Thursday, 4 August 2011

Bonchurch - Isle of Wight

17th Century inscription
© Godric Godricson
 I wanted to say something about the Old Church in the smallest village on the Isle of Wight (Bonchurch) before returning to East Anglia. The link will tell you of the size of the Church which is truly tiny. The dedication of the Church to Saint Boniface indicates that this is a very ancient Church with few dedications to this Saint in the UK and very few (if any) of recent date.

18th Century porch
© Godric Godricson

From the South side
© Godric Godricson
 The Church has a location on the side of a hill as the landscape slips into the sea. The Church is shrouded in ancient trees left alone by the Victorians who built a larger Church up the hill where the land better suited a bigger Church. However, the older Church was allowed to remain and it still has Episcopalian services through the year. The churchyard is a jewel to visit and very few people do that. On the day that I visited there were very few people there and that is the best way to experience the churchyard and the Church itself. There is a small stream that flows on the other side of the church yard and the sound of this stream heading down the hillside is wonderful. It is clear that Saint Boniface saw the potential of this site and founded the Church accordingly.

The Churchyard probably starts in the period of Saint Boniface and we can see monuments from the 17th Century until the 19th Century. Chest tombs sit side by side with broken monuments and dark, rich moss carpets the ground. The land slopes gently away and we can see how the site fits in with a secluded spot on a hillside that fitted so well with the ancient monastic ideal.

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