Known for its especially fine 15th century mural of St Christopher, the Medieval Church of St Peter in Shorwell was originally founded in around 1100AD. A large imposing church with crenelated tower and octagonal spire, it has ornately carved pews, embroidered hassocks and many carved and cast memorials in its stone walls.

Image credit: UKgeofan (


The wall painting dates from around 1440 and depicts the story of St Christopher like a Medieval strip cartoon, with him carrying the child Christ across the water in the centre. It was covered with whitewash during the reformation but revealed a century ago.

The stone pulpit is also over 450 years old and thought to be the oldest on the Island, although its fine carved wooden canopy is dated 1620 as is the hourglass stand that sits beside it. A painted altar piece dated 1836 in the south aisle depicts the last supper.

There are two brass memorials: one behind the altar in the north aisle commemorates the two wives of Barnabas Leigh who died in 1615 and 1619. The other is dated 1518 and is under a carpet in the left side of the chancel, commemorating a former vicar of the church.

A rather sad but grand memorial depicting a kneeling man is in memory of Sir John Leigh and his grandson who died aged only 9 months in the same year. Nearby in the north east corner is a copy of Cranmer’s Bible, printed in 1541; ordered to be written in English by Henry VIII.