The Old Tower
The old tower which stands in the churchyard at St John the Baptist Church is all that remains of St John’s, the ‘Chapel of Ease’ built on this site in 1828. The land was given to the Revd William Garnier, Rector of Droxford, by the Bishop of Winchester. Before the chapel was built, Shedfield was in Droxford parish. Because Droxford is a fair distance from Shedfield, parishioners used to worship losr to home at either Wickham or Bishops Waltham. Shedfield became an Ecclesiastical Parish in 1843. The chapel eventually seated 272 parishioners but after 40 years the roof of the chapel began to leak and at a vestry meeting in 1873, Frederick Townsend of Shedfield Lodge suggested that a new church should be built in its place.
By the late 1980’s the Old Tower was in a state of serious disrepair. Largely at the initiative of the late Eve Evans, verger and sacristan, an imaginative, environmentally-focused project was launched to renovate the tower. With the help of several dedicated parishioners including Cynthia Tester, Anne Bailey and Betty Daysh, and with the support of local architect Richard Guion and David and Madge Goodall of the Hampshire Bat Group, the Shedfield Old Tower conservation Society (SOTCS) was founded in 1992.
The restoration project was entirely independent from the church with financial support coming from many local organisations including the Hampshire Buildings Bureau, Shedfield Parish Council and Winchester City Council. Following a major fundraising effort, the breakthrough for the completion of the project was a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Old Tower was officially ‘opened’ by Chris Packham in 1999. It is a Grade II Listed building, incorporates a ground floor exhibition, and includes a hibernaculum for bats on the top floor.
With the winding up of SOTCS in February 2016, management of the Old Tower passed to the Parochial Church Council.
For further information or to visit, please contact the Parish Office.