Hampshire Church Treasures 2: St Mary’s Amport

Altar piece St John St Mary's church Amport

Medieval Altar Piece St Mary’s Church Amport

Churches are full of extraordinary items, some of them tucked away in hidden corners…..
Here is number 2 in a series of short posts, on the out of the ordinary artifacts and objects that can be found in Hampshire churches

The parish church of St Mary’s Amport in the Test Valley, contains a fascinating artifact. It is a miniature altar piece, carved at Nottingham out of Chellaston alabaster in the C14th / C15th. It is a rare thing indeed.

The head of St John the Baptist lies on a round dish, surrounded by angels bearing his soul to heaven, whilst the figures of the four saints stand at the base.

The piece found its way to the church via a blocked up chimney recess in a cottage in nearby East Cholderton.

Only a few of these altar pieces have survived and when made would have been brightly coloured.

Which church it was held in originally before being taken away for safe keeping is not known but it is a wonderful and rare object….