"St. Alban's, My Favourite Island Church"

- Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman CBE (1906-1984)

"St. Alban's, My Favourite Island Church"

- Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman CBE (1906-1984)


+44 (0) 1983 300 421

© Copyright 2018 St. Alban's Church - Ventnor, Isle of Wight.    All Rights Reserved.

Mail black small Pin black small Tel black small

St. Alban's Church, St. Alban's Road,

Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1DE

Facebook circle blue large altar

St. Alban’s Church – dedicated to the memory of S. Albanus (c. 209) England’s First Martyr was founded September of 1889 under the curate-in-charge of the Parish of Godshill Rev. Richard Ussher. Upper Ventnor Lowtherville’s first place of worship was the Church of

St. Margaret’s; built in 1884 in Lowtherville Road and dedicated to St. Margaret of Scotland (c. 1045 - 1093), The patroness of Ventnor.


With the ancient Mother-Parish-Church of All Saint’ Godshill at a distance of  4 & ½

miles St. Alban’s Church was formed as the Chapel - of - ease to the Parish of Godshill.

After plot of land was donated to hold the new ‘Tin Tabanacle’ of St. Alban’s Church

in May 1889 construction took place and on the 13th September 1889 the church was

opened, followed by thefirst service held on the steps on 15th September 1889 on what

we now know as St. Alban’s Steps on St. Alban’s Road and Gardens.


Serving the community of Upper Ventnor – Lowetherville, St. Alban’s became a focal

point of community life and held the funeral of Business woman and owner of the

former Royal Marine Hotel on Belgrave Road; Mrs. Ellen A. Judd (18889 – 1893) whos

funeral cortege consisted of 12 Carriages. Together Mrs. Judd and her husband

Mr. William Mew-Judd (1818-1913) are buried in Ventnor Cemetery.


By the outbreak of WW1 the old corrugated “Tin” church of St. Alban had begun signs

of its age which lead to the creation of fund to build a permanent new Stone Church

which was continued by the then priest-in-charge Fr. Smale between 1904 - 1908.

Fr. Smale’s successor Fr. Smith continued the fund and saw the construction of the

‘Old Parish Room’ in May 1900 located opposite the church gates on the steps, which

would eventually become the Church Hall before being demolished in 2001.  


With the former plans drawn by London Architect Mr. C.R. Baker-King for the New

Stone Church of St. Alban’s was rejected, it wasn’t until the last Priest-in-Charge of

the old Tin Church Fr. Graham Hunt Castle, M.A. took over in 1921 when progress was made.


A design by Ventnor Architect, Mr. Frannco M. Coley of Zig Zag road was proposed and featured a nave, adjacent sanctuary and the

Lady Chapel. By 1922 the foundation stone of the Romanesque - style basilica we have today was laid during a ceremony at 11:00 am on the 15th August 1922 attended by Lt. Col. W Hartley Maud, C.M.G., J.P., D.L.  On the Feast of St. Alban – 22nd June1923 the completed church of St. Alban was consecrated by the late Bishop of Winchester Rev. Frank Theodore Woods.  


Although a bell tower was due to be built to house the old 1890 bell from the “tin” Church, construction ceased due to the sloping landscape prominent in Ventnor. Instead the original bell was placed in a cradle at the rear of the church and is still used today as it

was over a centaury ago. Keeping in tradition many of the original Vestments and church fittings are still used today as they were back in the days of St. Alban’s former Iron Church. Our traditional Anglo-Catholic service – sung in traditional language is served with the original thuribles, Sanctus bells and processional cross whilst baptisms are held near our original 1889 baptismal stone font.

Counterbalancing the extreme evangelicalism that was prevalent in Ventnor Town during the 19th Century, the church grounds were littered and the original Banner of St. Alban was thrown with Vitriol acid by the Kensit preachers during a protest under the church wall in 1911. To the distaste of the Kensit’s, St. Alban’s church continued the Anglo-Catholic movement within the Anglican community which continues to this day. The banner of St. Alban was salvaged by one of the congregation and returned to the Church in the 1970’s where it is displayed on the left hand wall to the entrance of the church.


THE FISH SYMBOL was used on buildings 2000 years ago as code to identify them as Christian homes.  Was it mere coincidence that when this Church was built, a large fossilised fish was exposed as one of the large Purbeck Marble columns was carved from solid stone?



founded in 1889 by rev. r. ussher

ch IMG_20190707_105821 fish

'Fish' symbols were used as a code to

identify Christian homes, 2000 years  


Fish fossil in a stone column in Saint

Alban's Church is probably a hundred

million years old. Just a coincidence?


Fr. John Ryder and Brenda will soon be taking a well deserved retirement.  Fr. John's last Service here will be the Sunday Mass at 9.30am on the 23rd February.  After that date, Services will continue to be held at the usual times by our Deacon or temporary clergy until a new Parish Priest is appointed.    

We wish Fr. John and Brenda a long and happy retirement in their new home.