St Nicholas Church
The church is set in the Moreton Estate which has been in the Frampton family since the 14th Century and even today apart from six of the residences all the houses are still owned by the estate.
The person responsible for the current church was William Charles Frampton who rebuilt the church in 1776 and was Rector for 57 years. It is a good example of early Gothic revival and was built on the earlier mediaeval foundations.
The church has 2 claims to fame as the burial place of Lawrence of Arabia and is almost certainly the only church in the world where all of its thirteen (13) windows are clear engraved and etched glass.
On 21st May 1935 T.E. Lawrence’s (“Lawrence of Arabia”) funeral service was conducted there and he was buried in the nearby churchyard. He was a cousin to the Frampton family and a frequent visitor to their home. He lived for several years nearby in a small property once owned by the family called Clouds Hill. It is now owned by the National Trust and can be visited. The funeral was attended by many elder statesmen and politicians.
On the 8th October 1940 a German bomb damaged a significant part of the church. For the next 10 years the church services were held at Moreton House or in the Estate Hall until the church was rebuilt. The church was rededicated in 1950 after restoration and the replacement new windows were of semi- opaque green glass which many of the parishioners did not like. With a War Damage Grant, suggested by a visitor, Laurence Whistler, a talented glass engraver, was commissioned to provide five (5) Apse windows with a striking design that included biblical symbols, Christmas lanterns, vines, medallions, candles, landscapes, stars, lightning, local scenes and much more. The windows were installed in 1955 and etched by Whistler. Later, in 1974 and 1975, two more windows were commissioned privately. Further additions were the Trinity Chapel Window in 1982, the Galaxy Window 1984 and the Lightning Window in the Vestry.
After our lunches the party split into two with a number staying at the gardens to enjoy them and further explore the village whilst the rest of our group proceeded to visit nearby Dorchester to either visit one of its many museums or have a general look around the town. After returning to Moreton to pick up the members who had stayed, we returned to Andover in good time after a very pleasant day in Dorset.
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