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A Brief history of St. Paul’s Church
According to Adams' "Victoria County History 1856", Barton was constituted a separate ecclesiastical parish from the south part of Whippingham in 1844. It is not connected with Barton, near Osborne, but derives its name from a speculating builder who developed the land in the early 1800's.
The church is Basilican, almost Byzantine in style. It was designed by the architect, J.W. Wild, erected on a site given by C.W. Martin Esq., and consecrated on the 1st February 1844. It is a daughter church of Whippingham - Patron, The Rector of Whippingham.
The original design (1840), included a clock on the tower, but there is no evidence of one ever having been placed there. Otherwise, there seems to have been very little alteration to the exterior, excepting that in 1903, a porch was added to the west door in memory of W. Russell Cooke Esq. of "Bellecroft", and the cross that was on the roof at the eastern end of the church is now lying in the churchyard.
The spire is brick, which is very unusual. The tower and main structure of the church are in local stone with a Welsh slate roof. Portland stone has been used for the quoins and buttresses, and the mullions to the windows are in Bath stone. Repair to the stonework in the tower was carried out by Messrs. Ingram of Ventnor when the old mullions to the tower windows were replaced with pre-cast members of Bath stone dust and cement; at the same time they made good, where necessary, the quoins to the windows. Some of the brickwork to the spire has also been renovated.
On entering by the west door, the Font of Hoptonwood stone is directly in front of you. Immediately in front of you - when seated - is the Sanctuary above which is a cupola of stars set in a deep blue sky surmounting three beautiful stained glass windows depicting Faith, Hope and Charity these are in memory of Benjamin Mew who died in 1850, aged 65.
Beneath these windows is the Holy Table - the present Holy Table is based on altars in churches of similar design in the Middle East. It is Iroko, an African wood, and replaced an old oak Holy Table in 1971.
The pulpit and Choir stalls that have now been moved to the sides of the church are in oak’. The imposing brass eagle lectern is a tribute to the memory of William Major Cooke and his wife, of "Bellecroft". There is also an onyx pedestal on which to display flowers, which was presented in 1976 by the Mothers Union to commemorate their Centenary.
The splendid Organ on the south side of the Chancel replaced the original organ, which was situated by the west door - this was due to the untiring efforts of Rev. William Nutter and the generosity of friends and parishioners. Among the donors were H.M. Queen Victoria and Mrs. Nunn Harvey. Brass plaques on the Organ commemorate Walter Wm. Dore, a life-long member of the choir; Edward Wm. Way, organist and choirmaster and also Mrs. Rita Page and Chris Rees, Choirmaster - this particular plaque refers to the new piano dedicated on 8th November, 1997 in their memory.
There are many tributes to those who have served the Church, including a stone tablet in memory of Rev. William Henry Nutter; and Fanny Mew, daughter of Richard and Fanny Mew.
The panelled Vestries - which were removed in 1997 - were added when the Rev. H.G. Kelsey was Vicar of the Parish. In 1938, a fully robed and surpliced choir sang for the first time in the church to commemorate its 94th anniversary. The Font was originally on the north side - the reason for its present position was that a central aisle had been planned, but with the advent of the Second World War the idea was abandoned.
Three beautiful stained glass windows portraying St. Peter, St. Michael and St. John can be seen over the west door. They are in memory of Mrs. Nunn Harvey who, in 1876, inherited a large fortune from her father, H.W. Nunn. (She also founded Broadlands Home, which provided shelter and training for a number of poor girls and board for 40 ladies of limited means).
On the west wall can also be found a stone tablet dedicated to Miss Beatrice Shedden who, in 1856, bequeathed the sum of £1,000 to be invested, and the dividends in the form of food, clothing and fuel, distributed to the sick and aged of Whippingham, East Cowes and Barton Village.
A stained glass window in the northern wall of the church was placed there by Elizabeth, the widow of Rev. William Henry Nutter, M.A. This window depicts St. Luke the healer, and is between the memorial tablets to the fallen in the First and Second World Wars. On them are the names of 124 men from the parish who died in the 1914-1918 War and 32 men in the 1939 -1945 conflict.
There is also a tablet to the Rev. Miles Atkinson, the fifth incumbent of the parish. The memorial to the fourth incumbent, the Rev. C. Collis, took the form of electric lighting to the church.
The banner of the Mothers Union stands in the north-eastern corner of the church. On either side are stained glass windows, together with a stone tablet, which all pay tribute to the memory of William Major Cooke and his wife Maria Bartlett of "Bellecroft". The window in the northern wall portrays St. Paul, and was placed there by their children in 1896, whilst the window in the eastern wall was given by their grandchildren and is of a most delicate and pleasing design.
Next to the Chancel, is a brass plaque to the first incumbent, the Rev. W.D. Parker M.A. This states that he was a great benefactor to the church - his remains lie in a vault adjoining the chancel wall. He died on 1st October 1853 - aged 61.
There are several noteworthy people buried in the churchyard, most notably John Milne, the "Father of Modern Seismology", (the study of earthquakes). He is still revered today by many Japanese for his pioneering work in helping to detect earthquakes. Occasionally, Japanese visitors will travel to the churchyard to pay their respects to Milne's grave. Even the Japanese ambassador to the United Kingdom has visited St. Paul's, Barton in recent years.
Finally, to bring this short history right up to date; a new Parish Centre situated across the road in School Lane was dedicated in 1994 and in 1996, a new Choir Vestry and toilet facility, which was erected adjoining the north wall of the church was dedicated by the then Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, The Ven. A. Turner.
The Church was redecorated in May 2003, the pews have been replaced with chairs and there are plans for the upgrading of the lighting and heating in the future.
There is a historic map that includes St. Paul’s - Isle of Wight Sheet 95.02 Newport 1907 - published 2005; introduction by Tony Painter. ISBN 1-84151-736-4
This detailed map covers the central and eastern parts of Newport, with its medieval street pattern. Coverage stretches from Drill Hall Road and The Mall eastward to Staplers Hill, and from Halberry House southward to Great Pan Farm.
Features include the town centre, showing street names, individual houses, and a wealth of detail; the railway station, including track-layout, engine shed, signal box; St. Thomas' church, St. Paul's church, cemetery, Pan Mill, Pan Foundry, St James's Square, Towngate Bridge, Little London, Hunny Hill, Cross Lane, Barton, Staplers. Also included is a list of Private Residents and Carriers from an 1899 directory.