HampshireNATELYSCURESStSwithun(antonymccallumCC-BY-SA2.0)1 AntonyMcallum

St Swithun

St Swithun's is a beautiful ancient church, one of smallest in the country which has been a centre of worship for 900 years.

Nately Scures, Hampshire

Opening times

This church is open all year, all day, every day.


Blackstocks Lane
Nately Scures
RG27 9PH

St Swithuns is one of the smallest churches in England, perhaps 38 feet long and about 16 feet wide: it is a gem of which any village would be proud.

Dating from around 1175, it has largely escaped over zealous Victorian ‘improvements’. It is particularly interesting for its memorials: one of brass, erected about 1661, remembers John and Mary Palmer who lived in the village for some 10 years; others, including four of marble shaped to recall playing card suits, commemorate the lives of various members of the Carleton family who, as Barons Dorchester, have been lords of the manor here since 1787. A grandson of the last Lord Dorchester, James 7th Earl of Malmesbury, who lives in Greywell, is the present head of the family.

Another charming feature of the building is the little mermaid carved on the left side of the church door as you enter. Tradition has it that a Nately Scures man went to sea and fell in love with a mermaid; he was due for shore leave but promised to marry her when he returned to sea. However, instead he married a local girl but was snatched away by the mermaid who swam with him down the Lyde to the Loddon, then to the Thames and so to the open sea. A more prosaic explanation may be that when the church was built the mermaid was carved at the door to remind church goers how nature spirits (mermaids are thought to represent water spirits) and superstitions had no place in Christian worship and should be left outside. The current carving by the door copies the rather worn original, which is preserved in the nave.

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Dog friendly

  • Monthly Evensong 5pm, on the third Sunday of the month.

  • Church of England

  • Partnership Grant, £5,000, 2018

  • Our Partnership Grants funded a range of repair projects, recommended by County Church Trusts, to help keep churches open.

  • Partnership Grant, £2,500, 2015

  • Our Partnership Grants funded a range of repair projects, recommended by County Church Trusts, to help keep churches open.

Contact information

Other nearby churches

All Saints

Odiham, Hampshire

A Grade I listed church dating back to the 13th century.

London Street URC

Basingstoke, Hampshire

The building was originally known as the London Street Mission House and the first foundation stone was laid in 1800.