The Story of Christ Church, Totland Bay, Isle of Wight 1875 -1975

An extract from the Centenary Booklet by Jack Wheeler published in 1976


The Resort of Totland Bay

This delightful resort does not share the antiquity of neighbouring Yarmouth nor of nearby Freshwater which lost some of its acres in 1875 to form the parish of Totland Bay, but it is justly proud of its lovely setting and the splendours of its sunsets that leave a lasting impression on the beholder.  The place took its name from the bay it overlooks, spelling it in various ways since the early 17th century.  In “The Place Names of the Isle of Wight” by Helge Kokeritz we find the following alternatives – “Totland (1608); Totland Bay (1720); Totland Chine (1751); Tollands Bay (1852);” whilst the latter example also occurs in White’s “History, Gazatteer and Directory of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight” (1859).

The Parish of Totland Bay – How it all Began

The parish of Totland Bay was formed in 1875 out of the parish of Freshwater and includes the famous Needles Rocks and Lighthouse.  That the legal formalities were carried through satisfactorily was mainly due to the Revd Christopher Bowen, MA, a resident who most generously gave the land necessary for the church, churchyard, vicarage house and school.  To him and his friends we are also indebted for “their energy and patient efforts” in connection with “the building and consecration” of the church.  In recent years the vicars of Totland Bay have also acted as honorary chaplains to the keepers of the lighthouse.