History


    A History of the Church has been written by Wellow History Society and is available in the church at a cost of £2.00

                        The present flint-faced stone building was consecrated in 1215, the year of the signing of Magna Carta, but there are earlier foundations beneath the present building. The parish existed in King Alfred's day, and was presented by him to his daughter Ethelfreda. From 1251 until the Dissolution of the monasteries, the Church was controlled by the monks of Netley Abbey, to the East of Southampton.    Its dedication to St. Margaret of Antioch, a patron favoured by Crusaders returning from the Holy Land, is a feature of its time of consecration.
    


                    The Church is rich in architectural interest. It consists of chancel, nave (both C13), side aisle (C15), with a wooden belfry of the dovecote type. 

The picturesque south porch is assigned to the C16. The attractive interior has five massive wooden pillars and a heavily timbered roof.  A most interesting feature of the building is the large proportion of the original wall paintings that still survive. These were whitewashed over at the Reformation, and rediscovered in the 1890s.

The walls are painted in squares, with a conventual design of lilies, arranged horizontally in the Nave and diagonally in the Chancel, with Consecration Crosses in red, enclosed in circles (see the top left of this page).  On the north wall (see right) is the figure of
St Christopher carrying the infant Christ over a river and a woman - presumably St Margaret herself (to the right), sitting on a hillock, spinning.  A knight is arriving to her rescue, holding two keys.

The martyrdom of St Thomas of Canterbury is portrayed on the Chancel south wall, a fresco dating from 1250. 

The priest's doorway dates from the C14.  There is a leper or low side window in the Chancel, belonging to the later decorated period.  The Chancel is panelled with Jacobean oak taken from the old pews.  The vicar's desk is made from fragments of an ancient chancel screen.
The fine hexagonal Jacobean pulpit was recovered and replaced in the Church in 1907.  Its door is as ancient as the Church itself.

The Church has three bells, one dating from about 1450, the other two cast in 1710 and 1720.
 
 
 In the graveyard lies the Nightingale family monument, burial place of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.