Find out how we're dealing with Covid-19
Read more

Historical Newspaper Articles

Relevant articles are reproduced with kind permission of The Isle of Wight County Press (IWCP)

Church Building Extraordinary (Hampshire Advertiser 30 June 1869)

Within fourteen days from the 1st July a new iron church will be erected on a piece of ground admirably situated for the purpose, and in a central situation in the new road, and it will be ready for service and completely fitted with pews, cushions, and everything necessary for comfort and decency within the time, and the visitors and inhabitants of the district will then have the opportunity of attending Devine Service on each returning Sabbath or other holy day, within a convenient distance of their residence and the old parish church being at an inconvenient distance, this will be a benefit which will be appreciated by all who wish to attend the services of the Church under the able officiating minister.

The Opening of a new church at Totland (Hants Telegraph 18 Sept 1869)

On Sunday next a new church is to be opened at Totland. The edifice is wood, and built to accommodate 170 persons. It has been about six weeks in building. Mr Henry Sanders is the builder.

A new church at Totland (IW Observer 25 Sept 1869)

There has lately been erected at Totland, on the estate of the Alum Bay Company, a temporary church, capable of containing 170 persons. This will be a very great accommodation indeed to the rapidly increasing population in the neighbourhood, who are practically debarred by the intervening distance of two or three miles from attending the service at the parish church. On Sunday the building was opened for Devine worship, the Rev William Sewell, MA, of Merton College Oxford, being the officiating clergyman.

Gift to Christ Church, Totland 1887

Mrs Anna Maria May presented Christ Church, Totland with a brass lectern in memory of her husband Henry William May who was a Barrister-at-Law, who it is believed owned the Alum Bay Estate and died in 1878, aged 34.

The Bishop of Winchester at Totland Bay (IWCP Saturday March 17 th 1906)

Dedication of a new aisle and Lych Gate at Christ Church

For some considerable time past the need has been felt for additional accommodation for worshippers at Christ church, Totland Bay, in order to meet the extra requirements during the summer season, when there is a large influx of visitors to this favourite Island resort. Towards the accomplishment of this object a fund was started, with the happy result that a substantial sum of money was raised to enable the more urgent part of the work to be proceeded with, and this portion of the scheme of enlargement has just been completed at a cost of over £1800.  The old transept on the south side of the church, which had been closed for a number of years owing to its insecurity, large fractures having developed after excavations in connection with the instalment of a system of heating, has been taken down, and in its place there has been constructed a very handsome new, south aisle of late 13th century English Gothic style, in keeping with the remaining portion of he church.  A feature of the work is the polished Heptonwood stone columns supporting the arcades, the shafts being monoliths.  These are very fine and given an almost realistic appearance of marble.  The black and white Mosaic flooring of the aisle and porch is another noteworthy feature.  Additional seating accommodation in provided for 120.  A conveniently arranged vestry is also provided.  Another important alteration is the erection of a western porch, with a gallery over, giving 30 additional sittings.  This porch is closed with handsome iron gates, excellently carried out from the architect’s designs by Mr Bundy, of the Lukely Ironworks, Carisbrooke.  The church has also been reheated on a new system by Messrs Parker, of Birmingham, under the architect’s superintendence, and has proved entirely satisfactory.  As has already been stated, this work marks the completion of the first portion of an extensive scheme for enlarging Christ Church from the designs of Mr Percy Stone, FSA, FRIBA, which embraces an additional aisle on the north side of the church, a lengthening eastwards of the chancel, and the erection of a tower at the north-west.

The new Lych Gate at Christ Church, Totland

In addition to the improvements outlined above, a lych gate of 15th century design has been placed at the north-west angle of the churchyard, forming a charming feature at the junction of the roads.  It is the gift of Mrs Burnett, of Bournemouth and Totland Bay, as a memorial to her late husband, Mr F W Burnett, who was one of he oldest residents of Totland Bay, and who died about 18 months ago.  The following is the inscription on the brass plate, which is placed on the inner beam: “To the glory of God and in dear memory of Frederic Wildman Burnett, at rest July 26th, 1904.  ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.’”  The lych gate is the admirable work of Mr King, of Blackwater, carried out from the design of the architects, and this and the iron gates certainly do credit to our Island craftsmen.  It may be added that a considerable portion of the oak used in the construction of the lych gate was taken from HMS Nettle.  It is of the 16th century period.  On one of the overhead beams at the entrance the Latin inscription “Ego sum resurrectio et vita” is cut in the solid wood.  Below are a pair of elegant little oak gates with quaint braces and foliated openings; inside of these are two oak seats with panelled backs.  The front gable is filled up by curved oak braces, supporting a collar beam, and outside of these are the the two curved barge boards, with billeted edges, on the tower ends of which – one on either side – are the angles of prayer and praise, beautifully carved in the solid oak.  A style of the oak panelling know as the old “linen” pattern, very little used hitherto for exterior decoration, has been adopted with good effect by the architect for each side of the entrances, and for the floor some old Isle of Wight octagonal tiles have been used.  The stonework and carving has been executed by Messrs Garrett and Haysom, the well known fir, of Eaststreet, Southampton, and the general work has been very satisfactorily carried out by Mr R D Medway, of Station Works, Freshwater.  Mr C Noble, of Bournemouth, was the clerk of the works, and his duties were discharged very capably.

