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“Old Church”

Reviewed June 6, 2013

The Church has a wonderful atmosphere and displays how buildings like these were constructed by hand and still stands to this day

1  Thank Jonathan N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"steeped in history"
in 3 reviews
"quiet spot"
in 2 reviews
"well worth a visit"
in 4 reviews
"st boniface"
in 4 reviews
"century"
in 5 reviews
"simplicity"
in 3 reviews
"gravestones"
in 3 reviews
"postcards"
in 3 reviews
"booklet"
in 3 reviews
"ventnor"
in 9 reviews
"dating"
in 2 reviews
"path"
in 3 reviews
"weathered"
in 2 reviews
"quirky"
in 2 reviews
"worship"
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"visitors"
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Reviewed May 7, 2013

This tiny church certainly makes the most of its possible historical links. It is in a lovely location and worth a visit if you are passing

1  Thank alfie089
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

Bonchurch, like St Lawrence to the west of Ventnor, has two churches and both are still used for worship. St Boniface Old Church is early Norman, nearly a thousand years old. It is very small and beautiful in its rustic simplicity, having just a nave, a chancel and a little bell-cote. When wealthy Victorians came to settle in Bonchurch, the tiny village grew too big for this church and the parishioners decided to build a new one close by. Voluntary contributions to the appeal fund were generous and someone donated the land. The Old Church did not have to be enlarged or demolished to make way for the new, nor was it abandoned and let fall into ruin. This comparatively very wealthy Victorian community was able to maintain two churches. Last year, however, the parish had to sell the church hall, formerly the village hall which also dates from the mid nineteenth century, and the former rectory, built some fifteen years later, to pay for repairs to the Old Church.

You will find this little church along a track leading from the bottom of Bonchurch Shute, past the entrance to East Dene, the big house where the once famous poet, Algernon Swinburne grew up. This track leads onto the cliff path that continues through The Landslip, a spectacular cliff landscape which has inspired many artists and writers over centuries. The church is on the low cliff above the shore and, according to legend, monks from an abbey in Normandy landed in Monks Bay to preach Christianity to the fishermen and built a church there.

I love the rough-hewn porch and the building's simplicity. The church is usually open to visitors during daylight hours and you can buy a booklet and postcards inside. Candlelit services are held there in summer, as they were in past centuries.

The nearest public toilets are in Monks Bay and are run by volunteers who saved them from closure two years ago. As you leave the churchyard, turn right and follow the path down past the tumbling stream and the backs of villas, down a flight of steps to the shore road and turn left. Just past the last house there's a little boat park right on the beach, and above it to the left are the toilets.

5  Thank Maggie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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