of St. Mary Bourne includes the larger village
of that name (population c. 1000), the smaller
village of Stoke (population c.170) and the hamlets
of Binley, Dunley, Egbury, Upper, Middle and Lower-Wyke
(pronounced "Wick" or "Week")
and Wadwick. The old hamlet of Swampton has now
been incorporated into St. Mary Bourne, as has
the area known as Link, which stretches from the
main village south to the viaduct. In the past,
our parent church was Hurstbourne Priors (21/4
miles south and mentioned in the Domesday Book).
St Peter's was built as its chapel of ease - for
the convenience of inhabitants of St Mary Bourne.
Now this parish is joined with that of Woodcott,
some 4 miles in the direction of Newbury, and
back again with Hurstbourne Priors and its southern
neighbour, Longparish. There are rival theories
why St Mary Bourne is so called: its main feature
is the seasonal stream, the Bourne Rivulet (a
tributary of the River Test), and under the old
calendar it may well have risen on St Mary's Day
(2nd February). Another theory is that the church
was originally dedicated to St Mary - but why,
then was it changed to St Peter?