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Town Centre Churches

St Augustin’s Church

The Church was founded and endowed just over 100 years ago by Canon Henry Twells, Honary Canon of Peterborough, and build upon land at the corner of Wimborne Common, a neighborhood which was for the most part quiet country with heather covered common, pine woods and narrow dusty roads.

Born in 1823. Henry Twells was educated at King Edward VI School, Birmingham. Having taken his degree at Cambridge, he was ordained in 1849 and appointed the first headmaster of Godolfin School, Hammersmith. An illustrious career in the Ministry followed, firstly at Baldock, and then at Waltham, from where he resigned in 1890, due to ill health.

He was a most accomplished writer of hymns, his best known being ‘At evening when the sun was set’ (243 in the New English Hymnal) However, he is best remembered for ‘Lines on a clock’ in Chester Cathedral:

When I was a child I laughed and wept – time crept.

When I was a youth I dreamt and talked – time walked.

When I became a full grown man – time ran.

When older still I daily grew – time flew.

Soon I shall find on travelling on – time gone.

O Christ, wilt Thou have saved me then?

Following his retirement, and to improve his health, Henry Twells moved to Bournemouth, where he assisted in the Parish of St. Stephen, at a time when a committee had been formed o consider the possibility of building a new church to the north of the town, due to the fast expansion of population.

On 15th April 1891, he wrote to the Vicar of St. Stephen’s, offering to build the church ‘in recognition of the countless mercies I have received from Almighty God during a long life’. His offer was accepted, and he commissioned his friend William Butterfield to design and build the church, which was dedicated to St. Augustin, the North African Bishop of Hippo.

The foundation stone was laid by Mrs. Twells on 19th November 1891 and the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester on 28th October 1892. Canon Twells was Priest-in-Charge until his death in 1900.

William Butterfield, church architect and designer, was a pioneer of High Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture. Among his other works is that noble monument All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London (just off Oxford Street) and the parish church of Babbacombe. He was also responsible for Keble College Chapel, Oxford, cathedrals in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, and work at Rugby School between 1867 and 1872. Mr Butterfield retired immediately following the completion of St. Augustin’s, and he died on 23rd February 1900, just a few weeks after his friend Henry Twells.

The church is a fine example of the Early Decorated Style and is built of Swanage stone, with Bath stone dressings to the windows and the polygonal bell turret on the western buttress. Many alterations have inevitably been made with the passing of time, but the decorated windows remain a special feature of this beautiful church.

Plan of St Augustin's

A description of the windows as numbered on the plan

I. East Window, behind the Altar:
Designed by the architect of the church, William Butterfield, and supplied by Bell and Beckham, this inspiring window depicts the Ascension.

2/3. South Lady Chapel Windows:
Erected in 1900 by members of the congregation in memory of Canon Henry Twells, MA, and supplied by Clayton and Bell, these represent Christ teaching and Christ healing.
4. South Centre Window:
Erected in 1898 by Mrs. Fernside to the memory of her husband Henry Fernside MB who died in 1896, and supplied by Lavers and Westlake, this represents Christ healing.
5. South Centre Window:
Erected in 1898 by Mrs. Fernside in memory of her brother, the Reverend John Rose, who died in 1861, and supplied by Lavers and Westlake. this represents Christ teaching.
6. Rear South Window:
Erected in 1898 by Canon and Miss Twells, in memory of their brother, the Right Reverend Edward Twells DD, Bishop of the Orange Free State from 1863 to 1870, who died in 1898. and supplied by Lavers and Westlake, this represents the release of St. Peter.
7a/7b. West Windows:
Erected in 1932 and presented in memory of Hector Mackenzie Forbes, churchwarden at St. Augustin’s 1914-1921, this was designed and supplied by Karl Parsons (1884-1934) and represents the Annunciation and the Nativity.
8. Rear North Window:
Erected in I 898 by Miss Redmayne to the memory of her mother, who died in 1893, and supplied by Lavers and Westlake, this represents Jacob’s vision.
9. North Window:
Erected by the congregation in 1924 to the memory of Charles Diamond, sacristan of St. Augustin’s for 30 years, and supplied by Percy Bacon and Co., this represents Samuel.
10. North Window:
Erected in 1920 by Mrs. Cope to the memory of her husband who died in 1918, and supplied by C.E Kempe and Co., this represents St. George.


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