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St. Lawrence 12th Century Church



(The Old Church at St. Lawrence.)
Records show the church existed, probably as a manorial chapel, before 1201. Until the chancel was added in 1842 it rated as the smallest parish church in England. The windows in the North wall are ancient. The oak pews date from 1926 and the hat pegs around the walls – an unusual feature - are Georgian. A painting of the Royal Arms dates from the time of
Charles 1. The ancient churchyard is a haven of tranquillity.




The Parish Church of St. Lawrence


The Parish Church of St. Lawrence, built in 1876, was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (who also designed the Albert Memorial). A light-box affixed to the north wall contains three pre-Raphaelite stained glass window panels, two by William Morris and one by Ford Madox Brown, which were originally in the Chapel of the Royal National Hospital, Ventnor.



St. Lawrence Village Hall

This pretty building on the hill was constructed in 1898 as a school but served that purpose for only ten years. Falling rolls caused it to be closed as a school and it is now used as a community centre for the village.

St Lawrence Well

There is an oral tradition that the well was used by early Christian pilgrims.

In that era it was just a bubbling spring at the roadside, but in the 19th century it was enclosed and restructured in the Gothic Revival style popular at the time.

The lane in which the well is situated was once the main coastal route from Ventnor to St. Lawrence.

The road was diverted to its current line in 1864.
In recent years the ancient tradition of “Well Dressing “
has been adopted.




St. Lawrence Well Dressing











Pelham Woods
Pelham Woods is a small wood at the eastern end of the village, accessed from either Undercliff Drive or Inglewood Park. The wood is an intimate mixture of Sycamore, Ash, Lime, and Elm, with other native species such as Spindle Tree (Euonymus europaeus), Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) and Hazel (Corylus avellana) to be found.

A series of meandering earth paths lead around the woods, and some fine sea views can be observed.

A small wetland area can be traversed by means of a boardwalk.
Alder (Alnus glutinosa), Pendulous Sedge (Carex pendula) and ferns such as the Hart’s Tongue Fern (Phyllittis scolpendrium) thrive here.

Much of the management policy of Pelham is to reduce the occurrence of sycamore and to encourage more desirable species such as Ash.




Villagers clearing “Pole Sycamores” to improve the woodland diversity








Local villagers have been involved in clearing sycamores, thus improving the woodland diversity

Amongst the ground flora is the nationally rare “Ivy Broomrape” (Orabanche hederae), parasite on Ivy and “Italian Lord’s and Ladies" (Arum italicum)




Ivy Broomrape (Orabanche



“Italian Lords and Ladies”
Arum italicum



Ventnor Botanic Gardens

Located on the southern tip of the Isle of Wight, Ventnor Botanic Gardens has exotic plants from all over the world displayed in a series of temperate and sub-tropical gardens. Ventnor is one of the youngest botanic gardens in Britain.




Melianthus major, the “Honey Flower” from South Africa, and Cordyline australis from
New Zealand, in a typical Ventnor Botanic Garden Border


The potential of the 22 acre site was recognised by the late Sir Harold Hillier of Hilliers Nurseries, Winchester, and planting commenced in 1970.Despite the limitations of the sites shallow alkaline soil and salt laden winds, which were overcome by careful selection of plants, that came largely from the famous Hillier nurseries, the garden was open to the public within 2 years.




Euphorbia mellifera, from Madiera, one of the many exotic species that thrives in the botanic gardens








Lying in the heart of the famous Undercliff and on the edge of the village of St. Lawrence, the garden has a climate more akin to that of the Mediterranean, and enables a wide variety of plants to be grown that are considered too tender for cultivation on the mainland.


Geranium maderense, one of the largest geraniums in the world, flowering at Ventnor Botanic Garden







The garden has Friends’Society, an Education Programme and a Visitor Centre, and is open all day

St. Lawrence Post Office and Shop

The post office has stood on its present site in Spindlers Road since the fifties, having previously been at Maple Cottage in Seven Sisters Road, when it was run by the Warne sisters, and before that at The Cliff in Spindlers Road. It has recently [2015] been taken over by Pete and Sharon who have carried out extensive refurbishments and now also offer Tea, Coffee and other refreshments. They have also added more local produce including bread, cakes and meat and poultry to their range.

Shop and Post Office Opening hours
                             Monday to Friday 7.30 – 5.30. 

                             Tuesday 7.30 - 1.00.

                             Saturday 8.00 – 4.00.

                             Sunday : 8.30 – 12.30.

The shop is well stocked with: newspapers, milk, , groceries, fruit and vegetables, alcohol, sweets, ice cream, greetings cards and post cards.



NEW - The Peace Garden - Progress Report


Since summer 2007 a group of staff and students from the countryside department of the Isle of Wight College have been busy clearing an area of land adjacent to the churchyard of the Old Church. This area is known as The Peace Garden.

The site was completely overgrown with very old Bay Laurels (Laurus nobilis), Holm Oaks (Quercus ilex) and brambles, which formed an impenetrable thicket of vegetation. The whole site had a very gloomy outlook, and little did we realise the enormity of the clearance task until we got started!

As work progressed the clearance revealed two very fine specimen trees. A magnificent Yew (Taxus baccata) and a very fine Umbrella or Stone Pine (Pinus pinea).


Horticulture and conservation students have regularly been working on the site throughout the autumn, January and February, and the site is more or less totally cleared and ready for planting. Literally lorryloads of vegetation have been carted away and burnt offsite, with the remainder of the arisings being chipped onsite.

A fence now divides the site from the graveyard, and access through the main gate improved by creating a gentle ramp.


More importantly, the size and potential of the site can now be clearly seen. On the southern boundary an earth bank has been constructed, and due to clearance of the lower limbs from surrounding trees, a magnificent sea view has been created. Seats are now fixed here in order to enjoy the view.

It has been generally agreed that this will not be a fussy, formal or pristine garden. The site lends itself to a very informal design, and the general theme will be woody plants
( mainly shrubs and a few trees) that will be easily maintained by occasional pruning.
Another consideration is plants that will provide year round interest colour or perfume.

College students have carefully measured the site and have drawn up a site plan.


Alan Titchmarsh opens new St. Lawrence Peace Garden - 28/4/08

This afternoon's opening of the Peace Garden by the Island's High Sherrif, Alan Titchmarsh, has been a huge success. Arriving just before 3.00pm, he made his way through the crowds of people, bidding everyone a good afternoon. After a thought provoking speech, he then cut the ribbon and officially declared the Peace Garden open to rapturous applause.


He then went on to plant a tree with The Bishop and Dave Trevan who went to Kew College with Alan Titchmarsh.

A very big thankyou goes out to all the people involved in planning, designing and planting of the garden with special thanks to Alan Titchmarsh for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit our lovely village and do the honours.

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