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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST EDMUND
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
Wootton Bridge
National Grid Reference:
SZ 54138 92646



II* Early C12 nave, C13 chancel, replacement bellcote added in 1884, N chapel c1892.

Materials: Coursed rubble with ashlar dressings; tile roof.

Plan: Small church: nave to W with W bellcote, chancel to E, N chapel. NW late C20 kitchen addition. W organ loft internally with vestry below.

Exterior: S elevation: rubble nave and chancel with evidence for change in stonework at the junction of the two, all under continuous pitched tile roof. Impressive very early C12 high quality Norman S door with scalloped shafts, chevron decoration to the arch and billets to the hood. Heavy plank door with decorative iron hinges. Two-light C14 window with cusped heads also square-headed two-light C15 window with label. Re-used carved stone under latter. Two C13 lancets to chancel. Stepped stone angled buttresses to E end. Mass dial with remnant of gnomon at SE corner. E elevation: large three-light E window of C14. Small square opening, possibly a leper's squint but very low in the wall. Attached handsome memorial to Alexander Leigh Smith in Norman revival style with its triple Romanesque arches apeing the S door with zig-zag decoration. Central niche houses urn, flanking niches, the inscription largely illegible. N elevation: two lancets to chancel as before. Further small square window high in the wall to light former rood stair. N doorway with simple arch surround and small pointed arched window to its W. Gabled N chapel with buttresses, stone banding and Gothic Revival lancets. Lean-to kitchen extension of 1983 not of special interest. Square-headed window to vestry. W elevation: Two-light W window below Victorian bellcote at the gable housing a single bell.

Interior: Piscina by S door. Round arched opening to former opposing N door. Interior of four bays divided by massive tie beams supported by the wall plate except for the rood beam, on carved stone corbels. Above the rood beam, a carved beam which is presumably part of the former rood loft. Nave roof of common rafter trusses with soulace bracing to collars. Barrel roof to chancel with painted decoration signifying Christ and St Edmund, of early C20 date. Windows and N door in deep reveals. Aumbry in N wall to E of chapel. Responds to pointed chapel arch are of Transitional drum form with scalloped capitals; that to the E incorporates a holy water stoop.

Principal Fixtures: Carved Jacobean pulpit with back panel and tester. Font probably also early C17 although on a later base: elegant stone bowl of carved leaves supported on a vase baluster stem. Royal Coat of Arms on S wall of chapel of c1818. Panelled vestry screen originally from St Andrew's Church, Freshwater, inserted in 1983. Coade stone monument to Mary Rochfort d 1809 by Coade and Sealy. Inscription, panel of female figure and urn, decorated with cherubs to the head and foot. Accomplished carved figure of Christ on the rood beam, 1975 by Jack Whitehead in memory of Roy Cartwright, Reader. Stained glass in E window 1894 by C E Kempe. Other glass Victorian or early C20. Chancel N St Edmund window of 1912. Late Victorian choir stalls with fleur-de-lys ends. Remnant of earlier box pews at W end.

History: The manor of Wootton was held by Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor at the time of the Domesday Book (1086) but no church is mentioned. The first recorded rector of the parish is Edmund de Lisle in 1283 but the church certainly predates this. The date of construction is the subject of debate. In the C17 Sir John Oglander wrote in the Oglander Memoirs that Walter de Insula (the family name later became De Lisle or Lisle) built the church in 1087 and claimed to have seen an ancient document that recorded this. (Oglander was related to the Lisle family so this is possible.) Other sources credit a different Walter de Insula who died in c1224 as the builder of the church. It is referred to in the Carisbrooke Cartulary of 1214 AD in relation to this man receiving tithes from Chillerton and paying a pension to the church at Carisbrooke. However, it is also mentioned in a late C12 document: The Christchurch Cartulary of 1194 records that `The chapel of Wootton has paid to the church of Christ at Twynham a pension of ¾ from time immemorial for a place called Cherliertone (Chillerton) in the Isle of Wight. We have had this tithe since before the confirmation of St Thomas the Martyr [1170AD] and before the introduction of Canons Regular [1150AD].' This suggests a construction date pre-1150. A date some time in the early C12 century would be correct on stylistic grounds as the mouldings to the south door are indicative of the influence of the First Crusade (c1096-1099).

The church was extended to the east with the addition of the chancel in the C13. The chantry chapel (dedicated to St Edmund) has responds of Transitional (late C12) form although a late C13 date has also been suggested given the first recorded chantry priest was Robert John Wyscard in 1305 and in the same year the chantry is recorded in the return of Island livings. It was dissolved in 1536, demolished and the gap in the north wall infilled. There is a tradition, but no firm evidence, that the church and manor at Wootton were burnt during French raids on the coast during the Hundred Years War (1337-1456). If so, then Gazey suggests the medieval roofs may post-date this occurrence. Windows were inserted in the C14 and a further window and rood loft are C15 additions.

A late C18 illustration and a mid C19 photograph held by the Wootton Bridge Historical Society show the church with its earlier bell turret on the ridge. This appears to have been a square boarded turret with pyramidal tile roof. It was replaced by the current bellcote in 1884, donated by Rear Admiral Denison and designed by Thomas Chatfeild Clarke. The mid C19 photograph also shows the roof with several rows of stone tiles at the eaves. The interior has experienced several phases of remodelling including an inserted ceiling shown on a late C18 drawing (removed in the early C20), the addition of a musician's gallery in 1859 (demolished in 1892), a Caen Stone reredos also by Thomas Chatfeild Clarke of 1890 (now part demolished), and the construction of a vestry, now the north chapel, on the site of the chantry chapel in c1892. The west organ loft and vestry date to 1983, at which time the former north vestry was opened up as a side chapel.

Sources: Gazey, D, Church and Parish - St Edmund's Church and the Parish of Wootton 1087-2002 AD (2002), St Edmund's Church Building Trust report

Gazey, D, St Edmund's Church History & Guide (2006). St Edmund's Church Building Trust publication

Pevsner, N & Lloyd, D, Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (1967), p775

British History on-line entry for St Edmund [accessed 25 Aug 2010]

Old images/photographs of St Edmund's Church at [accessed 25 Jun 2010]

Reason for Designation: St Edmund's Church, Wootton Bridge is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Early date and intactness: A nave of probable early C12 date with a chancel added in the C13. It retains much of its very early fabric and is therefore a rare survival nationally; * South Doorway: A Norman doorway of high quality with scalloped shafts, chevron decoration to the arch and billets to the hood.


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 16 Apr 2005
Reference: IOE01/12356/25
Rights: Copyright IoE Dr Barry Senior. Source Historic England Archive
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