693/1/25 HIGH STREET
22-DEC-1953 (North side)
PARISH CHURCH OF ST THOMAS THE APOSTLE
Parish church, a key element in Lymington High Street, the S wall to the High Street. C13 origins (archaeological evidence in E and W ends of church); c1325 chapel with c1500 roof; tower 1670; the rest of the church was thoroughly rebuilt in the C18 and C19 and refurbished and re-roofed in 1910-1911. 1931 sacristy; 1980-1981 church hall to the designs of Roger Pinckney, attached to N side of the nave. MATERIALS: Stone rubble. N, S and W walls are cement-rendered, limestone ashlar tower with lead-roofed cupola; tiled roofs. PLAN: Nave with N and S aisles with galleries; W end organ gallery and narthex, N transept. Chancel, SE tower at E end of S aisle; NE chapel; sacristy built on N face of N transept.
EXTERIOR: The chancel has diagonal buttresses with set-offs. 5-light C19 E window with Perpendicular style tracery with a transom in the head. The S side has a 3-light C19 Geometric Decorated window and a small 3-light segmental-headed window with Perpendicular style tracery. The N wall of the chancel has a very tall slit window. 2-stage tower with diagonal buttresses to the lower stage only. Moulded S doorway with C17 style round-headed panelled door. Above this the S face has a very tall square-headed 3-light window with uncusped lights. Square-headed mullioned belfry windows. The cornice below the embattled parapet is broken for 1907 clock faces. Timber arcaded cupola with lead dome and weathervane on octagonal base, in place by 1740 and possibly 1680s in origin. The S side of the church has tall 2-light windows of 1871 with Geometric Decorated tracery. Triple gable to W end, the narthex with a hammer-dressed stone plinth. 2-light windows to the N and S; 5-light W window. The N aisle render is blocked out. 3 2-light traceried windows of 1868. The N transept has a 3-light Decorated style window and 1931 sacristy with hipped roof built against it. The N chapel has angle buttresses and two tall C14 Decorated N windows, and an E window with intersecting tracery.
INTERIOR: The nave is predominantly classical in appearance. Unplastered walls at the E end reveal complex archaeology. The 1811 narthex has staircases to the N and S galleries. The original W wall (now internal)includes a C13 lancet window and a c1200 W respond with a base with spurs. The E end walls are stripped of plaster to reveal the evidence of tall, shafted blind arcading on the N and S chancel walls. C13 trefoil-headed piscina with short squat shafts in S wall of chancel. The NE chapel, built as a mortuary chapel by Hugh Courtenay, has a ceiled wagon roof of c1500, divided into panels by moulded ribs with rustic bosses at the intersections. Mid C13 N doorway in N transept, now leading to the 1931 sacristy. Remains of a medieval pier at the SE internal corner of the tower. The remainder of the visible fabric and features are C18 and later.
The dominant interior features are the galleries. The N and S galleries (1792 and 1811) are supported on two tiers of Tuscan columns which also function as arcades. The W gallery is supported on cast-iron columns. The gallery frontals are panelled and have dentil cornices. The S gallery has a plain barrel roof. The N gallery, which extends into the chancel, truncating the transept walls, has a canted plastered ceiling above two boxed-in tie beams. This gallery was reduced in length in 1927 to make the Courtenay chapel more legible. 1910-1911 plastered barrel vault to the nave, with transverse ribs and a cornice decorated with ornamental plasterwork. Similar roof to the chancel, but here the barrel is pointed. Flat ceilure over the sanctuary with a frame of decorated plaster and gilded cherub's heads. Font of 1873 with an octagonal stone bowl carved with trefoil-headed motifs, circular stem. An C18 baluster font has been preserved. Polygonal timber pulpit of 1911, designed by J Bevir; the base and steps are 1950. 1940s choir stalls with poppyhead ends; nave benches probably 1873 with square-headed ends with sunk panels. Numerous hatchments and wall monuments, including a Rysbrack bust commemorating Charles Colebourn, d1747, and a monument to Captain Josias Rogers, d1795, by Bacon Senr. Pevsner describes the relief figure of a woman as 'exquisite'. Brass eagle lectern. Stained glass includes an E window by the Hardman Company. Impressive and unusual C17 Flemish pictorial window re-sited in the N gallery. Royal Arms erected on W gallery in 1824 are probably an adaptation of C17 Royal Arms.
HISTORY: The church was originally built as a Chapel of the Priory of Christchurch.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Listed at II* for exceptional interest as a church preserving archaeological evidence of its C13 origins, a good early C14 chapel with c1500 roof; a C17 tower and 3 classical galleries of the late C18 and C19. The 1910-11 roofs are attractive. Many monuments.
SOURCES: Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1967, pp 324-325; Sanderson, H, The Parish Church of St Thomas Lymington, n.d.