Tennyson's son, Hallam donated land for a new church in Freshwater Bay. Hallam's wife Audrey suggested that the church be named for St. Agnes. It is the only thatched church on the Isle of Wight. The stone used to build the Church came from an old and derelict farm house on Hooke Hill, Freshwater, and the date stone 1622 [sic] was incorporated into the vestry wall, thus rather misleading those who may think the Church belonged to the 17th century".
The church dates from 1869 to 1905 and was designed by the architect Thomas Hellyer. The Foundation stone was laid on Ascension Day 1867.
The church is medieval dating from the twelfth century. At this church the Revd Legh Richmond is thought to have originated the now globally popular idea of using boards with movable numbers to indicate hymn numbers during church services. The tower is of a very unusual style in that it is built on four piers at the entrance to the church. This is one of only four in examples in Britain. The tower contains a ring of 8 bells which the heaviest weighs 10.5cwt in the key of G. The oldest bell was made in 1594.
The original foundations for the church were laid in a flat, easily accessible site; each morning they were found transferred to the hill where the church exists today. Eventually the builders gave up building it in the planned flat location and built it on the hill.
The chancel of the church was built in 1854 and 1855 by the architect Albert Jenkins Humbert although Prince Albert is thought to have had a guiding hand. The remainder of the church was constructed in 1861 and 1862.
Wight Church Trail.
The Isle of Wight has more than its fair share of interesting and historic churches but because of its size – just 23 miles long and 13 miles wide – it can lay claim to having more per square mile than in most other parts of Britain, which means that enthusiasts can visit more of them on a short break.
Here is a link to Isle of Wight Churches.
Wight Church Network is an information exchange for Churches and Christians on the Isle of Wight and a central source of information for those who wish to find out more about the Church and her activities on the Island.
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