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Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Pear Tree Church

Pear Tree Church, the oldest Anglican church in the world, is celebrating its 400th anniversary with a packed programme of events on Saturday 18 September 2021.

Whether you like music, theatre, history or nature, there’s something for everyone, with events in the church itself, the churchyard, the church hall and across Pear Tree Green. And most of the day is free.

Visitors can browse craft and heritage displays from a variety of local experts including The Spitfire Makers, SS Shieldhall, and Roger Towner’s 17th Century medical display. Live, local-themed music will be on offer with Barry Wake & Howard Brown singing songs of Woolston, and Jeff Henry & Brian Hooper singing songs of the Ferry Village. The Madding Crowd will be singing and dancing in costume in the style of church gallery bands in days gone by.

Pear Tree Green was home to troops during the Napoleonic Wars and the 79th Cameron Highlanders will be recreating this with drill parades and musket demonstrations.

The Sarah Siddons Fan Club Theatre will perform short scenes based on pageants of the past, including the planting of the Pear Tree by Elizabeth I.

You can explore the churchyard and its tales of cannibalism, war heroes, shipwrecks and literary greats with a guided walk. Phil Budd of Southampton Natural History Society will be giving a Wildlife and Plant Walk of Pear Tree Green.

Refreshments and short films will be available in the Church Hall. The films, produced as part of the 400-year anniversary, include The Sad Tale of Richard Parker – the Itchen Ferry Village lad caught up in cannibalism at sea.

To commemorate Jane Austen’s links with Pear Tree, the Jane Austen Hampshire Group are hosting an historic Regency Tea and a talk in the Church Hall (there is a charge for the Regency-style afternoon tea).

The celebration will be brought to a close with a rousing recreation of the village’s historic raucous annual procession, the Big Fisherman.

Saturday 18 September is set to be an eventful day of celebration for Pear Tree Church, recognising its importance in the community and far beyond. Full details are available at and on social media.

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