“Now and Then.” A little Saxon Church its neighbours and its visitors…

Over 14,600 people visited the big house during December and also enjoyed our display of Christian Christmas Traditions, here at All Saints, Hinton Ampner. Many came to the Services, sang carols, listened to readings and saw our advent candles lit. So much so, we all but exhausted the quiz with its questions about the true meaning of Christmas! It was a joy to look on as parents explained the story behind the Nativity Scene and learnt about it; the meaning of the wreath, and the origins of Crackers and Christmas Cards, or simply enjoyed the tranquility of All Saints and its Christmas Tree, hung with angels and twinkling lights. Every day the first arrivals opened one of our advent calendars, read out the Christmas story, and hung a message on the tree for others to read.

Thank you to everyone who bought Christmas Cards and also to Cheriton Village Stores, Hinton Ampner House and Bramdean Garage for selling so many more than we dreamt possible. To think that in houses all round the world, families and friends enjoyed 1200 of our cards showing the beautiful Nativity Scene! The money from sales is apparently going towards regular maintenance and an audio and lighting improvement project; we can’t wait!

All very different from the young Saxon days when King William ordered the Domesday Book. Back then the village was known simply as “Hinton” and the Benefice looked very different too. We looked up to our neighbours in Beauworth with their three churches; Bramdean and Kilmeston had two Lords. Aldred’s wife ruled in Kilmeston, while Bramdean even had two freemen. “Miles the Porter” was one of its Lords. As to Cheriton and Tichborne: marshy places in the Itchen valley, Miles the Porter always took the visitors via the high ground!

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