From Some Ancient Churches in North East Hampshire
Holybourne takes its name from the Old English Haligburna, meaning
'sacred stream'. The stream rises by the church creating a delightful pond,
from which it flows as a tributary to the River Wey.
It is perhaps surprising to find another church of Norman foundation so
near to the ancient church of St Lawrence at Alton, less than two miles
distant. The reason could be the proximity of Neatham, which was
administered by the monks from Waverley Abbey, Holybourne church being one
of many in Hampshire and Surrey established by the Cistercian monks of
The present church stands a little off the ancient route from Winchester to
Farnham. Its foundations date to the 12th century, and the west end, the
lower part of the present tower, and the nave seem to have constituted the
original church. The north aisle was rebuilt in 1879, at one time being
joined to the nave by a lean-to roof.
The north aisle replaces a mediaeval one, whose two-bay fifteenth century
arcade survives. The chancel, which is Early English (1190-1300) was added
later and is the same width as the nave, an architectural oddity being
created by the church's extension eastwards.
This work was completed in the 13th century, but by two centuries later it
was found necessary to raise the floor of the whole building, presumably
due to problems arising from the nearby springs. By 1870, it became
necessary to restore the nave, retaining the 15th century roof framework.
The church is entered at the west end through a Norman arch under the tower.
There is a fine Perpendicular three-light window in the east wall, and
another can be seen in the north wall.
Provision has been made in the north aisle for those attending in
wheelchairs from the nearby Lord Mayor Treloar's College.