The Rector of Farlington, the Rector of
Widley and Vicar of Wymering (which were held in plurality by Reverend Nugee)
were supporters of the Oxford Movement, which was High Church. John
Deverell was a convinced evangelical, which tended to be low church, and did
not agree with the Oxford Movement style of churching. He feared
that as the new chapel of ease was within the parish of Farlington, it would
have 'a high churchman'. He therefore withdrew his support.
John Deverell finally agreed to support
the new Chapel of Ease (St John's) at Purbrook and became one of the first
churchwardens. He attended the consecration and his fears of it being
'high church' were justified. He resigned from from his position as
churchwarden and erected his own chapel or meeting house, which opened for
services in 1860. These independent services werre conducted by a
Scripture Reader approved by the Bishop of Winchester. The chapel was
called Christ Church, Purbrook.
In the same year, the War Department
compulsorily purchased Portsdown Hill for military purposes. Included
within this purchase were nearly 190 acres of John Deverell's estate, for
which he was handsomely compensated. He entered into negotiations with
the War Department, expressing concern at the lack of spiritual welfare for
the troops based at the new forts on the Hill and Purbrook and Widley.
The Secretary of State for War granted a
one acre site for the building of a church and John Deverell agreed to
finance the building and in return for providing the endowment, was granted
the patronage of the church, which was to be known as Christ Church,
Portsdown, a parish in its own right. In return for giving the land
the Army was given rights to hold services in the church. The churchyard was
to be used for military burials as required.
In 1872, although not completed, Christ
Church, Portsdown was roofed and given a certificate so that it could be
used by the soldiers in the forts. Records of baptism in the church
began in 1871.
On 30th July 1874 Christ Church, Portsdown
On the morning of 4th June 1944 (the eve
of the D-Day Normandy invasion), Christ Church, Portsdown was the venue for
one of the most important services of the 20th Century. The service
was the Knight's Vigil, a service
organised by the Vicar (the Reverend RBS Gillman) and General Sir Miles
Dempsey (Commander of the British Second Army).