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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of the Isle of Wight

by Peter Kessler, 21 March 2020

Isle of Wight Part 2: Churches of Freshwater to Newtown

Church of St Agnes, Freshwater, Isle of Wight

The Church of St Agnes, Freshwater, is on the south-western side of Gate Lane, overlooking the Blackbridge Road. It was built in 1908 to a design by the then-fifty-eight year-old architect Isaac Jones, who died on 25 November 1917. The land in Freshwater Bay was donated by Hallam Tennyson, who lived at nearby Farringford, second baron of that name and son of the famous Alfred Tennyson. Hallam's wife, Audrey, suggested that the church be named for St Agnes.

Church of St Agnes, Freshwater, Isle of Wight

With a wooden bell-turret surmounted by a small, tiled rood, the church was consecrated 12 August 1908, and it remains the only thatched church on the Isle of Wight. The stone used to build it came from an old, derelict farmhouse on Hooke Hill, Freshwater, and the farmhouse date stone, showing 1622, was incorporated into the vestry wall to mislead anyone who may think it is older than it claims. Inside the walls are rough and the roof has braced tie-beams.

St James Church, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

St James Church, Yarmouth, is on the eastern side of St James' Street, about twenty-five metres south of St James' Square. Local tradition states that the town's first church was located in what is now the old churchyard at the east end of the High Street. This was destroyed during a French raid in 1377. The present church replaced it only to be ruined in 1543. Rebuilt at the start of the 1600s, it was consecrated in 1626. The chancel was lengthened by 3.7 metres in 1889.

Church of the Holy Spirit, Newtown, Isle of Wight

The Church of the Holy Spirit, Newtown, can be found occupying the north-eastern inside of the dog-leg in Town Lane. A medieval chapel once stood on this site, built during the reign of Henry III. Its fate is unknown, but the Reformation claimed a good many once-Catholic chapels. The present building was erected in 1835 by the architect, A F Livesay (also responsible for carrying out work on All Saints, Calbourne - see links), supposedly over the ruins of the medieval chapel.

All photos on this page kindly contributed by Douglas Law via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information by Douglas Law, and from The Gentleman's Magazine Vol X Jul-Dec 1838, Sylvanus Urban.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.