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St Nicholas Church Bishop’s Sutton is a delightful simple Norman structure. Bishop’s Sutton is a Hampshire village, carved by a busy road, that is easy to pass through without noticing the ancient building at its heart.
The Church is open during daylight hours.
The history of settlement at Bishop’s Sutton reaches back into the oldest history of England. The headwaters of the River Arle well up in its meadows, clear chalk filtered waters that still serve the community today.
The Saxon settlement evolved around these headwaters. We know from other places, that where waters well from the ground that these become places of ritual. When Birinius began his conversion of the tribes in Wessex, it is quite possible that ‘Sudtunam’ (south settlement), caught their attention as a place of ritual and raised a preaching cross there. As you stand in the churchyard north of the church, the land falls away to the water and it is easy to imagine the attraction of such a site.
The church seen today began life as a simple Norman two-bay structure of nave and chancel. Additions were made to the building throughout the Medieval period and the usual Victorian meddling is evident in the addition of the vestry, added in 1882 and obscuring the Norman arch.