Our History


An Act of 1818 allowed for the building of new churches in areas where a large enough population existed at least two miles from an existing church.

On 29th August 1837, the year Queen Victoria came to the throne, the Revd. G R Mountain of Havant and Revd W Norris of Warblington made an application to build a church at Red Hill following pledges of £783 by local people.

Mrs Harriet Dixon, wife of Charles, owner of Stansted House, laid the foundation stone on 31 August 1837.

The church was consecrated by Charles Sumner, the Bishop of Winchester, on 12 July 1838.

The original church consisted of a cruciform shape which included:

  • the Nave - the central seating area from the first step to the crossing opposite the porch
  • the Chancel - now a raised open area, with a moveable Lord's Table
  • the Sanctuary - the area beyond the wooden rails containing the original Lord's Table

1853: The north and south aisles were added

1866: A Rector was appointed to the living of Rowland's Castle

1906: The entrance porch was built (glazed in 1963)

1909: First organ installed

1919: War Memorial dedicated by the Bishop of Southampton

1929: The Chancel area was raised and re-ordered (later improved in 1953)

1929: The Nave was extwnded west beyond the line from the porch to the south wall

1968: Current organ installed (originally built in 1933)

2008: Latest modernisation creating today's flexible space


  • The East Window shows the Crucifixion with Mary and St John the Evangelist (the writer of St John's Gospel). The ram is the symbol of St John the Baptist. The window is in memory of Francis, the eldest son of Revd George Austen and dated from 1885
  • The South Window in the Sanctuary shows the Baptism of Jesus by St John the Baptist. The window is in memory of Louisa Lane Austen, the wife of George Austen and dates from 1895
  • On the North Wall in the Sanctuary are two boards showing the Ten Commandmants
  • Note the brass plates on the South Wall in the Sanctuary commemmorating Francis, Louis and Arthur Austen
  • See the plaque giving words of caution and admonishment from the Psalms to priests
  • Above the Lord's Table are the 'I AM' sayings of Christ from the Gospel of St John
  • In the intricate roof structure above your head, can you spot the Victorian shield?
  • Look at the sculpted faces on the columns in the Nave. Perhaps these could be be the disciples, but one is the head of a woman. (There is a church in Chichester, now a public house, opposite the Cathedral, with similar faces. This is under research)
  • On the Board of Rectors, note Gearge Austen

Main Grave In The Churchyard - Our Jane Austen Connection

In the churchyard of particular importance and situated appropriately near the church is the grave of five members of the Austen family.

  • George Heathcote Austen
  • Louisa Tragett
  • Francis George Heathcote Austen
  • Ernest Leigh Austen
  • Rose Clarice Bowgen

George Heathcote Austen

He was the nephew of Jane Austen the novelist, and a rector here for 41 years between (1856-1897).

He was the son of Sir Francis William Austen CMG, (1774-1865), Admiral of the Fleet, who is buried in Wymering Church.

Sir Francis was Jane Austen’s brother, and said to be the inspiration for the character William Price in ‘Mansfield Park ’.

Sir Francis and his wife Mary had ten children of which George was the third son

Louisa Tragett

George married Louisa in July 1851, They had five children, two of whom are buried with their parents.

  • Francis George Heathcote Austen
  • Ernest Leigh Austen

Francis George Heathcote Austen (1857-1885)

Francis never married and died aged 28, shortly after returning from India, where he had been working.

Ernest Leigh Austen (1858 - 1939)

Ernest following family tradition, entering the Navy as a cadet in January 1871, retiring as Commander in December 1903.

Rose Clarice Bowgen

Rose married Ernest in June 1911. They had no children.

Second Grave

In another grave, near to the footpath leading to the church, lies Colonel Arthur Robert Austen CMG (1860 - 1939) of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Arthur married Rose Price de Teissier, whose father was Henry Price, 4th Baron De Teissier. They married on 7th June 1891. Rose does not appear to have been buried with her husband.

Their third son, Arthur Neville Austen, died of wounds in 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 (posthumously) for distinguished service in France and Flanders. He is buried in a war cemetery in France.

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