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A Short History of the Parish
The modern village of Stubbington includes the far older village of Crofton, hence the name for the parish. Evidence of a church within Crofton parish can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1087. It is likely that there has been a church on the site of St Edmund the Martyr since Anglo-Saxon times. The famous diarist, Samuel Pepys noted that the graves in the churchyard were accustomed to being sown with sage.
The church of St Edmund the Martyr (or St Edmund’s or Crofton Old Church as it is usually known) was administered as a chapel of ease from the greater parish of Titchfield until 1871 when Crofton became a parish in its own right with the Revd Herbert Alder being appointed as its first incumbent. By the 1870s the village of Stubbington was expanding, whilst the village of Crofton was in decline. Moreover, St Edmund’s was in a dilapidated condition.
It was decided that a new church was needed at the heart of Stubbington. Under the direction of the then vicar the Revd Pitt Cobbett, the new church of Holy Rood was built at a cost of £4000: it was consecrated in 1878. Holy Rood church tower was added in 1928 in memory of all those Old Boys of Stubbington House School who had fallen in the Boer and Great Wars. Another milestone for Holy Rood happened in 1968 when a severe fire destroyed the entire chancel end. This was seen as a God-given opportunity to modernise the interior of the church building. The church centre was later added in 1991.
The St Edmund's church building has also seen something of a renaissance in recent years. Following the formation of FOCOC (Friends of Crofton Old Church) in the 1980s, St Edmund's has undergone significant renovations, and since the 1990s there have been regular weekly services within the renovated church building.