Another St Michael's Church

Whilst staying with our friends in Dorset a visit to the New Forest found us at Lyndhurst. The village church of St. Michael stands prominently on a hill - a prehistoric man made mound. The church was built between 1857 and 1869 and is the third church on the site. The decoration around the west door depicts Biblical stories whilst inside the north door there.s an oak screen commemorating the coronation of King George V1. Royalty stayed in the village when hunting in the forest and Queen Victoria was a church benefactor.

My first impression on entering the church was one of space, light, colourful stained glass windows and lots of angels. Six red brick columns separate the Nave from the north and south aisles. Each column has a biblical text and a stone head of Christian reformers and martyrs. Looking up into the Nave roof there.s an orchestra of wooden angels. I found out that the local Fire Brigade come in to dust them once a year!

Moving into the chancel there is a fresco on the south wall, obviously restored, of the 'Tree of Jesse' showing the genealogy of Christ. The very large east window illustrates the New Jerusalem from the Revelation of St. John. Windows in the Lady Chapel depict Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Christ, Simon Peter meeting Christ after the resurrection and Christ the shepherd. A colourful window known as the Te Deum window is in the north transept. Other stained glass windows illustrate responses to prayers and the three virtues - Faith, Hope and Charity are depicted in six south aisle windows. In the north aisle six matching windows show well known biblical Mothers - Hannah, Mary, Rachael, Elizabeth, St. Anne and St. Monica. The west window above the door shows the archangels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel.

A wonderful semi-circular mosaic, with an explanation, is located near the font. It shows two hands, a setting sun and a butterfly. The butterfly, born from a chrysalis symbolises the resurrected human soul.

A display near the west door details the connection that Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' had with Lyndhurst. Alice Hargreaves (nee Liddell), the inspiration for 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass' lived in the village for many years. Her father became Dean of Christ Church Oxford, where Alice met the Rev. Charles Ludwidge Dodgson who was a mathematics Don there. Lewis Carroll was the pen name of the Rev. Charles Dodgson. Alice died on the 16th November 1934 aged 82. The family grave in the churchyard bears the simple inscription 'Hargreaves'.

Some information from 'A short guide to St. Michael's by Angela Trend'

St Michaels nave

St Michaels lectern and organ

St Michaels nave