St Peter & St Paul Church, Exton
The Village and its surroundings
St Peter and St Paul, Exton is a 13th Century, Grade II Listed church situated on the site of an earlier church dating back to 940 AD, but much restored during the 19th Century. It lies at the heart of this nuclear village of 50 houses, but the parish also includes a further 28 houses at Preshaw some two miles distant and a dozen outlying houses.
The South Downs Way National Trail goes through the village, straight past the church. The churchyard is quite extensive and very well maintained by a parishioner and the surrounding walls are in good order.
The Church Building
The wonderful stained glass window and Tree of Life at the east end of the church dating from 1900 has been described as the “most exuberant example” of the work of Charles Spooner, an architect of the Arts and Crafts Movement. A set of kneelers in front of the communion rail depicting the four churches of the Meon Bridge Benefce has been embroidered by skilled members of the congregation. The church has a weeping chancel which unusually veers to the right. It can seat 125.
The South Downs Way brings many visitors to the church. The church provides opportunity for quiet reflection and prayer. In summer refreshments are placed in the porch for walkers and cyclists and the parish joins in the Ride and Stride Day organised by the Hampshire and Island Historic Churches Trust.
The church has running water and a loud speaker system. The congregation at the 10.30 am monthly service for the whole benefice enjoys staying for coffee and chat after the service.