Building » Wimborne – St Catherine

Wimborne – St Catherine

Lewens Lane, Wimborne, Dorset

A charming, toy-like church of 1933, looking stylistically more like a building of one hundred years earlier. 

The church was built by the Lockyer’s, a wealthy local Catholic family, replacing a temporary wooden church erected in 1926. Seating about 150, it was designed by P. A. Byrne of Poole with a view to later enlargement. The tower was built in 1936, but there were no further additions until the building of the parish hall in 1983 (architects Pantlin & Bradley)


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 bellcote. 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. Freestanding stone altar. 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.

Amended by AHP 23.01.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: P. A. Byrne

Original Date: 1933

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed