A New Forest Church.

On this dull Wednesday, we stopped off at our favourite New Forest Churches.

St Nicholas Church Brockenhurst is the oldest church in the Forest. It is positioned on a mound, on the edge of the village which may have been a sacred site since pre-Christian times. A church is recorded at Brockenhurst in Domesday but the original Christian church was quite possibly established by Augustinians who established the priory at Christchurch. This church never seems to change except with the seasons. today it looks exactly the same as it did in 1980 when we got married there.

Male and female Blackbird.

War Graves in the Churchyard.

Details re the war graves copied from Commonwealth war graves commission webpage.

“Due to its proximity to the port of Southampton, its railway connections and an abundance of large houses in the area, Brockenhurst was chosen in 1915 by the War Office to become a hospital centre. Initially, Lady Hardinge’s Hospital (named after the wife of the Viceroy of India) for the Indian troops of the Lahore and Meerut Divisions was established south of the village. This was then replaced by No.1 New Zealand General Hospital in June 1916, after the Indian Divisions were replaced by ANZAC troops. The New Zealand Hospital remained at Brockenhurst until it closed early in 1919. The churchyard contains 106 graves of the First War, of which one hundred are in the New Zealand plot. In addition to the 93 New Zealand graves, there are also three Indian and three unidentified Belgian civilians (employed at the Sopley Forestry camp). On the East side of the New Zealand plot is a memorial incorporating a Cross.”

The snake man.

Harry ‘Brusher’ Mills was a hermit, a resident of the forest, he made his living as a snake catcher.  It is said he caught around 30,000 snakes during his 18 years as a snake catcher.

He was a man of few needs who loved the simple life, in a mud hut apart from a spell in the workhouse after catching influenza.

He was a popular character in Brockenhurst, regularly enjoying a tipple at The Railway Inn which today is named The Snakecatcher in his honour.

You are never far from a Robin in the New Forest.