Alverstoke (St. Mary)
ALVERSTOKE (St. Mary), a parish, comprising the sea-port town of Gosport, the watering-place called Anglesey, and the chapelry of Forton, in the liberty of Alverstoke and Gosport, Fareham and S. divisions of the county of Southampton; and containing 13,510 inhabitants. This place is situated on the shore of Alverstoke bay. According to an ancient chronicle, Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester, and brother of King Stephen, on his return from Normandy, being overtaken by a storm in the bay, between the Isle of Wight and Alverstoke, made a solemn vow to build a church on the spot where he should first land in safety; and, having landed at this place, is said to have erected the parish church, in fulfilment of his vow, about the year 1130. The parish comprises 3031 acres, whereof 142 are common or waste: the scenery is varied, and in the western part of the parish are several small rural villages which have a pleasing aspect, and contrast finely with the more stately edifices in other parts of it. The village of Alverstoke is pleasantly situated about half a mile from the bay, and within a quarter of a mile from the elegant new buildings of Anglesey.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £21. 6. 0½., and in the gift of the Bishop of Winchester: the tithes have been commuted for £1250, and the glebe consists of 45 acres. The church, which occupies a site in the village beautifully secluded by trees, has undergone many changes since its foundation, and is now in a state of renovation, which has been effected with a judicious regard to its original character: a tablet was erected in 1844, to the memory of the officers and soldiers of the 44th regiment, who fell in the Affghan war. There are several churches and chapels in the parish; one at Gosport, consecrated in 1696, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity; a small chapel closely adjoining the liberty of Gosport; another at Elson, on the northern side of the parish; one, lately erected, very near to the parish church, among the new buildings at Anglesey; and one at Forton. The church at Elson is dedicated to St. Thomas, and was consecrated in Aug. 1845: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Rector. The dissenters, also, have several places of worship.