See Southampton Heritage Guides – Sightseeing tours, tour guides and accessible tours

Holyrood Church

The Holyrood church was badly bombed in 1940 and its shell now remains as a memorial to the dead of the Merchant Navy.

The original 12th century church stood further out into the High Street. It was dismantled and moved back in 1320 to its present site. The Crusaders and men leaving for Crecy and Agincourt would all have prayed here before departing.

In 1554 Philip of Spain prayed here on route to Winchester Cathedral where he married Queen Mary. He also brought in the new custom of exchanging gold rings.

The date of the Quarter Jacks who strike every quarter of an hour is unknown but they were mentioned in 1760 and said to be already old.

Richard Taunton’s tomb is at the rear of the church. The nave has a gravestone to John Speed, descendent of the great Elizabethan map maker of the same name. The ten commandments are carved on the end wall and state that we should commit no murder rather than the more commonly used ‘Thou shalt not kill’.

Just inside the church you will find one of Southampton’s Titanic memorials. This one is the Titanic Memorial Fountain, which is dedicated to the firemen, stewards and crew from Southampton. It was paid for by the families and friends of the crew. The memorial was originally erected further North on Cemetery Road as a drinking fountain on 27th July 1915. It was moved to its current location in Holyrood Church on 15th April 1972 – the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

A metal audio post allows the visitor to press various buttons and listen to the recorded testimonies of a selection of local people alive at the time of the disaster.

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