The only thatched church on the Isle of Wight, the poet laureate Tennyson's son, Hallam, donated land from his father’s estate to build this church and his wife Audrey suggested that it be named for St. Agnes. Designed by the architect Issac Jones, the church was consecrated on August 12th, 1908.

Image credit: Patrick Mackie (


The stone used to build the church came from an old and derelict farm house on Hooke Hill, Freshwater, which had been the birthplace of the natural philosopher, architect and polymath Robert Hooke (1635-1703). For this reason the date 1622, from the farmhouse wall, is on the stone of the vestry wall, which can be a bit confusing.

The church has a picture postcard front/north elevation, which is much photographed by holiday makers. Its west elevation is simple, with two small lancet windows, flanked by buttresses. On top of the thatched roof is wooden bell-turret and apse. Inside the walls are rough and the roof has braced tie beams and each of the wooden seats has an embroidered hassock.

Detailed carvings of lilies, vines and prayers on the three arched wooden chancel screen were created by the curate T.G. Devitt between 1943 and 1946. And the choir stalls have panels carved in geometric patterns. The wall behind the altar is curved and bears a simple wooden cross.

There is a strong Arts and Crafts feel to the interior, which is light and airy with several big windows to the road on one side and open fields to the south.