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St Boniface Parish Church &  Bonchurch Old Church

St Boniface Parish Church, The Shute

The church is a Grade ll listed building designed by the architect B Ferrey,1847-48. The design is a simple but quite large thin Norman style church. The stained glass is mostly by William Wailes but 2 saints in south transept are by Henry Holiday designed in discussion with Admiral Swinburne, 1878. Admiral Swinburne contributed a considerable sum for the construction of the church.

The foundation stone of the St Boniface Parish Church was laid June1847 by the Reverend William Adams and building was completed 18 months later at a cost of £3,000.

On the screen dividing the Rectors Stall from the nave is a memorial to Lord Admiral Earl Jellicoe of the Battle of Rutland who worshipped here.

The church has a pipe organ by Forster and Andrews dating from 1872. It is a two manual tracker organ. The organ casing was brought forward on a canopy above the console in the 1930s by Herbert Morris which hold the Great Open Diapason pipes.

Notable monuments in the graveyard are

LEESON FAMILY MAUSOLEUM IN CHURCHYARD, OF ST BONIFACE CHURCH Dated 1864, 1867, 1872. Egyptian style pylon mausoleum built into bank with pyramidal roof, ashlar.


Swinburne Family Tombs in Churchyard, of St Boniface Church SZ 5778 1/151 II 2. Group of 5 tomb slabs over vault including that of the poet Algernon Swinburne - 1909.

Bonchurch Old Church 

The present church was founded by monks from the abbey of Lyra in Normandy who had been granted the tithes of Luccombe and Bonchurch by William Fitz Osborne, Lord of the Island. However the dedication to a Saxon saint, St Boniface, who joined the Benedictine monastery at Nursling in Hampshire in 700 AD, later became Archbishop of Mainz and was martyred at Dokkum in North Holland in 755 AD, suggests there was a Saxon church on the same site. There is a legend that St Boniface preached here to fishermen on his missions from the Benedictine monastery. The parish of Bonchurch first occurs in Domesday Book as Bonecerce, a contraction of Boniface together with 'cerce' the Anglo Saxon for Church. The list of Rectors of Bonchurch starts in 1283. Charles I was brought here from his prison at Carisbrooke Castle to attend the burial of Sir Ralph Chamberlayne. The poet Swinburne was baptised here. This church ceased to be used as the parish church of Bonchurch in 1848 when the new church was consecrated. In an unmarked grave in the churchyard is buried the Chevalier D'Aux, leader of the French, killed in the 1545 attack on Bonchurch. John Sterling, the writer and poet (d. 1844) and William Adams, Church of England Clergyman and author (d. 1848) are also buried in the churchyard.


List of rectors of Bonchurch derived from Episcopal Archives in Winchester.

Whitehead, J L, The Undercliffe of the Isle of Wight, 1911.

Stacpoole, H de Vere, The Ancient Church of St Boniface, Bonchurch, Published by the Bonchurch Parochial Church Council. 1931. Re-published 1945.

Lloyd, David W. and Pevsner, Nikolaus, Buildings of England. Isle of Wight, Revised 2006. Ps 86-87. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entries for John Sterling and William Adams.

(With thanks to Historic England,

Information booklets and postcards are available to purchase in the Churches.

Donations are Welcome.



Church Services and Events in the Church 


Please check the notice board and the church Facebook page for current details of services @StBonifaceChurchIOW


The first Tuesday of every month there is a coffee morning from 10 -noon in the Parish Church (situated between the Pond and the Bonchurch Inn ),  There is lots of coffee, cakes and savouries and chat.  There is also a raffle, tombola bric a brac and a book stall.

These regular Tuesday events have been cancelled during lockdown.

Church Services


Please see the Full Events Calendar for times of special services.


There are regular Sunday Evening services held in the Old Church during the summer in addition to other occasional services e.g. at Christmas.


Church Facebook page 



Flower Festival


Is usually held in Bonchurch Parish Church every June. Please check the church website before travelling.


Stained Glass

The two stained glass windows by Henry Holland have recently been restored.


Henry Holiday (1839 – 1927) was a British historical genre and landscape painter, stained-glass designer, illustrator, and sculptor. He is part of the Pre-Raphaelite school of art.


In January 1874, Holiday was commissioned by Lewis Carroll to illustrate The Hunting of the Snark.

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Window 1.jpg
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