St Martin on the Wall in Wareham is the most complete example of a Saxon church in Dorset. Originally built around 1030, it has the characteristic tall, narrow nave and chancel commonly seen in churches from this time.
St Aldhelm may have founded an earlier church on this site back in the 7th century that was destroyed by King Cnut in 1015.
A north aisle was some what clumsily added to the church at some point in the 12th century, and most of the windows have been replaced. Otherwise the only significant additions are the splendid wall paintings. These are a mixed bunch dating from 12th, 17th and early 18th centuries.
If the church is locked, and it usually is, the key may be obtained from A F Joy (Outfitters), 35 North Street (a museum piece in its own right). For details of services, please see the parish web site detailed below.
Lawrence of Arabia's Effigy
In the north aisle of the church is an effigy of T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) in Arabic dress with a curved dagger in his hand. It is by his friend Eric Kennington, the official war artist for both the First and Second World Wars.
It was actually made for St Paul’s Cathedral. They wouldnʼt accept it, and it was offered in turn to Westminster Abbey, Salisbury Cathedral and St Nicholas, Moreton. None of them wanted it; so it ended up here.
On the plinth is a framed poem which reads as shown oppositeabove:
Lawrence lived nearby at Clouds Hill, and is buried in Moreton churchyard