St. Michael and All Angels Church, Bassett
|St. Michael and All Angels|
St. Michael & All Angels Church, Bassett Avenue, Southampton
|Heritage designation||Listed building - Grade II|
|Designated||14 December 1969|
|Architect(s)||Edward Prioleau Warren|
|Groundbreaking||29 September 1897|
|Materials||Brick with stone dressings|
|Parish||North Stoneham and Bassett|
|Bishop(s)||Bishop of Southampton|
|Priest in charge||Rev'd Stephen Holmes|
|Assistant priest||Rev'd Rogelio Prieto|
|Honorary priest(s)||Rev'd Judy Page|
|Reader(s)||Dorothy Berwick, Malcolm Harper, John Reynolds, Prof. Roger Thornton|
|Organist/Director of music||James Eaton|
|Churchwarden(s)||David Curtis, Alan Logan|
The church is situated on the eastern side of Bassett Avenue, Southampton, described by Pevsner & Lloyd as "part of the splendid tree-lined route into Southampton from Winchester, London and the north".
The church exterior, in plain red stock brick with Monks Park stone dressings for the doors and windows, slated roof and small bell-turret on its western gable, is not particularly impressive; but with its concrete vaulted roof supported on stone ribs, Pevsner and Lloyd, in their Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, considered that it has "an intriguing and distinguished design internally".
The west window was given in 1962, by Hector Young an ex-Mayor of Southampton, in memory of his wife Ethel who was killed in the Blitz in September 1940. The window, showing the Archangel Michael defeating Satan, was designed by Francis Skeat.
The original parish of North Stoneham can be traced back to the early ninth century when it was known as "Stonam Abbatis" or "Abbots Stoneham" and was attached to Hyde Abbey at Winchester. At this time, the parish extended from the River Itchen in the east towards Chilworth and Bassett Green in the west with its neighbouring parish, South Stoneham, to the south and east. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1540s, the manor was acquired by Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. In 1599, the Wriothesley family sold the estate to Sir Thomas Fleming, whose descendants held the advowson until 1997.
Until the late nineteenth century, Bassett was part of the parish of North Stoneham, with the rector of St. Nicolas' Church serving the needs of the entire parish. Revd. Elliott Kenworthy-Browne, the rector of North Stoneham from 1886 to 1912, would often walk over 10 miles a day to meet the needs of his parishioners.
By the mid-1880s, Bassett had grown with many substantial villas occupied by the middle classes; despite having the appearance of a well-to-do suburb of Southampton, Revd. Kenworthy-Browne observed that three-quarters of the population of 800 were poor, chiefly mechanics and labourers.
The parish has since been renamed North Stoneham and Bassett, and encompasses North Stoneham, the whole of Bassett, the portion of Bassett Green north of Bassett Green Road, and the portion of Chilworth within the M3/M27 triangle. The parish also covers Southampton Airport.
When Mr. Kenworthy-Browne came to North Stoneham in 1886, mission services were held in a small coach-house close to the Redhill brickyards. Later, in 1888, a mission room in Winchester Road was opened.
A legacy in the will of John Brown Willis Fleming of Stoneham Park, left the plot of land on Bassett Avenue on which the new church was to be built. The new church was designed by Edward Prioleau Warren, with the foundation stone being laid by Violet Fleming on 29 September 1897. The church was built in two stages as the money ran out. Construction was completed in May 1910 by the contractors Messrs. Holloway Bros. of London, the total cost being £4,139. When completed, it was regarded as a quite outstanding example of its kind, and attracted visitors from as far away as America.
By 1934, the church needed to be extended to include an assembly room (currently used as the choir vestry). In 1937 a new altar with oak panelled reredos was added.
In 1980, work began on a £13,000 programme of re-roofing and protection of the brickwork from penetration by damp.
In 2011 the Victorian church pews were removed and replaced by a more flexible and comfortable system of chairs.
The Parish Rector at the time of the consecration of St Michael's in 1911 was Elliot Kenworthy-Browne. The Reverend Stephen Holmes was invested as the current Priest-in-Charge by The Right Reverend The Lord Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, on 16 January 2010. A new motet, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon thee", was composed by Roger Steptoe specially for the occasion. Rev'd Holmes was previously Vicar of St. Luke's, Bournemouth. He is assisted by an assistant curate, a NSM, and four Lay Readers. Together, they share the ministry to the three churches of the Parish: St. Michael and All Angels, St. Nicolas and All Saints.
Worship & Music
St Michael & All Angel's Church has a middle-to-high, strongly Eucharistic style of worship. Sunday services are at 8am (BCP Holy Communion) and 10am (CW Sung Eucharist), with Choral Evensong on the 2nd & 4th Sundays at 6.30pm. There is a midweek Eucharist at 9.30am on Thursdays.
St. Michael's has long enjoyed a strong choral tradition, which continues to the present day. The main choir is the all-age Senior Choir which sings the standard 'cathedral repertoire'. It supports the worship at the Sunday morning Eucharist and sings Choral Evensong twice a month. The choir regularly sings at both Winchester Cathedral and Chichester Cathedral to cover whilst the respective cathedral choirs are on holiday. It also travels further afield each August for a longer residence at a cathedral.
The church also has a Junior Choir for 7 to 16-year-olds, which joins the Senior Choir at the All-Age Eucharist on the first Sunday of the month. The choir uses the RSCM Voice for Life training scheme to aid the development of the singers. In addition to singing, the choir also has regular social trips.
The organ was built by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1937, and is a fine example of a four rank extension instrument. It is totally enclosed in two expression chambers on the north side of the choir. The organ's four ranks consist of an Open Diapaison (A), Lieblich Gedact (B), Salicional (C) & Trumpet (D), which are used to create 25 speaking stops over two manuals and pedals. Ranks A&B (largely used on the Great) are within one of the enclosed boxes, and ranks C&D (largely used by the Swell) are within the second box. The specification can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register. The organ was refurbished in 2011 by Griffiths & Co (Organ Builders) Ltd.
- Coles, R.J. (1981). Southampton's Historic Buildings. City of Southampton Society. p. 10.
- "St Michael & All Angels". The Parish of North Stoneham and Bassett. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Charter, Mark (11 September 2009). "The depiction of the Crucifixion on top of the screen". Flickr. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- Charter, Mark (11 September 2009). "The east window". Flickr. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- Mann, John Edgar (2002). Book of the Stonehams. Tiverton: Halsgrove. pp. 54–55. ISBN 1-84114-213-1.
- "St. Michael defeating Satan". www.hampshirechurchwindows.co.uk. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- "North Stoneham". Hampshire Villages. Southern Life. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- "North Stoneham Park: Introduction". North Stoneham Park. 2008-2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- The Church of England, Parish of North Stoneham & Bassett
- "English Heritage listing for the church". Images of England. English Heritage. 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- "Licensing of Stephen Holmes". The Parish of North Stoneham and Bassett, Southampton. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
- "A new Motet for Southampton". Roger Steptoe. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Ministry Team". The Parish of North Stoneham and Bassett. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Senior Choir". The Parish of North Stoneham and Bassett. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Junior Choir". The Parish of North Stoneham and Bassett. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "The Organ". The Parish of North Stoneham and Bassett. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- National Pipe Organ Register