The chancel with its small double splayed windows dates from the mid-eleventh century but the north and south aisles were added towards the end of the twelfth century. The original Saxon east window was replaced in 1330 whilst the west tower was rebuilt in brick in 1703.
Opening the door of the church one is overwhelmed by a sense of history. Wonderful carved Jacobean box pews fill the nave whilst a fifteenth century doorway near the chancel reveals a narrow stairway which once led to a rood loft.
All in all a fine old church, a veritable time-warp, which has thankfully escaped the hands of restorers. The only twentieth century things in the church appear to be a modern organ and some beautifully embroided kneelers in the box pews
The Tichborne Family Chapel is a unique thing in Hampshire and one of only three Catholic chapels surviving in a pre- Reformation church in England
When you step inside the church of St Andrew’s in Tichborne, there is an immediate sense that something a bit different is going on. The ancient box pews take your eye and then looking a little bit like one of the chantry chapels you find inside cathedrals is the Tichborne family chapel. The chapel is a rare Roman Catholic chapel inside a pre-Reformation church. Its survival is incredible and there are only another two in England.
Who are the Tichborne family, that their Roman Catholic chapel survived the anti Popish blows of the Reformation?
There is much to be written about the Tichborne family which must rank amongst the great families of Hampshire. They can claim a heritage that is documented as far back as the C12th. All through the Reformation, the Tichborne family clung to their Roman Catholic faith. So did many others and were persecuted for it. Any hint of Catholicism in parish churches was removed and that is why the Tichborne Family Chapel is an extraordinary thing.
To survive the Reformation, the family must have been in high favour with their monarch. Sir Benjamin Tichborne, High Sheriff of Hampshire 1579 – 1580 showed great loyalty to his monarchs and was granted a concession in 1621 by King James I, in appreciation of Sir Benjamin’s help in securing Hampshire for the king at his accession in 1603.