WEYMOUTH, Dorset – St Paul, Westham.


The Building News and Engineering Journal in 1896 (date not specified, but between January and June) reported that the Bishop of Salisbury recently consecrated the new church, stating that architect George Fellowes Prynne’s design was selected in a limited competition by Mr. William White, F.S.A

The work was put in the hands of an Exeter builder; but owing to difficulties it was eventually completed by the architect, with the assistance of Mr C. Foad, the then clerk of works.  The portion of the church now finished consists of the chancel, vestries, organ chamber, two bays of the nave and north aisle, and south transept, besides the permanent foundation for the complete edifice.  The style is a free treatment of Perpendicular work.  Then plan is simple in form, and consists of a nave, 82ft. in length and 24ft. in width, 54ft. of the total length being included in the portion now carried out.  The chancel is 35ft. 9in. in length by 22ft. 6in. in width.  On the north side of the nave there is a 12ft. aisle, good-sized vestries and organ chamber being placed on the north side of the chancel.  On the south side of the nave a double transept is thrown out, occupying two bays of the nave, the remaining three bays having an aisle similar to that to the north.  On the south side of the chancel is placed an apsidal-ended chapel; the south transept forms, as it were, a nave to this chapel.  Convenient entrances are placed at the west end of the nave, south transept, and at east of north aisle.  Four steps lead from nave to chancel, two from the chancel to sanctuary, and three while marble steps to the high altar.  The heating is on the high-pressure small-bore system and has been carried out by Messrs. Longbottom, of Leeds.  The church is built of Portland stone, with dressings and window tracery in Doulting stone, and the roof is tiled with Broseley tiles.  The cost up to the present has been between £4,000 and £5,000.

Later additions by Fellowes Prynne are a chapel in 1903, a baptistry in 1913, and altar and gradine in 1922, and a War memorial and reredos 1922-6.  The latter probably involved the firm of Dart and Francis in their fabrication, as there were notes in their archive about the pieces.

The windows, all designed by the architect, are of particular beauty of design and colour. All the small windows depict various saints and characters from the Bible. The great east window, placed as a thank offering after the First World War, shows the Church Triumphant adoring Our Lord. The lights are filled with images of angels and specific saints, including the church’s patron, Saint Paul. The colours of the glass are stunning, especially the predominant blues and mauves, including a violet-coloured sky.

The west window depicts Christ’s ascension. Of the smaller windows, a particularly beautiful example is that of Saint Gabriel. His robes are rich in colour and texture, whilst his face is serenely engrossed in his holy book. The window was installed in memory of a young man who died in 1920. It was fashioned by Percy Bacon Brothers of London.

The first two postcards, posted 1904 and 1906 respectively, show the exterior and the interior of the church.  The following photo postcards, date not known, show the interior with the completed reredos, and the baptistry, with close ups from each.  The final image is a photo of the window depicting Saint Gabriel.