St Lawrence Old Church


"We will assume that our visitor does not wish to return by the way he came, or that he desires to make Ventnor his head-quarters, at least for a few days. He will know by the way we have brought him how to find Bonchurch. If he will continue through the town still in a westerly direction he will reach St. Lawrence by the time he has travelled about a couple of miles.

He will pass Steephill Castle on the right and Ventnor Park and Recreation Ground on the opposite side of the road. The Castle was built in 1831 by the late Mr. John Hambrough, on the site of a cottage occupied by a Governor of the Island, the Hon. Hans Stanley. In 1874 the Empress of Austria resided here during her visit to Ventnor.

Steephill Castle


A short distance beyond, on the side of the road, is the National Hospital for Consumption. This is well worth a visit if admission can he secured. It is built on the separate cottage principle, in one long row of semi-detached houses, with a chapel in the middle, and meeting hall at one end. Each house provides accommodation for six patients, who are attended by nurses. It is under the patronage of the Queen, and patients are admitted from all parts of the country. St. Lawrence, about a mile beyond. is a pretty village.

The Old Parish Church is the smallest in the Island, perhaps in the kingdom—25ft. long. 11ft. wide, and 11ft. 4in. high. It was built during the reign of the first Richard, and enlarged in the year 1849 but is now only used as a mortuary chapel. The new Church was erected in 1878, and can accommodate 300 worshippers. It cost £4,000, which was raised by subscription. It consists of nave, chancel, north aisle arid porch, and a turret with two bells.

St. Lawrence’s Well should be visited if possible. This was constructed by the late Lord Yarborough.

Cripple Path is well worth finding, as it is a charming and novel walk from St. Lawrence over the hill to Niton.

Letters arrive through Ventnor at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., and are dispatched at 11.20 a.m. and 6.5 p.m., Sunday. 9.45.


This a pretty village, with delightful surroundings. Its situation is eight miles from Newport and five from Ventnor.

The Church of St. John the Baptist, built of freestone, contains nave, chancel, north and south aisles, and north transept. The square tower contains one bell. It is a very ancient structure, and was given by William Fitz-Osborne to the Abbey of Lire. It is capable of providing accommodation for 250 worshippers.

The Baptist Chapel was built in 1847, and can accommodate 230 worshippers. The Wesleyan Chapel was erected in 1864, and has 100 sittings.

Sandrock is a very pretty suburb, situated in the midst of the Undercliff.

Letters received through Wroxall and Chale at 6.35 a.m. and 1.20 p.m., and dispatched at 10.30 a.m. and 6.45 p.m.


Returning a short distance, and making a detour north ward, we enter the village of Whitwell. The Parish Church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Rhadagund. It is built of stone in the Norman style, and the register dates from the year 1678. The visitor will find much to entertain and instruct him at Whitwell.

The Bible Christians have a chapel here.

Letters received from Wroxall at 6.45 a.m. and 1.0 p.m., and dispatched at 11.0 a.m. and 7.0 p.m.

St Catheriness Lighthouse



We will now return to the sea front and follow on to St. Catherine’s, leaving Whitwell and Niton on the right and the lovely foliage leading down to the sea on the left. St. Catherine’s is noted chiefly for its famous lighthouse, the erection of which was commenced in 1838 and completed in 1840. It is built of stone, 62 feet high to the turret and 86 feet to the top of the lantern. In 1888 the electric light was applied to this lighthouse, the most powerful electric light, it is said, in the world. Unfortunately it is not always able to keep the mariner from danger and death, for round this coast the fogs  are sometimes dense, the sea runs high, and the rocks shelve out below the surface of the water.

Eastward of the lighthouse is Puckaster Cove, where in 1675 Charles II. landed." {Blackgang}

The Minerva Isle of Wight Pictorial and Guide - circa 1900