St Catherine of Alexandria, Littleton

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The vision of the Downs Benefice is to be a welcoming, thriving, and growing Christian family, embedded in the wider community of which we are a part, and actively engaged in the work of the Deanery and Diocese.

Although situated towards one end of Littleton, St Catherine’s plays a central part in the life of the village. In addition to our Sunday services we provide: a weekly toddler group; monthly Messy Church (in conjunction with 2 neighbouring parishes); a monthly lunch club for the elderly; social events such as the Harvest Supper and Safari Supper; pastoral support for those in need in the parish through our Parish Visitors scheme.

Our Rector is Rev Jax Machin, who is supported by Charlotte Nash and Alan Disher (Licensed Lay Ministers), a dedicated band of retired priests and a growing number of lay worship leaders.

History of the church (compiled by Graham Davies):

It has been said that there is evidence of a church on the existing site for over a thousand years. The place name of Littleton is of Saxon origin, “ton” being Anglo-Saxon for a farmstead, and later a village. An entry in the Domesday Book implies that there was a church at Littleton in Saxon times, and that it was one of the nine churches in the Manor of Chilcombe, itself a gift of the Minster at Winchester in 635 from the Saxon King of Wessex, Cynegils. However although the present building could be said still to resemble in size and shape the churches built by the Saxons, restoration has been so extensive that there are no longer any traces of Saxon work in it.

On 6 January 1171 Henri de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, ordered under charter that "the appropriations of churches to the Sacrist and the Hospitallers of Jerusalem shall continue as they have been assigned “. . . . .the church of Littletone for the reception of guests. . . . .” In practice this meant that revenues from the church were due to the Guestmaster at St. Swithun’s Priory, who used them for the entertainment of guests, including pilgrims to St. Swithun’s shrine. Supplies of grain, stock, poultry and dairy products from the Manor of Littleton were also delivered regularly to St. Swithun’s, and recorded in the accounts of the manorial reeve. This order was confirmed by Pope Innocent III in 1205 and again by Pope Innocent IV in 1243. It seems that by this time Littleton was no longer part of the manor of Chilcombe, and that the Bishop of Winchester had retained the patronage. The Black Death first visited England in 1348 and brought with it great hardship and inevitably smaller numbers of survivors to cultivate the land. Plague struck Littleton in 1364 and parishioners failed to pay their manorial dues as a result. In March 1373 Bishop William Wykeham licensed John Hyde, the Monk-Guestmaster of St. Swithun’s Priory “to hear confessions and administer the Eucharist at Littleton during Lent and Easter because, owing to depression of the times, the parishioners could not afford a chaplain”. This licence was renewed annually until 1379. The plague also meant that there was a severe shortage of clergy.

Following the upheaval of the Reformation, the Manor of Littleton was granted by Letters Patent Henry VIII in 1541 to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral.

Chaplains, and later perpetual curates, were nominated by the Prior before the dissolution of the monasteries and afterwards by the Dean and Chapter, and licensed by the Bishop. The first vicar, the Rev. A.G. Garland, was appointed in 1871. On 6 July 1909 the London Gazette recorded the exchange of the patronage of the benefice of Hunton for that of Littleton, and then Littleton was joined to Crawley with the first Rector of the united parishes being appointed in 1918. By the late 1980s the Rector had also been appointed Vicar of St. Stephen’s at Sparsholt with Lainston, reflecting the shortage of clergy, yet opening the way for greater community of worship among the three parishes.

The church is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr, although there have been earlier references - in 1886, for example, after the restoration - to St. Mary, meaning to St. Mary Magdalen. The legend surrounding St. Catherine is both well-known and unsubstantiated. She is said to have defied the emperor Maxentius’ efforts to break down her faith: an unsuccessful attempt was made to destroy her on a spiked wheel (the catherine wheel). This is thought to have happened in 307 AD., and a corpse discovered on Mount Sinai early in the 9th century was regarded as hers after it had been carried there by angels following her death.

Parish boundary view Bird's eye view

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Benefice Administrator
Benefice Office
The Rectory, Church Lane, Littleton
Winchester SO22 6QY
(01962) 880845

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  • Regular Services
  • Other Events
Printer friendly list of events


Family Communion (shorter form)
A shorter style communion service
Every second Sunday at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Ends Saturday 11th November 2017.
Resumes Monday 13th November 2017
Family Friendly Refreshments Common Worship
Morning Worship
A shorter, non-communion service
Every third Sunday at 10:00 AM for ¾ hour
Family Friendly Refreshments Common Worship
Family Communion
Every fourth Sunday at 10:00 AM for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Refreshments Common Worship
Cafe Church
Takes place in the Church Room, Church Lane
Every first Sunday at 4:00 PM for 1 hour
Ends Saturday 2nd December 2017.
Resumes Monday 4th December 2017
Family Friendly Refreshments
Peace and Wholeness Service
A peaceful candle-lit service with the opportunity for laying-on of hands for healing.
Every third Sunday at 6:00 PM


Holy Communion
Every first and third Wednesday at 9:30 AM for ½ hour
Common Worship
A brief introduction is followed by silent meditation.
Every fourth Wednesday at 7:00 PM for ½ hour


Messy Church
Suitable for all ages, we spend an hour doing crafts and other activities based around that month's theme, followed by a Celebration with Bible story, song and prayers, and finishing with a cooked tea. Location varies from month to month so please contact or the Benefice Office (01962 880845) for more information.
Every second Saturday at 4:00 PM for 2 hours
Ends Sunday 1st April 2018.
Resumes Monday 30th April 2018
Family Friendly Refreshments
Printer friendly list of events
Benefice Service
Our five churches come together to celebrate Bible Sunday
Sunday 29th October 2017 at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Common Worship
All Souls Service
Traditionally, All Souls' Day is the time when the Chuch remembers those who have died and offers prayers of thanksgiving for their lives. This is a special service for those of us who have been bereaved, and during each service there will be the opportunity to light a candle and to have the names of loved ones remembered in prayer.
Thursday 2nd November 2017 at 6:00 PM for 1 hour
Posada Service
The launch of this year's Posada, raising money and awareness for the charity Toybox
Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Refreshments
Carol Service
Based around the traditional Nine Lessons and Carols format.
Sunday 17th December 2017 at 6:00 PM for 1 hour
Christmas Carols
Toddler group Christmas service
The church toddler group's Christmas service followed by a party in the Church Room. All babies and toddlers welcome with their carers.
Monday 18th December 2017 at 10:00 AM for 20 minutes
Family Friendly Refreshments
Crib Service
Come along to welcome the Posada back to church, and help to construct the church's crib scene.
Sunday 24th December 2017 at 4:00 PM for ¾ hour
Family Friendly
Christmas Day
Monday 25th December 2017 at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Common Worship Christmas Carols



Wheelchair accessible toilets

(Hymn Books / Orders of Service etc.)

Assistance dogs (eg guide dogs, hearing dogs, dogs for the disabled) welcome
Stained Glass

Church Open The church is always open for visitors
Other information
A Church Near You ID (venue number): 18365
Style of worship: Conservative Evangelical
Archdeaconry: WINCHESTER (411)
Deanery: ANDOVER (41103)
Benefice: The Downs Benefice (41/066CM)
Parish Legal Name: Littleton (410344 )
CofE Church Info: (641344 41/344)
Short URL:
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The current editor is: Carol Coleman

Questions about this entry

This page was last updated on Tuesday 19th September 2017
St Catherine of Alexandria : Church Lane, Main Road, Littleton, Hampshire, SO22 6QY - At the Crawley end of the main road through the village, opposite Littleton Manor.

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