Church Recording is an important activity where a group of society members make detailed inventories of all artefacts in a church, as well as accurately recording their position within the church. Solent DFAS completed the recording of Holy Cross, Durley and the bound Record was presented to the Church in 2011 (see photo).

In 2012 a volunteer team from Solent DFAS started recording the Church of St. Mary, within the Castle Walls at Portchester, pictured above.  This Norman Church of great simplicity and beauty, was built in the 1120s of Isle of Wight stone for a community of Augustinian monks from France. The Recorders are describing the whole of the interior furnishings in nine sections: Memorials, Metalwork, Stonework, Woodwork, Textiles, Paintings, Library, Windows, and Miscellaneous. The completed record will be presented to St Mary's, with copies going to the National Archive, the V&A Museum, the Church Commisioners and the Hampshire Record Office, where they will be stored and made available for researchers.



There are three bells in the Bell Tower. The Tenor bears the date 1589 and the inscription 'Obey God and the Prince', the second Tenor 1632 and the inscription 'In God is My Hope' and the Treble 1633. Elizabeth 1 decreed that bells should be rung in churches where she visited - she worshipped at St Mary's during her visits to Porchester Castle. The bells are rung from ropes in the Bell Chamber, below the Bell Tower. There is a small hole in the floor of the Bell Chamber that enables the bellringers to see the bride and groom leave to walk back down the aisle after they have signed the Register.

Queen Anne Bounty

This painting on canvas depicts the Royal Arms of Queen Anne, as used until 1714. In 1705 the parishioners petitioned Queen Anne for a grant to restore damage perpetrated by Dutch prisoners of war, who were held in the church and some of the Priory buildings. The petition was granted and a sum of £100 was raised from the sale of firewood cut down in Windsor forest.

West Doorway

The fine Norman doorway shows elaborately carved archways resting on twisted shafts with carved capitals. Above the capitals are symbolic figures representing Pisces and Sagittarius.


The 12th Century Font, one of the oldest in the County, is carved out of a block of Caen limestone. Encircling the bowl are intricate carvings of birds, serpents and cherubs, believed to represent the Garden of Eden.

Please contact the Chairman If you would like to participate in Church Recording.