St. Andrew’s has stood sentinel over the Village for some 700 years. It is set back from the road and approached through a pair of gates, which were placed in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. At the top of the bell tower hang six bells which ring out regularly. The oldest of these bell is nearly 400 years old, being hung in 1619. Inside the Church there are unique artefacts of great historical interest.
Two stained glass windows in the church inspired the young Vincent van Gogh. He saw the designs while living and working in London and wrote passionately about them to his brother, Theo.
The windows were commissioned by William Carnegie the 8th Earl of Northesk, in memory of his wife and daughter who both died before him. Both are depicted as the Virgin Mary, in her youth and in old age: his daughter, Lady Margaret Carnegie, who died in 1871 aged 23, and her mother, Georgina, Countess of Northesk, who died in 1874 aged 63.
In his letter to his brother, Theo, Van Gogh, who at the age of 23, had yet to pick up a paint brush, wrote: ‘I saw sketches for two Church windows. In the middle of one of the windows, the portrait of an elderly lady, such a noble face, with the words “Thy will be done” inscribed above. ‘In the other window, the portrait of her Daughter, with the words “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.
Before the windows were made, the inscription on the daughters version was changed to read “Fear not only believe”.
The church clock was purchased in 1898 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Just under the clock over the west window can be seen a plaque on the wall bearing the inertias JF and TC with the date 1675. These were the initials of John Friend and Thomas Cawte who were church wardens at the time. In the burial ground there are old graves including that of Lord Northesk who gave so generously to the church and the village, There was also a small memorial garden for those who gave their lives in The Great War of 1914-18. The place will shortly be marked by a plaque.
There is a hole in the wall behind the left side of the altar. It is said to be where a bullet stopped, after passing through the vicar who continued to practice the Latin Mass, disobeying orders to change to the Protestant Holy Communion.
The entrance arch is Norman originally an entrance door to the Bishops Palace at Marwell.
St Andrew’s is a dominant and significant influence on village life even in today’s modern world, due in no small part to an small army of dedicated parishioners.arch
Charles II’s Royal Coat of Arms is a magnificent sight hanging over the West arch of the nave. It was restored in 1970 and was thought to have been given in 1682 by Sir Charles Brett, a friend of the King, who lived at Marwell at the time.