Woodmancote Church

The Church of England expanded rapidly in Victorian times, partly out of a new religious fervour but also to serve a rising population. In many cases an urgent need would be filled by a typically Victorian invention – the corrugated iron building. Many of these were intended to be temporary structures and so the churches built using this material became nicknamed ‘tin tabernacles’ after the reference in Exodus to the portable dwelling of Yahweh used by the wandering tribes of Israel. We have it by word of mouth that the building arrived from Southbourne station as a flat pack on a horse-drawn vehicle.

The first reference to the Mission Room appears on page 192 of the book ‘Bourne In The Past’ by the Revd Dr J.H. Mee: ‘in the north of the parish an iron room was erected for divine service at Wodmancote by the Revd Dr J.H. Mee in 1892’.

Nothing further appeared in Westbourne Magazine, so far as we are aware, until October 1910, when there was a paragraph stating ‘The Dedication Festival celebrating the 18th anniversary of the opening of the Mission Room will be held on October 9th at 6.30 pm’.

From 1892 to January 1919 the Mission Room appears to have remained in the ownership of Dr Mee. On 7th January 1919 ownership was formally granted and conveyed by Mrs W.H. Macintosh (daughter of the late Dr Mee) to the churchwardens of Westbourne as trustees thereof. Mrs Macintosh set out in the Trust Deed that the property was to be used for the celebration of Divine Service or for educational purposes ‘having in view the spiritual, intellectual, moral or social wants of professing members of the Church of England.’

In 2018 the church was refurbished. The interior was cleaned, repainted and varnished and the ceiling repaired. The old wood framed windows were replaced by modern windows in a similar style. The prominent wooden cross in front of the site was seriously decayed and local Mens Sheds were asked if they could undertake restoration HAMESH, the Havant Town Centre Mens Shed, agreed that they could help. George Palmer is a skilled carver and woodworker who sourced some seasoned oak for the cross and over several months carefully carved the text and constructed and erected a new replacement. The remaining parts of the old cross was made into candlesticks which now adorn the altar.

Services are held in the church at 11.15 am on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month.

Carol Service at Woodmancote

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