish Communion
3rd Sunday of the month 9.30 am Family Service
4th Sunday of the month 9.30 am Mattins
5th Sunday of the month 9.30 am Parish Communion
Fridays weekly 9.00 am Morning Prayer
Please see the Benefice website www.bcichurches.org.uk for seasonal and other occasional variations.
Christmas Services 2017
Sunday 17th December
9.30 am Carol Service (Based on the traditional Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols popularised in the 1880s, but with contemporary features!
Sunday 24th December Christmas Eve
11.30 pm Midnight Communion ( An atmospheric candlelit service - The church will be lit with a blaze of candlelight, and the access path marked with T lights. But moonset is 22.23 that day, so bring a torch!).
Monday 25th December Christmas Day
9.30 am All Age Worship with Holy Communion
A Brief History of St Hubert's
Standing alone amid the fields of Old Idsworth and Heberden's Farms is the little Church of St Hubert, for many centuries dedicated to St Peter but rededicated to St Hubert, patron saint of hunters, probably in the late 19th century (after the discovery of the wall painting in 1864). According to legend, St Hubert was converted while hunting on Good Friday by seeing an image of the crucified Christ between the antlers of a stag. He later became Bishop of Maastricht and Liege and died in 727. It is thought that the chapel could well have been used as a hunting chapel in its early days.
The chapel stands some distance from the road, adjoining the site of the old Manor House of Idsworth, of which only the stables, coach house and walled garden remain, the house having been demolished when the railway was built in the mid 19th century. It overlooks a valley in which a stream (lavant) now flows only in occasional winters but which was the site of a village from about the 9th to the 14th centuries.
Idsworth is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, unlike the neighbouring manor of Chalton, which was held personally by Earl Godwin, Earl of Wessex and premier Earl of England, until his death in 1053, when the manor passed to his son, (later King) Harold, who held it until his death at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Idsworth began as a chaplaincy of the manor of Chalton but by the 12th century had become independent and later became the dominant of the two manors.
The chapel is believed to have been built by Earl Godwin, who died in 1053, which perhaps explains why this is the latest date normally given to its origin. However, Roman coins and pottery have been found in the adjoining field and it has been suggested that the chapel could well have been built on the foundations of a much earlier building. The oldest part is the nave (later widened), which was built in the new Norman style which Edward the Confessor was then introducing into England. An early English Chancel, a bell turret and a porch were all added later.
St Hubert's Church is beautiful in its simplicity rather than its richness, yet some of its contents are rich beyond price. For example, on the North wall of the Chancel is a mural, re-discovered in 1864 and dated at circa 1330.
Unusual for its completeness and quality, it consists of two parts separated by a horizontal zigzag line. It is generally agreed that the lower picture depicts the presentation of the head of St John the Baptist, on a salver, to Salome (the contorted figure in the foreground) at King Herod's feast (clearly visible in the centre), and that the separate scene at the left-hand end represents St John being thrown into prison. The hunting scene in the upper picture is less easily interpreted and an earlier view that it represents St Hubert converting or curing a lycanthrope (a man who through a form of insanity believed himself to be a wolf) has been discounted in a number of modern treatises on the subject. It is generally considered that the right-hand end of the upper picture depicts the arrest of St John and that the remainder portrays the discovery of a "hairy anchorite", a hermit who, according to legend, in penance for sins of inchastity and murder, undertook to walk on all fours until he knew he was forgiven. In the early 14th century this legend could well have been identified with events in the early life of St John the Baptist, thus providing a thread of continuity through both tiers of the mural.
A new fresco in 14th century style, was commissioned and painted in 2000 to celebrate the millennium. This depicts ‘Christ in Majesty’ together with images inspired by the vision of St Peter and also a rich variety of other symbols and contemporary images.