Godshill, All Saints Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 15th-century wall painting of Christ crucified on a Lily
All Saints is the largest medieval church on the Isle of Wight, and one of the most visited and photographed parish churches in England. Part of that popularity rests with the treasure of All Saints, a wall painting showing Christ crucified, not on a wooden cross, but on a lily flower.
This Lily Cross, or, as it was known in earlier times, The Budding Cross, is painted on the east wall of the south transept. There are similar depictions in Europe, but this is the only 'Lily Cross' in Britain, and dates from the middle of the 15th century. During the Reformation the painted was whitewashed several times - though whether to preserve it or destroy it we do not know.
The north transept was completely rebuilt in 1741 by Sir Robert Worsley, just to provide a suitable place for a grandiose monument to himself and his brother Henry, who served as Governor of Barbados.
Other historical highlights include the royal coat of arms over the door; this was made in 1707, the year that the Act of Union brought together Scotland and England, and shows the arms of England and Scotland impaled, as they are for a married couple.
Just outside the south porch is a sundial mounted on the stub of a medieval preaching cross.
You can easily see why Godshill's church is photographed so often; the view towards the churchyard, past a cluster of thatched cottages, is a timeless vignette of idyllic English village life. The church is full of historic interest, and though many people will come to see the Lily Cross, there is much more. The Worsley family tombs are quite superb, and deserve a visit on their own.
The church is open every day, but relies on volunteers to come an unlock the church. when we visited the volunteer must have been having a late cuppa, because it took a good half-hour after the church was supposed to be unlocked for them to arrive. But it was worth the wait; All Saints is a gem of a church, and well worth a visit.
Address: Church Hill, Godshill, Isle of Wight, England, PO38 3HY
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Paid parking off Shanklin Road, about 5 minutes walk, and limited on-street parking on nearby streets. The church was open when we visited.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Appuldurcombe House - 1.3 miles (Historic House)
Arreton Manor - 3.1 miles (Historic Building)
Newport Roman Villa - 3.1 miles (Roman Site)
Arreton, St George's Church - 3.1 miles (Historic Church)
The Shipwreck Centre & Maritime Museum - 3.1 miles (Museum)
Ventnor Botanic Garden - 3.3 miles (Garden)
St Catherine's Oratory - 3.5 miles (Historic Building)
Carisbrooke Castle - 4.5 miles (Castle)
Nearest Accommodation to Godshill: