Rededication of St Matthew’s Church, Winchester [with pics and captions below]

THE ancient ‘shepherd’s church’ of St Matthew’s was in the spotlight last weekend when it was rededicated by the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin.

The tiny church will also host a series of summer activities including an open day and a flower festival to celebrate its re-opening.

During the service of Morning Prayer, Bishop Tim described the Grade II listed church which was closed for several months as both ‘old and renewed’.

Refurbishment work at the church includes a new roof and rewiring as well as a flexible meeting area and kitchenette. There are also new toilet and baby-changing facilities.

Last Sunday’s celebrations saw the church filled virtually to capacity with around 60 people in the building. The congregation included Lady Appleyard and two further representatives of the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust – one of several grant-making bodies that have supported the project including the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

The rector of St Matthew’s, Canon Peter Seal, said: ‘This is a real moment of celebration for our parish and the local community. I am so grateful to those people whose vision, hard work and generosity have made this project possible. Now we must move forward, inspired by their legacy, to use this community facility and make it a real source of local pride for the 21st century.’

An Open Day (between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm) on Saturday 1 April will begin a season of activities to showcase the new building.

Other events include:

Thursday 6 April: Talk by Dr Mark Allen, University of Winchester, ‘The coming of the railways and its impact on Weeke and Fulflood’

Thursday 27 April: Talk by Helen Chambers, ‘Some memorials in St Matthew’s Church and their story’

Thursday 18 May: Talk by Pamela Peskett, ‘Did your ancestors live here? Weeke in the 19th century’

Fri 2, Sat 3 June, all day: Flower Festival in and around the church

Sat 23 September, evening: Classical Music concert performed by local young people.

Anyone who would like to enquire about using the church building for meetings or small gatherings should contact the Parish Office on 844878 or email


Picture captions:

1 St Matthew’s Church on Stockbridge Road, showing the refurbished roof on the historic building. Until well into the 20th century there was only a gravel lane outside, with hardly any houses nearby.

2 Clergy and churchwardens outside St Matthew’s last Sunday following the rededication of the 12th-century parish church. From left to right: Mike Russell-Smith (churchwarden), Rt Revd Tim Dakin (Bishop of Winchester), Canon Peter Seal (Rector of St Matthew with St Paul), Dick Wilkinson (churchwarden).