Holy Trinity - West Lulworth, Dorset
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 50° 37.578 W 002° 15.104
30U E 552925 N 5608536
Quick Description: Holy Trinity parish church was originally in the village centre, but was demolished in 1869 although the old churchyard still remains. The present church, built of local stone taken from the cove, replaced it.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/13/2015 3:26:25 PM
Waymark Code: WMNPF2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 0

Long Description:
"The old Norman Church, which stood on the north side of the main street, near the village stores, described as "very ancient, the smallest I ever saw" in 1791 by John O'Keefe, had originally one aisle, a low square tower, under which was the gallery, reached from the churchyard by an outside flight of stone steps and a small porch on the south side. In 1842 an extension was made, bringing the outside wall level with the porch and thus giving the Church a curiously lop-sided appearance.

In the gallery sat the choir with its flutes, violins, 'cello and double bass. Much of the music was written by local musicians, and many in the village remember hearing of the parts played by their grandparents.

By 1869 the old Church had become dilapidated and inadequate for the needs of the inhabitants of West Lulworth. It was very close to cottages on either side, and the Rev. William Gildea, curate of Winfrith and later a Canon (non resident) of Salisbury Cathedral, whose living it was, of an annual value of about £130, arranged for the building of the new Church and Vicarage on a far more convenient site.

The new Church of the Holy Trinity was built from the designs of Mr. John Hicks of Dorchester, but owing to his death, was carried out by Mr. R. G. Crickmay of Weymouth, the pulpit, font, prayer desk and other internal fittings being from his designs. Messrs. Wellspring & Son, of Dorchester, were the builders. The Dorset County Chronicle of Thursday, 12th May, 1870 states: "The style is Early Geometrical Gothic, and it is built of Purbeck stone, the carved, moulded and highly finished portions of the stonework generally are of Bath freestone. The material of the old Parish Church was used as much as possible. The letters on the moulding over the east window of the transept (behind the organ) stood over a sixteenth-century window in the north wall of the old Church, and read 'Robertus Lulleworth'" presumably the name of an ancient Lord of the Manor, after whom the village is named. "The rear arch springs from demi-angels bearing shields. In the chancel is an oak bench with carved framing and panels of the seventeenth century, which has been restored." (A photograph of a sketch of the old Church is in the vestry.)

The foundation stone was laid by Lady Selina Bond, wife of Nathaniel Bond. Esq., of Holme Priory, the fifth daughter of the Second Earl of Eldon. "The stone itself was found buried a foot or two underground in the old churchyard. It now supports four arches, and underneath it was placed a glass bottle containing a newspaper and one or two coins of the year". The brass plate can be seen behind the base of the lectern, and the inscription reads "This stone was laid by Lady Selina Bond, June 1st 1869, William Gildea, Vicar, William Randall, Thomas Randall, Jun.. Churchwardens".

The Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Salisbury, Dr. George Moberley, on 11th May, 1870, "In a fierce gale of wind accompanied by heavy rain", in the presence of twenty-five other clergy, the churchwardens and many parishioners and friends.

In his memorandum of November, 1879, the Rev. W. Gildea states: "The Communion Table is made of oak cut out of the beams of the old Church roof, which were much decayed except in the centre".

"Some of the wood in the reredos was wreck picked up at sea and still has trace of the paint of the vessel to which it belonged. The three panels of the reredos were painted by Miss Hicks, daughter of the architect."

The carved panels on either side of the oak reredos, come from Oberammergau. They are carved in deep relief in lime wood, and are the work of Hans Mayer, the son of Josef Mayer, who on three occasions, in the years 1870, 1880 and 1890, acted "Christus" in the Passion Play.

It was after a lecture on the Passion Play given in Lulworth in 1894, by Mr. Arthur Evans, that the villagers heard of the beautiful wood carving at Oberammergau and decided to start a fund to purchase some for the Church. The panels represent the Birth and Baptism of Jesus, the Crucifixion and the Supper at Emmaus. They were placed there in 1895.

The lectern stem and base contain woods from Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The eagle standing on its globe was executed by Messrs. Case, Strand, London.

The Rev. William Gildea was a keen amateur woodworker. Helped by Mr. Basil Sprague, who turned the wood pillars, capitals and bases, and by Mr. John Chaffey, he executed the altar, reredos woodwork, altar rails and the stem of the lectern.

The beautiful carving of the columns and corbels was done by Mr. Benjamin Grassby of Dorchester and was the gift of Mrs. Gildea. The capitals are of French Early Gothic foliage variety.

The illuminated texts over the arches of the Nave were painted by Mr. Thomas Randall of Hamboro’ Farm, who died a few weeks before completion of the work. Members of the Randall family were churchwardens for over 100 years. Mr. Matthew Randall had been chiefly instrumental in adding an aisle to the old Church, and took a great interest in the building of the new one. Mr. William Randall acted as churchwarden throughout the seventeen years of the Rev. W. Gildea's incumbency.

For several years before his death in 1981, Mr. P. J. Franklin , F.C.LO.B., gave generously of his time and expert knowledge; arranged for the complete redecoration of the church; and for the illuminated texts to be repainted by Mr. F. E. J. Chinchen of Lulworth Camp.

The first couple to be married in the new church, on 16th February, 1871, were James George Dorey, aged 23, and Maria Eliza Saunders, aged 24, grandparents of Mr. Walter Dorey, who is the last of the West Lulworth Doreys, a family whose names appear in the earliest registers from 1745. Unfortunately the older registers dating back to the sixteenth century were destroyed by fire.

The earliest mention of a curate is Sir Peter Rosse, 1553. Later names are: S. Haines, 1753; Benjamin Thomton, 1777; John Bale, 1789; Robert Goodrich, 1803; Franklin Tonkin, 1845; J. G. Fisher, 1847; Edward Dix Wood, 1850; Cornell P. West, 1852; Joseph Maskell, 1855; John Wynne, 1857; W. A. Bayley, 1861.

The continued list of Vicars is behind the Font.

The first, the Rev. William Gildea, was obviously a man of great character and many talents. His wife, five sons. and four daughters, together with his large staff at the Vicarage, centred village life around the Church. There is no doubt that he largely financed the building himself, with the aid of loans from Lord Eldon, the Rev. Eldon Bankes, and Nathaniel Bond, Esq.

The Rev. W. Percy Schuster and his family also had an outstanding influence, and provided the Church with most of its stained-glass windows and many essential adornments.

The Parish Church is now included in the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Date the Church was built, dedicated or cornerstone laid: 5/11/1870

Age of Church building determined by?: Other reliable source

Street address of Church:
Holy Trinity
West Lulworth, Dorset England

Primary website for Church or Historic Church Building: [Web Link]

If denomination of Church is not part of the name, please provide it here: Not listed

If Church is open to the public, please indicate hours: Not listed

If Church holds a weekly worship service and "all are welcome", please give the day of the week: Not listed

Indicate the time that the primary worship service is held. List only one: Not Listed

Secondary Website for Church or Historic Church Building: Not listed

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