is one one of the islands favourite tourist attractions with some delightful
cottage that are scattered along the road and has as a background all that
is left of its long lost priory, the largest old church on the island which
is most 15th century. A pillar of a cross which is 700 years old with a
sundial is a suitable partner for the porch.
O top of
the porch gable there sits a square head with its teeth bared and eyes
glaring that seems to guard the studded door which has managed to retain its
wooden lock and an original iron hinge. The church has a roof of black
inside and there are estimated to be over a half of mile of wooden timbers.
in the chancel are deemed remarkable for they go back into Tudor times and
her can be found Sir James Worsley who family arrived on the island at the
time of William the Conqueror. One member of this family went on the
crusades and was buried on the island of Rhodes. Sir James though preferred
to stay on the island and was brought up as a page to Henry VII and his
playmate was the boy who later grew up to be Henry VIII. This friendship let
to honours being bestowed on him and he was made a Master of the Robes when
he organised a glittering pageant of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In the
church today Sir James is seen with his wife kneeling beneath a canopy on
which there are three young boys holding shields while above hangs a
mediaeval tilting helm, which was worn in tournaments and was probably the
helmet of Sir James himself.
pageant that Sir James organised was the said to be the most brilliant array
of nobles the world had ever seen and nearly 6,000 people and 3,000 horses
too part in the great procession across the English Channel. A special
palace that was over 320 square feet was built especially for them and over
800 tents were erected on the field.
historian described the tomb of Sir John and Dame Agnes Leigh as the fairest
tomb in our island. It is carved in alabaster by Chellaston craftsmen and
Dame Agnes can be seen in a tight fitting gown and a long cloak that has
heraldic embroidery. Angels are show supporting a cushion on which rests her
head. Sir Johns head rests on a tilting helmet and he is dressed in armour
with his feet resting on a boar as do his wife's.
two other 18th century Worsley's depicted on a wall monument in the north
transept though these are only busts, and are figures of Faith and Hope.
There is also a large cenotaph which the locals know affectionately as the
'Bath' that was erected 130 years ago in commemoration of Sir Richard
which is itself ancient has a cover which is 200 years old and there is a
beautiful chair with strap work that dates back to Elizabethan times. An
alms dish from the 18th century, a chest from the the 17th and the altar
table and rails are Jacobean. The chancel has two 17th century stools.
a wall painting that is around 500 years old and was discovered under
numerous coats of paint and whitewash on the walls of the south transept and
it depicts Christ nailed to a tree and there are three branches which have
willow like leaves, the form of the tree is known as the Budding Cross.
transept has a beautiful cradled rood which has faces on the wooden bosses,
two of which wear golden crowns. The stone corbel include a dogs head
clutching a padlock in its teeth. The north walls has an oil painting of
Daniel with the lions and a Madonna painted by Tiorelli hangs in the
and Child is also depicted in one of the east windows, and also St Michael,
St Gabriel dress in robes of green, purple and blue. In the nave is a window
that also has a Madonna and a woman who is looking at her from a garden.
There is a lovely Crucifixion scene in another east window and a
processional cross that was made by an Italian around 600 years ago.
the porch there sleeps Richard Gard who during the 17th century was not
loved for he is described thus: 'as crafty a knave as any, a
penurious base fellow of little religion.'
story says that he is buried only just beneath the stone so that he would
not fail to hear the Resurrection trumpet!!
another stone that covers the grave of Bartholomew Jacobs which is inscribed
by this rhyme from the 18th century:
Man is the seed. God is the sower;
Man is the grass. Death is the mower.
down are green creatures that seem to be creeping round the battlements of
the church and on the 13th century cross in the churchyard there is a
Appuldurcombe House is the roofless shell of a mansion built in 1710,
abandoned in 1909, and damaged by a landmine in 1943. It is now one of the
sites in charge of the Ministry of Public Building and Works.
Text courtesy of:
Southern Life (UK)