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Tower of St Catherine's Oratory

A Grade II Listed Building in Chale, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.5932 / 50°35'35"N

Longitude: -1.3039 / 1°18'14"W

OS Eastings: 449364

OS Northings: 77278

OS Grid: SZ493772

Mapcode National: GBR 8CP.M55

Mapcode Global: FRA 874H.RTH

Entry Name: Tower of St Catherine's Oratory

Listing Date: 22 November 1993

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1218168

English Heritage Legacy ID: 392680

Location: Chale, Isle of Wight, PO38

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Chale

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Chale St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

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Listing Text


1353-0/5/81 Tower of St Catherine's Oratory


Former lighthouse, now Ancient Monument. Early C14. Built as a
penance by the local landowner Walter de Godeton for disposing
of the cargo of Church wine belonging to the monastery of
Lives in Picardy, when the Saint Marie was wrecked on
Atherfield Ledge in the Parish of Shorwell in 1314. The tower
was built as a lighthouse to prevent further wrecks and there
was originally an oratory chapel with a monk whose job was to
trim the light and say masses for those lost at sea. After the
Reformation the church fell into ruins and had disappeared by
the C18, but buttresses were added to the tower then to keep
it standing as a seamark. Restored by P G Stone in 1891 and by
the then Ministry of Works in 1950. Built of ashlar. 4
storeys, octagonal without and square within with 4 buttresses
and a pyramidal stone roof, domed on the inside. Pointed
doorways on ground and first floors which originally
communicated with the Priest's dwelling and the Chapel
respectively, and loop lights on ground, first and second
floors. The top storey has 8 windows splayed outwards to emit
light from the brazier which formed the beacon. Stairs and
floors now missing. A rare survival of a medieval lighthouse.
Locally nicknamed "the Pepper Pot " because of its shape and
its conjunction with the remains of the C18 lighthouse to the
south east in the adjoining Parish of Niton which is known as
"the Salt Cellar". (see item ) Scheduled Ancient Monument.
(V.C.H.: 235).

Listing NGR: SZ4936477278

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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