Saturday last was a memorable day to Church people at Totland Bay, for on that day the new aisle and lych gate were dedicated by the Bishop of Winchester, the interesting and impressive service being attended by a large congregation.  The “naval” associations of the lych gate, coupled with the singular fact that Chief Officer Cooper and others of the local Coastguard had during their Naval career served on the old derelict Nettle, was the primary reasons for a contingent of the Totland Coastguard attending the dedication ceremony and forming a guard of honour.  In charge of their Chief Officer, the Coastguards lined either side of the main gateway, and as the Bishop, accompanied by his chaplain, passed through into the church his lordship was saluted.  The Bishop was received at the church by the clergy, churchwardens, and surpliced choir, who afterwards marched in procession up the nave, the choir leading.  Next came the clergy, the Rural Dean of West Wight (Canon Clement Smith, MVO), and the Revs C T Wilson (vicar of Totland Bay), A J Robertson (rector of Freshwater), H F Speed (rector of Yarmouth), E W Silver (rector of Brighstone), J E Parsons, and Spencer Nairne, the last named being with the choir, of which he is the talented director.  Then followed the churchwardens (Capt H E Pennethorne, RA, and Mr S E P Weatherhead), who immediately preceded the Bishop and his chaplain (the Rev M H Fitzgerald).  The Vicar of Newport (the Rev H Edmund Sharpe) was amongst the congregation.  The usual order of service followed, the Bishop being assisted therein by he Vicar, Canon Clement Smith, and the Rev J E Parsons.  The special Psalms were changed, ant the hymns were “Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire” (the congregation kneeling), “Blessed City, heavenly Salom”, and “The Church’s one foundation,” he last being sung immediately before the sermon.

The Bishop’s discourse was based on the words “They go from strength to strength” (Psalm lxxxiv.7).  That, remarked his lordship, was a good text and a suitable motto for such an occasion as that – a day which marked progress, a step forward “from strength to strength” in the history of that church.  They dedicated that day to Almighty God that additional portion of their church at Totland Bay.  They dedicated it to the service of God, that it might be used for prayer, for the confession of their sins, for praise and thanksgiving, not only by the people of Totland Bay, but by the visitors who were attracted to the place by its many beauties.  He knew well that there had been for many years past a desire to obtain for that church the increased accommodation they had now provided.  The work upon which the hearts of many had been set for so long was now happily completed, and as the result of those laudable efforts they then most joyfully and thankfully dedicated that place to the service of Almighty God.  As Bishop of the diocese, he would take the opportunity of tendering his sincere thanks, and the thanks of the diocese, to those who were responsible for the improvement that had been carried out.  A work of that kind often had to be carried out amid anxiety, and hesitation, and doubt as to whether it was the right thing to do at a particular time; but the counsels of those who had desired that the work should be done at that time had prevailed, and they might thank God that it had been done.  If there had been doubt and hesitation, that time had passed, and they could now look with pleasure and thankfulness for the use they were going to make of that important addition to their church.  He desired to tender his thanks to the clergy of that place and to all those who had supported and helped in the work, not only by their contributions, but in other ways, for he knew it had meant perseverance on the part of all who had assisted.  His lordship proceeded to refer to the advantages that would now be derived by visitors to that beautiful spot in search of rest and for the recuperation of their powers of body and mind by that enlargement of the church, where the accommodation for worship in what was called the season must have hitherto been strained to the utmost.  In that respect they should see that in their parishes they were endeavouring to do their duty in the service of Jesus Christ, and that there should be no stilting of the means of grace.  The work that had been done at that church was on the same lines and principle as that done by our forefathers in the early centuries, except that instead of depending upon the liberality and generosity of a few rich barons and princes who owned the land, they now had thousands who were prepared to give of their generosity towards the church.  In that way the churches, like that one at Totland Bay, had been erected, and it was by liberality of that kind which came from many that they were enabled to carry out the enlargement of that church.  They prayed that the liberality which had been shown towards that Church from olden times would continue to grow from strength to strength.  In conclusion, the Bishop urged them not be ashamed of their position as followers of the Lord and as His servants of the Church, but to thank God and praise Him that they should be connected with that Church which, from the days of the Apostles, had handed down from generation to generation the teaching of Him whose strength and power they believed they were certain to obtain through His holy Sacraments.  The hymn “O Lord of heaven, and earth, and sea,” was then sung and the offertory taken, after which the Bishop pronounced the Benediction.  Mr U H Morey ably presided at the organ.  Accompanied by the clergy and choir, the Bishop then proceeded outside the church and dedicated by lych gate.  At the close of the service the Bishop asked for the Chief Officer of the Coastguard, and, shaking hands with Mr Cooper, his lordship said he was very glad of the Coastguard’s presence.  He understood there was a special link between that lych gate and the Coastguard, and he hoped it would be and enduring one.  He asked Chief Officer Cooper to convey to the other members of the Coastguard his thanks for their attendance.

