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Godshill with its thatched cottages and tea shops is one of the tourist honey pots on the Isle of Wight. The model village is the main attraction.




This was an agricultural area of smallholdings with cattle but few sheep. Many families kept a pig which was slaughtered in the autumn. Electricity didn’t arrive until 1956.

The centre of the village is compact with the best of the thatched buildings along High Street. Don’t miss the family of thatched ducks on top of the roof...


The village centre is now surrounded by 1960s housing.

This church stands on high ground and there has been a church here since 1050. The present building dates from the C15th and is the fourth church to be built on this site. The cluster of thatched cottages around the church date from the same time and may have been for the masons building the church.


A Methodist chapel was built in the village in 1790 and is the oldest Wesleyan Chapel on the island. It was rebuilt in 1838.



The railway arrived and the station opened 1897 with single platform and small goods siding. However, it was never a success and had few passengers. By 1927, it was an unmaned halt and was closed in 1952.

At the start of the C20th Godshill was a thriving village with inns, Blacksmith, Carpenter/undertaker, stonemason, bakehouse, grocers and clothing store. The Griffin Inn is early C19th and was built by the Earl of Yarborough as a coaching inn to change horses on his journey across the Island. It still has a reputation for serving good food.


The other establishments have all closed, although the Old Smithy survives as an upmarket gift and fashion shop.


All Saints Church, Godshill

The church is built on the site of Pagan worship at the top of the hill. It is the largest pre-Reformation church on the island. The present building dates from the C15th and is the fourth church to have been built on this site.


The church is surrounded by the graveyard with C18th and c19th tombstones. In a corner is the splendid family mausoleum of the Wynne Williams family who were the last owners of Appledurcombe House.



Near the door is a restored Preaching cross with a calvary beneath the canopy. Near it is a sundial mounted on the stub of a medieval preaching cross.



The church has an unusual plan: a double nave and chancel of roughly equal width, small transepts, porch and north west tower.

The north church belonged to the parish. The southern church was for the workers at nearby Appuldurcombe Priory. The two would have been separated by a wooden screen and the marks where this was fixed to the pillars can still be seen. There is no structural division between nave and chancel and the roof stretches unbroken along the length of the church. Many of the beams are the original C14th.

The church is what is described as a Society Parish under the episcopal care of the Bishop Of Richborough, one of the special bishops provided by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to give pastoral care to parishes who wish to maintain catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England, with a male priest.

Inside it is a large and spacious church with an arcade separating the two naves. The rood beam with its cross dates from 1948.



The organ is at the back of the south nave, with the font in the north nave.



The Royal Coat of Arms of Queen Anne is above the south door and there are funeral hatchments above the nave arcade.


On the north wall opposite is a large painting of Daniel in the Lion’s Den which was given to the church by the first Lord Yarborough, and was originally thought to have been painted by Rubens...


Against the north wall is a is a highly carved C17th altar table with reredos.


On the wall above is a bas-relief of Our Lady of Walsingham which was given to the church in 1976.


The stained glass is C19th.


St Stephen’s Chapel in the south transept, is behind decorative iron gates. On the wall near it is a consecration cross. Originally there would have been twenty four crosses; twelve inside the church and twelve outside. They marked the places anointed and blessed by the Bishop when the church was consecrated.


On the walls are hatchments of the Worsleys of Appuldurcombe House.


Above the altar is a most unusual wall painting dating from the mid C15th. Known as the 'Lily Cross’ it depicts Christ crucified on a triple branched flowering lily. The lily depicts the virtue of the Virgin Mary and marks the times (about 4 a century) when Good Friday falls on The Feast of the Annunciation. On either side are painted curtains, which would have served as a ‘backcloth’ to the altar beneath. These probably had statues in front of them.


This is the only example of a Lily Cross in this country although there are two others in Europe. It was covered with lime wash during the Reformation and only rediscovered in 1842.

Steps in corner of south transept would have led to Rood loft. To left of the altar is an early C17th Parish Chest for keeping church registers.


The church has several outstanding monumental tombs. The earliest is the tomb found between the two nave altars and beneath a carefully carved canopy, is that of Sir John Leigh of Appuldurcombe who died 1529, and his wife, Agnes.



On the soles of Sir John’s feet are carved monks, ‘Bedesmen’, with their rosary beads and praying for the soul of Sir John. These are usually shown along the bottom of the tombs.


Set high on the wall above the tomb is a funerary helmet.


On the north wall of the chancel is the tomb to Sir James Worsley who died in 1536 and his wife Anne, who was the daughter of of Sir John Leigh and his wife Agnes. They are kneeling with Anne behind her husband.




On the wall of the south chancel is the monument to Captain Richard Worsley who died in 1565 and his two sons who were killed a couple of years later in a gun powder accident. They were they were drying gunpowder, when it exploded in their faces. Above is another funerary helmet with gauntlets hanging beneath it.



The north transept of the church was completely rebuilt by Sir Robert Worsley, of Appuldurcombe House, to provide a suitable place for a grandiose monument to himself and his brother Henry, who was a classical traveller and collector and also served as Governor of Barbados and died in 1740. Sir Robert died 1747. The north transept is now the vestry and the tomb hidden behind a curtain.



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