Before 1066 King Harold held the four manors of Chalton (including Idsworth) Stansted, Havant and Warblington. After the Norman Conquest Earl Roger de Montgomery was given their titles, and the bishop of Winchester had the privilege of free chase to hunt and take for his own use animals plants and trees of the forest. The area was occupied by Saxons both Pagan and Christian, the latter being responsible for St Huberts Church at Idsworth. Built in the then “new” Norman style, it was dedicated in 1053 and named the church of St Peter and St Paul, later named St Huberts after the Patron Saint of Hunters.
Idsworth is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, unlike the neighbouring manor of Chalton, which was held personally by Earl Godwin, premier Earl of England and father of Harold.
It has been suggested that the chapel could have been built on the foundations of a much earlier building, Roman coins and pottery have been found nearby. The sheer simplicity of the chapel draws one in to enjoy a truly holy place. Known locally as the little church in the fields, today countless numbers of folk from far and wide climb the hill to offer prayer and worship to their loving God. Fresh flowers are placed in the chapel by parishioners and many services are held there.
The church might have been visited by grateful parishioners after the Spanish Armada during the reign of Elizabeth 1st. Thanksgiving services would have been held for the ending in victory of the First and Second world wars.
In 1864 ancient murals were discovered on the chapel’s walls and were renovated around the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. These paintings have been studied by highly eminent Historians.
This article is taken from the booklet written by Mary Jane Lomer entitled ‘Round and About Rowlands Castle’ 2015, for which she retains the copyright.