Hampshire churches 11 – St Mary, Selborne

Today I went to see the church of St Mary in Selborne, home of the famous 18th C naturalist Gilbert White. For a village, the church is large, with both north and south aisles and bays with huge, simple pillars.

A giant yew tree, many hundreds of years old, was brought down by a gale in January 1990. A plaque on the west wall of the church commemorates those whose resting place was disturbed.

Gilbert White’s father was a vicar of St Mary’s, and Gilbert himself became a curate of the church. Two stained-glass windows in the south aisle commemorate White the naturalist by allusion. One depicts St Francis, surrounded by many different birds and animals, all of which have been identified by modern naturalists in a diagram beneath the window.

Behind the altar is a painting of the worship of the Magi, attributed to the Flemish artist Jan Mostaert, about 1515. It is believed to have been given to the church by Gilbert White’s brother.

If you would like to see more photos of this lovely church, click on this link.


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