This is the official website of The Downs Benefice Winchester, Hampshire.

Lent Series

Notices in brief...

For all the notices and more information, please see our Notices page


Resources for Children and Families


Wild Worship Guide


Messy Church


Sparsholt Church of England Primary School - Rainbows of Hope Challenge

Support the children in this challenge.

Full details: Sparsholt_Church_of_England_Primary_School_-_Rainbows_of_Hope_Challenge

Prayer Requests

If you have any prayer requests, for any concerns lying on your heart or to give thanks, please email the office on

All prayer requests will be made anonymous before being passed on  to our Prayer Team.

COVID-19 Support

Chilbolton Coronavirus Support Group

Chilbolton Parish Council, with the Church and Chilbolton Stores have formed 'The Chilbolton CoronaVirus Support Group' to help vulnerable people in our village community with both practical support and to help alleviate anxieties over self-isolation. Please click the link below if you would like help or are able to offer help.


Crawley Corona Helpers

Please contact the Helpers on 07807 363689 or Email: 

Littleton Coronavirus Support Group

Please click the link below if you would like help or are able to offer help.


Sparsholt Community Support

Information about the Sparsholt Community Support Group can be found here:  Support_Group

Wherwell Community Support

Coronavirus – Wherwell Help Line

Wherwell Parish Council has arranged a help line for Wherwell residents. Please click on the link below for full details.



Please click on the link below for the online version of the Parish Magazine.


Chilbolton & Wherwell Magazine

Please click on the lnk below for the online version of the Village Magazine.


Weekly Benefice Newsletter - We intend to continue producing our weekly newsletter while services are suspended and will distribute it electronically on Fridays.  If you would like to receive a copy of Across The Downs, please could you email the office at 

so you can be added to the distribution list.


Please click below for Safeguarding Links


Citizens Advice - Winchester District

Please click below for information about Citizens Advice, Winchester District


Parish Magazine Deadline

Copy for June/July edition of the Benefice Parish Magazine should be submitted by 12.00 noon - Friday 8th May.

We are very sorry but owing to the current situation with regard to Covid 19, we have decided to postpone our Lent series until it is sensible to reschedule.



Mission and Responding to God's Call

This year we have invited speakers to come and talk to us about how they have responded to God's Call to vocation and to their charitable works, and how their faith directs their life and work.


Arrival from 7.15pm for all the talks so they can start at 7.30pm.



Tuesday 3rd March - St Stephen's Church, Sparsholt - Mark Hibbert-Hingston, Winchester Street Pastors

Mark grew up in Shropshire, later attending boarding school, before joining the Army at 19. He served in Northern Ireland, Germany, the divided city of Berlin, Cyprus and UK (mainly London). On leaving in 1998 Mark worked for the Armed Forces Christian union for 3 years, after which he was in construction until being appointed as the coordinator of the newly-launching Winchester Street Pastors in 2011. In addition to this part-time role, Mark also works for Military Ministries International (MMI), both in the office and as part of the Europe team. In this role he has visited many of the countries in Europe (particularly Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) as well as the USA, South Korea and South Africa.

Mark has been married to Lucinda for over 35 years, and together they have six adult children. He still has little time for hobbies but enjoys flying a drone and walking his son’s dog, although not at the same time!

For more information on Street pastors or MMI, visit



Monday 9th March St Mary the Less, Chilbolton - Tom Burden, Headmaster of Pilgrims School

Tom Burden is Headmaster of The Pilgrims’ School in Winchester and was formerly Headmaster of a north London prep school, Hereward House. Now in his late 40s, despite having a ‘successful’ career, Tom has decided to become ordained. Why? How did he decide? What has he learnt from his time in schools that may influence his work in the church? Tom believes that the church needs to be bolder and more adventurous. This talk will be partly a story; and partly a setting out of vision.



Wednesday 18th March - St Mary's Church, Crawley - Jonathan de Sausmarez, The Children's Society

I am the third son of a Church of England clergyman and was largely brought up in Broadstairs, Kent. My formative years were spent singing in the parish choir and this led to my chosen career of a Teacher of Music which began in Liverpool and has taken me through Gloucestershire and since 1995, Hampshire. For the past 20 years, I have led two schools as Headteacher, Henry Beaufort in Winchester and as Executive Headteacher of The Romsey School. In April 2019, I set up a small multi academy trust (MAT) of Romsey and a primary school in Totton.

My interest in the Children's Society really began with my Mother, who as a vicar's wife of the old school, supported the charity and galvanised the parish accordingly. Sadly she passed away in 2013, but as I undertake semi retirement, it was by chance that I found I could continue her work acting as a speaker for the society. Throughout my educational career I have tried to tackle injustice and poverty and I was drawn to the society through its commitment to help and support those young people who are so vulnerable in our society.



Friday 27th March - St Catherine's Church Room, Littleton - Howard Rowe, formerly Lead Chaplain, Winchester City Centre Chaplains

Howard first came to faith when a university student in Southampton, where he trained as an electronic engineer. Howard worked as a project manager with IBM for 30 years, and then as Winchester City Centre Chaplain, retiring in 2017. Howard lived and worshiped in Littleton Church for many years until he and his wife Alwena moved to King’s Somborne, where he now serves as a Licensed Lay Minister.

Howard has 3 grown up sons and 6 grandchildren. He loves walking, music, painting and real ale.



Wednesday 2nd April - St Peter and Holy Cross Church, Wherwell - Dr Roland Guy, Consultant Endocrinologist

Roland Guy is a consultant physician and has worked for 30 years at Basingstoke Hospital. He is involved in his local rural church and runs a bible study in his home.