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“The Christian Year") is deprived of the credit of having been his rectory, and of having contributed so largely towards his clerical income.
The desirableness and practicability of disuniting the livings were well considered by Mr. KEBLE, but the difficulties in the way of accomplishing that object caused him to relinquish the idea.
When Mr. KEBLE succeeded to the Rev. Gilbert Wall Heathcote as Vicar of Hursley and Rector of Otterbourne, early in the year 1836, he found at the latter place an old church in a somewhat dilapidated condition, and at a considerable distance from the village.
It was soon settled to build a new church near to the village, leaving the chancel of the old church to be used only as a kind of cemetery chapel, whenever it might be required for that purpose.
By the liberal exertions of the principal landowners and others, this plan was soon carried out, and in 1837 the present church was begun to be built, in a most convenient situation, upon a piece of ground presented by Magdalen College, the lords of the manor.
The first stone was laid on Tuesday in Whitsun-week, the 16th of May, 1837, by Julian Bargus Yonge, Esq., the only son of W. C. Yonge, Esq. The church was consecrated on the 30th of July, 1839. It cost £3,500, and will hold 428 persons.
The late William Crawley Yonge, Esq., took the matter of church building vigorously in hand, as he did afterwards at Ampfield. To his exertions, and that of his family, the parish of Otterbourne is mainly and very deeply indebted for the beauty of its church, which, though it might not satisfy the architectural critic of the present day, is a gem considering the time in which it was built.
The altar-rails consist of beautiful ancient carved oak, (procured in London by the late W. C. Yonge, Esq.,) supposed by some to represent the Coronation of the Emperor Maximilian, or more probably of Charles V., and which had possibly formed part of a rood-screen in some Flemish church ; the order of the Golden Fleece being represented, and the figures being of Flemish character. A portion of the same carving was used for the front of the altar, the whole of the woodwork having been very carefully repaired by a carver of figure-heads for ships at Portsmouth, who skilfully made good the defective parts. The poppyheads also at the ends of the pews, carved at Portsmouth after patterns from Malmesbury Abbey, form a noticeable feature in this church.
There are some beautiful painted windows in the church, erected as memorials of members of the Yonge family. The east window contains a beautiful representation of the Crucifixion upon a medallion, in the form of the vesica piscis, around which are the symbols of the four Evangelists. The window at the end of the south transept (to the memory of a nephew of the late Mr. Yonge) represents events connected with the birth and early life of our blessed Lord, including the Annunciation, Nativity, Appearance of the Angels to the Shepherds, Adoration of the Wise Men, Flight into Egypt, Disputation with the Doctors. These subjects were chosen by Mr. KEBLE, who also selected the texts near the altar. This window was made by Mr. Evans, of Shrewsbury, who made the above-named medallion in the east window, some of whose work is also to be seen in the college chapel at Winchester. The stonework of several of the windows is copied from the Hall at St. Cross.
< See Webb's "Sketches of Continental Ecclesiology,” p. 31.
The font is remarkable as containing the marble font presented to the old church by a former clerk, which serves, instead of lead, as a lining
30 YEARS RECTOR
The carved work of the pulpit, containing figures of the Virgin and Child, the Latin Fathers, &c., is much admired. The skilful hand of
a lady is discernible in the painting of the Commandments, Creed, and texts around the altar, which are well worthy of particular notice. The churchyard is adorned with beautiful shrubs, and surrounded by a substantial flint wall, above which, on the road-side, there is an excellent holly hedge, which was raised from the berries of the hollies used to adorn the church on the first Christmas after its consecration.
A beautiful and well-proportioned cross of Devonshire granite, about 9 ft. high, was erected in the churchyard on All Saints' Day, 1866, chiefly at the expense of the parishioners, to the memory of the Poet. Its base consists of three granite steps of an octagon shape: on the middle step is the following inscription :
1866, JOHN KEBLE, 30 YEARS RECTOR OF THIS PARISH.
The cross was made by an Exeter stone-mason named Easton. The cost of it was £48. With its base it weighs five tons and a half.
The boys' school-room at Otterbourne, which adjoins the churchyard at its north-east corner, is an ornamental building composed of fint, with brick and stone dressings. It is entered by an Early English doorway, (with “tooth-ornament” mouldings of the date of about 12204,) which was taken from the old church, of which it had formed the southern entrance, (see woodcut). The room is lighted at the western end by
. See “Glossary of Architecture,” ed. iv. vol. ii. p. II, and plate 85 ; also the notes about Ampfield Church, where it is shewn that this doorway is almost reproduced in Caen stone at the entrance of that church, which was being built at the same time as Otterbourne Church, and under the skilful direction of the same amateur architect, to whom both parishes owe a debt of gratitude. Mr. Yonge ought always to be regarded as one who did what he could (and that was a good deal) to raise the taste for well-built churches suited for devout worship.
a handsome oriel window. It was built by subscription about the same time as the church. There is a girls' school-room a little lower down
the village, which owes its erection to the liberality of Mrs. Bargus, a lady who owned that property in the parish which has been inherited by the Yonges, and who died in 1843.
Otterbourne Parsonage is at the other end of the village, at some distance from the church. It is an ornamental house, built after a very tasteful design, at the expense of the Rector, costing nearly £1,500, the greater part of which had been saved by Mr. KEBLE during his residence at Oxford, with a view to some such purpose.
Otterbourne is sometimes spelt Otterbourn, and in Domesday Book it appears under the name Otreburne. Its population at the last census was 573.