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St Nicolas Church, Moreton, Dorset - 2010 | by Whipper_snapper
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St Nicolas Church, Moreton, Dorset - 2010

St Nicholas Church at Moreton, in Dorset, has several claims to fame; it is associated with the Frampton family, it was chosen for the funeral of Lawrence of Arabia and it is possibly the only church in the UK which has exclusively engraved glass rather than coloured or stained glass.


The Framptons had been associated with the area since the 14th century and it was a Frampton who persecuted the Tolpuddle Martyrs for organising a trade union in the 19th century. Lawrence of Arabia was friendly with the later Framptons and even rented (and later bought) his nearby Clouds Hill home from the Framptons before his death in a motorcycle accident in 1935. to see the full set.


St Nicholas church was rebuilt at least three times. The original building was built around 1190 but the first recorded rector was Ysembard who was appointed in 1298. One of the longest serving rectors was William Frampton who served for 58 years from 1840. The Frampton family spent a lot of money on the church - £5,000 in the first four years of Frampton's rectorship. Unfortunately the church was hit by a German bomb on the night of October 8, 1940, and was severely damaged. The villagers worshipped in Moreton House or the Village Hall for 10 years until the church was restored, the work finishing in 1950. The windows were glazed - at that time - in semi-opaque glass which the parish deeply disliked.


Oxford architectural historian Howard Colvin heard about this and through him Laurence Whistler submitted new designs for the windows in the apse. From 1955 onwards etched and sand-blasted glass manufactured by the London Sandblast Company were installed. This work continued through the 1970s and 1980s.


I had actually gone to Moreton to see Lawrence's grave so the church was a purely chance discovery for me. The weather was exceptionally grey and dull but this did allow me to photograph the church windows which are very delicate and difficult to see in brighter light.


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Taken on July 7, 2010