The little church is built on raised ground within sight of its sponsor's mansion house and some distance from the village. It was built in 1776 to replace a medieval predecessor on the same site. The style is Georgian Gothic and it was erected for James Frampton, who had completed his house in 1774. The design is exciting and the whole is a bright and cheerful place, even on a wet and dismal day.
A north aisle was added in 1841 and the west porch followed in 1848. The gaily painted font, placed in the centre of the rib-vaulted nave, was made in 1845. Unfortunately, the pulpit and benches had to wait until 1850 and their design reflects a later and more ponderous Victorian approach. There are splendid candelabra, both hanging from the ceiling and reaching up from the pews, which also have an intriguing leaf decoration. The reredos and Communion Table are elaborate and brightly painted.
In May 1940, a stray German bomb demolished the apse and smashed every window in the building. Much later, in 1955 after the structure had long been repaired, the brilliantly inspired decision was taken to instruct Sir Lawrence Whistler to create engraved glass windows, initially just for the apse. However, over a period of thirty years, all the windows would receive Whistler engravings, making this church unique in the world. Unlike stained glass, engravings let light stream into the building, thus almost magically allowing the inside to resonate with the outside setting.
The graveyard is some distance south of the church, but well worth a visit. There is a very smart lych-gate, which was once part of the entrance to the kitchen gardens of Moreton House. It consists of a magnificent roof supported on four white-painted wooden Ionic columns. Inside, it is recorded that Captain John Hulton erected the oblisk on the hill to the south in memory of his friend James Frampton in 1781. Perhaps the most important remains are those of T E Lawrence, better known as 'Lawrence of Arabia', who lies in a simple grave almost at the extremity of the graveyard. There is a superb effigy of Lawrence in St Martins church in Wareham. (See also Wikipedia - click here)
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©