Wimbourne - St Catherine

Lewens Lane, Wimborne, Dorset

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A curious toy-like church looking stylistically more like a building of one hundred years earlier. It is of some architectural interest but probably not of sufficient interest to be listed.

The church was built by the Lockyer’s, a wealthy local Catholic family, replacing a temporary wooden church erected in 1926.

A cruciform church with a west tower built of small rock-faced blocks of Purbeck stone with ashlar dressings and tiled roofs. The small scale, especially of the tower, give the somewhat endearing appearance of a toy church. The style is Gothic of around 1300 but handled in more of a Georgian Gothick manner. The Pevsner entry reads ‘Completed 1933, the tower 1936 – incredibile dictu. At first glance one guesses 1833 or 1836’. The windows have Y-tracery to the nave, two on the north side and three on the south side. Two more to the south transept and one on the south side of the sanctuary. Otherwise the sanctuary has rather stumpy single lancets. The east wall is blind but has a corbelled bell cote. The slender square tower has battlements and single lancet bell-openings. The large hall stands north of the church, coming off the full width of the north transept.

 

The tower forms an open porch to the north, turning through 90 degrees to the west entrance. The interior maintains the slightly naïve toy-like character with crude pilasters supporting boxed in arched trusses, intersecting diagonally at the crossing. The sanctuary has a blind pointed arch on the east wall and matching pointed doorways to the sacristy on either side. Stepped stone wall, originally for the altar, retaining a shelf for the tabernacle. Free standing stone altar table. The stubs of the original stone altar rails remain and the sanctuary has dado panelling with minimal Gothic detailing. Octagonal stone font, now standing at the northeast corner of the nave. The transepts are of shallow depth and have niches with statues in their east walls. Stone altar table in the south transept. The south transept also has the single stained glass window. The north transept has a folding screen, which opens into the 1983 extension and hall. On the north side of the nave the confessionals have a canted timber projection. In the southwest corner of the nave a statue of carved stone stands on a shelf.

Diocese: Plymouth

Architect: P. A. Byrne (church & tower), Pantlin & Bradley (church hall)

Original Date: 1933

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: tower 1936, church hall 1983

Listed Grade: Not listed