The Moon Behind St Catherine’s Oratory – Chale

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the moon behind st Catherine’s oratory

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A full moon rises behind St Catherine’s Oratory, in Chale on the Isle of Wight.

The tall, octagonal tower, the shell of a medieval lighthouse, was built in 1314 as a penance for stealing wine from a merchant ship that ran aground on the treacherous rocks of Atherfield Ledge.

The cargo of 174 casks, from Edward II’s Duchy of Aquitaine in France, was salvaged, and much of the wine came into the hands of Walter de Godeton, who owned land in the manor of Chale. Charged with illegally recieving the wine, bound for the monastery of Livers in Picardy, he was ordered to pay a large fine and was almost excommunicated from the Catholic Church. To atone for his sin, Walter built a lighthouse with an oratory for a priest to tend to the light and pray for wrecked sailors.

Affectionately known as the Pepperpot, it stands on one of the highest parts of the Island and is the only medieval lighthouse surviving in England.


  1. JH
    the Milky Way core rises over a long road towards a bright light

    Joshua H. (verified owner)


  2. M
    heather at headon warren featuring the needles in the distance

    Mark (verified owner)

    Absolutely beautiful – am delighted with my purchase.

  3. PH

    Phil H. (verified owner)

    Fantastic photo and our friends on the I-o-W love it and were really pleased with the service when they picked it up. They also love your gallery. Thank you from Australia

  4. RS
    st helen’s fort walk on the isle of wight

    Richard S. (verified owner)

    Christmas present for my sister, she will love it.

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