Our benefice consists of four parishes, North Waltham, Steventon, Ashe and Deane, each with its own Parochial Church Council and churchwardens. The parishes are located to the south‐west of Basingstoke in one of the most beautiful areas of rural Hampshire with farmland and woods interspersed between the four villages. The amenities of Overton, Basingstoke and Winchester are within easy reach. The benefice map on page 5 indicates the location of the parishes. The parishes have much in common socially, with a high proportion of professionals and retired professionals and also a strong farming tradition. North Waltham has an excellent county primary school. The total population of the benefice is around 1230. The Priest in Charge has overview of both benefices, though the House for Duty Associate Priest in our benefice has largely managed and led these four parishes.
The villages are close together geographically, each with its own church:
- St. Michael, North Waltham
- St. Nicholas, Steventon
- Holy Trinity & St. Andrew, Ashe
- All Saints, Deane
The following is a short profile of each of the parishes:
The Parish of North Waltham
North Waltham is a fairly rural parish with a population of 900, located 7 miles from Basingstoke, close to junction 7 of the M3. The village is home to a pub, shop, primary school, pre‐school and village hall with a recreation ground. Within the village is the holiday home Bluebells, run by Sebastian’s Action Trust, for families with children who have life limiting illnesses. The population is a mixture of young families and retired people with many who commute for their work.
The Parish of Steventon
Steventon is a small village surrounded by farms and woodland. It lies between the villages of North Waltham and Deane between the A30/A33 and B3400. The population numbers 250 and comprises a wide range of ages. Steventon enjoys a very strong community spirit with many and varied activities. The parish hall, owned by the church, and let to the parish for a peppercorn rent, is a great asset as a venue for many of these activities as well as being a convenient meeting place for the benefice. Steventon is proud of its connection with Jane Austen, being the birthplace and cradle for her works for her first 25 years, inspiring visits from all over the world.
The Parish of Ashe
The parish of Ashe, population 110, with a fair mix of age groups, consists of four distinct settlements: Lower Ashe which, with Ashe Warren, lies to the north of the Overton – Basingstoke road (B3400), and Upper Ashe and South Litchfield which lie to the south. The church is at Lower Ashe, about one mile to the east of Overton and a similar distance to the west of Deane. The parish has associations with Jane Austen; in particular, the former rectory (now Ashe House) was the home of Jane’s great friend, Mrs. Lefroy.
The Parish of Deane
The parish of Deane is located about 6 miles from the centre of Basingstoke just off the B3400 Basingstoke to Overton Road. It is a rural community with approximately 40 residents, including 3 children. Oak Lodge Care Home is located within the parish.
(Thanks to Dave Foster, who wrote the Parish Profile, which this extract is taken from – 2019)