IT WOULD be easy to drive straight past Stopham and fail to notice the tiny parish.
But pause for a short walk through the picturesque churchyard and adjacent vineyard, and you will discover centuries of history.
Nestled away from the busting towns and shrouded in tranquillity, the village is home to only a small handful of people.
Stopham – ‘the home of Stoppa’ – is steeped in thousands of years of ancient tales, much of it now told through Sir Brian Barttelot, whose family plays a large part in the area’s history.
Stopham boasts its own vineyard, where it produced Stopham Estate Wine.
Sir Brian is now inviting people along to help raise the money needed to restore one of the windows in St Mary the Virgin Church, in order to retain the magnificent splendour of the building – so that people for generations to come can enjoy it and hear the stories passed down through the centuries.
To round off the month, villagers are hosting a fundraising wine festival.
Anyone is welcome to go along the event, on August 29 and August 30, from 11am-6pm.
For the £5 entrance fee, visitors can enjoy guided tours and a tractor ride around the farm, village and vineyard, and learn how the Stopham Estate wine is made.
There will be refreshments and tastes of the wine, and children can go for free.
The festival will replace the village’s annual flower show.
For the full feature on Stopham’s ancient church, see this week’s Observer (August 28).