| ©2008/9 St Blasius Old Parish Church, Shanklin
Visit Main Site
St. Blasius Old Parish Church
Shanklin, Isle of Wight
The Church from outside
The octagonal, shingled spire houses one of the two bells of the church, and was constructed as part of the mid-
Looking at the building from the outside, traces of the original chapel can still be found by the diligent. The masonry of a single light window on the South side, to the right of the present porch, is 12th century and there are traces of a chevron ornament at the foot of each jamb.
The flints embedded in the wall surrounding the chancel are local, from the Downs, and were part of the original chapel.
The church in its grounds
In personal Reminiscences by an Old Inhabitant we read, "The high road to Bonchurch was round by Shop Lane, now called Pomona Road, up the farm lane through the farmyard at the West end of the Old Church..."
"The only direct approaches to the church were two footpaths across the Great Mead, one from the corner opposite Holm Cottage, the other entering by a wicket gate about halfway up the farm lane. There being no burying-
In Village Churches of the Isle of Wight, Ron and Pat Winter write, "Before the coming of the motor car and the development of the Isle of Wight to its present busy level, the site of this old church must have been serenely peaceful. Even today with cars whizzing along the road from Shanklin to Ventnor, and the occasional aircraft buzzing overhead, the place is tranquil and relaxing. A hundred years ago with no mechanical noises to intrude, the peace must have been complete."
In its position close to the Manor (now apartments), by Big Mead, the old Manor grounds and the duck-
The churchyard's air of antiquity is a little misleading as, apart from the Manorial families, the burials took place between the 1850s and the 1920s.
The first found in the records was:
"J G L Burbidge, second son of James Ive and Eilleen Burbidge of Arundel Terrace, Bainsbury died 26th July 1859 aged 17."
and the last was:
"Sybil Mona, a Holden of Bramscote, wife of F. Burgess Watson RN and mother of Elizabeth Mary and Anne, born 17 Nov. 1887, m 29 Dec 1909, d 23 May 1926."
However, Margaret White-
All the burials are to the right of the path, which leads past the church to the Downs, to the North, East and West of the building. To the South, in addition to the rhododendrons and the memorial plantings, is a Garden of Remembrance in which ashes may be buried. The area is marked with a small, flat memorial slab.
This garden was dedicated in 1977, and families and friends may plant a variety of bushes, trees or flowers in the flowerbeds bordering the path in memory of those whose ashes are buried in the garden.
Most visitors will approach the church through the lych-
When the huge bank of rhododendrons to the South East of the church is in full flower, the sight is unforgettable. These, in seven colours, were planted in 1923. They flourished and grew so that in the twenty first century they continue to provide a brilliant area of colour in May and June.
The churchyard as a whole is a wonderful place in which to remember the departed, among the squirrels, rabbits, snowdrops and daffodils. For the bereaved or for the users of the footpath to the Downs (through the lych-