The statement of the building account, copies of which were placed in he pews, showed that the total expense incurred was £1801 3s 9d, made up as follows:  Amount of contract, £1530 3s; architect’s and clerk of works’ fees and expenses, £154 7s 9d; sundry expenses, £38 13s; cost of extra work (alterations and improvements), £85.  To meet this outlay donations had been received amounting to £1503 12s 7d, £30 was due from the Winchester Diocesan Society, £120 was due from the repair fund, and a sum of £154 11s 2d was the estimated amount required to complete the payment accounts, for which the committee made an earnest appeal.


Death of the Founder and Benefactor of Christ Church, Totland Bay (IWCP 29 March 1890)

Death of the Rev Christopher Bowen

The intelligence of the Rev. Christopher Bowen’s death at Bordighore, Italy, where he had been staying for the benefit of Mrs. Bowen’s health, has cast a great gloom over this place, with which he had been connected for a period of thirty years. Whilst rector of St. Thomas’s Winchester, from 1853 to 1859, he built for himself a charming residence here, ” Heatherwood“, (Church Hill, Totland.) and on his retirement from his living at Winchester he made this his permanent abode. He was one of the oldest clergymen of the Established Church and father of the Right Hon. Lord Justice Bowen and of Edward Bowen, the talented Master at Harrow. He was born in 1801 and was one of the oldest graduates of Trinity College, Dublin, having taken his Batchelor’s degree there in 1824. He held the curacy of the Abbey Church, Bath and incumbencies of St. Mary Magdalen, Southwark and as before stated of St. Thomas’s, Winchester. He married Catherine Emily, daughter of Sir Richard Steele of Carriglon. Through his instrumentality a temporary church was erected at Totland Bay, in which he conducted the service for many years as a labour of love, until Christ Church was completed, towards which he contributed liberally. He was also instrumental in providing a large portion of the funds required for its endowment. Until the very last he assisted in the services, reading most distinctly and impressively and took increasing interest in the schools, often addressing the children in his usual genial and attractive manner, while every public object for the welfare of Totland Bay received his warm support and sound advice and to the last he was as vigorous as most young men. His friendship with Lord Tennyson and the late Dr. Ward, who were his near neighbours, was always warmly alluded to as one of the refreshing spots in his country life, separated as he was by distance from many of his old friends of earlier days.

A Talk by Rev K N Branden given at Christ Church, Totland following the death of its founder the Rev Christopher Bowen  (IWCP 29 March 1890)

On Sunday last the Rev K N Brandon, preaching at Christ Church, Totland Bay, said:- Doubtless our thoughts are continually reverting to the intelligence which has reached us this morning of a well known friend being called from our midst ” to enter into the joy of his Lord”. We all feel that we have lost a friend. To him this neighbourhood owes a debt of gratitude. This ecclesiastical district owes its existence to his perseverance and energy. This church, I believe I am correct in saying, under God, was founded by him, and that by his care, and energy and wise  forethought the patronage is placed in such hands as will ensure that the pure and simple Gospel as taught in the Articles and Liturgy of the Church of England shall for all time echo from this pulpit. A well known form has vanished from our sight. I am not going to pass any  exaggerated eulogy on our departed friend, but to admire “the grace of God in him”. I do not profess to tell you anything you do not know, you have all known him so much longer than I have done that you could instruct me on this point; yet I must be permitted to say that I valued muchhis consistent Christian walk, his deep humility of spirit, his calm and wise judgement, his devout and reverent rendering of the services of this sanctuary, his faithful preaching of the truth as it is in Jesus. His voice will be heard no more within these walls, but as long as this church remains it will eloquently proclaim that ” he being dead, yet speaketh”. Doubtless he has received his Lord’s joyful welcome, as he joined the company of the just made perfect, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord”. It is a mysterious providence that just as we were hoping to welcome our friend top his earthly home, he should be summoned to his eternal rest, not in the place where he had prepared for his body to be laid in your midst (for he loved this spot dearly) but in a strange land ” he is gathered into the heavenly garner as a shock of corn fully ripe.” May I in conclusion ask your prayers and sympathy for his bereaved partner in a distant land, that God may comfort her in this her hour of need. May Hegive her that solace which he alone can impart – that she might travel the remainder of her earthly journey leaning on the arm of the One who is mighty to save – and be enabled in deep submission and heartfelt resignation to say, ” He hath done all things well”.

The Rev R Blathwayt, who has just returned from the West of England, will preach a special sermon at the service tomorrow (Sunday) morning.

Gifts to Church Consecrated (IWCP 29 June 1957)

The new altar and furnishings presented to Christ Church by Miss Lillian Hill were consecrated by the Rt Rev R P Crabbe (vicar of Ventnor) at a service on Friday week. Two electric lights to illuminate the altar have been presented by Mr and Mrs F A McClean.

Post Publication Note: The altar bears the inscription “To the Glory of God” and bears the initials “HSM” on the north side.