St. Wilfrid’s Church, Ventnor

The Catholic Church in Ventnor is the only Island church dedicated to the Patron Saint of the Island. Sadly this was badly damaged by fire in 2007. The memorial stone was laid and blessed on 8th September (Feast of the Birthday of Our Lady) in 1870. It was opened for worship a year later- Our Lady and St Wilfrid Ventnor – The architect was Mr T. Chatfield Clark of London (based in London but had Island connections) and the builder was Mr D. Day of Bonchurch

Prior to this, Catholics of Ventnor worshipped at the residence of the priest, Vicenza-villa, High Street; but Fr. Justin D. Mooney when he appointed to Ventnor saw the desirability of a church being erected. He therefore set himself to work to obtain the desired finances, and being aided by principally by Mr. Richard Swift, a merchant of London, who donated £500 towards the cost, with a promise of further aid, he saw his way to take the proper steps towards its commencement. The church was built in the garden of the villa, in the early English style.

It was always intended that this new church be dedicated to St. Wilfrid, in thanksgiving for his journey to the Island in A.D. 686 to bring the Faith to its inhabitants. At the request of Elizabeth, Countess of Clare (another benefactor) it was also dedicated to Our Lady. Hence the dedication – the Church of Our Lady and St. Wilfrid. A side aisle and Lady altar was added in 1958; the centenary of the apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in Lourdes.