St Catherine's Oratory

St Catherine's Oratory:

This early lighthouse is known locally as "The Pepperpot" and was constructed in 1328.

According to local legend Walter De Godeton took wine washed ashore from a shipwreck in Chale Bay. The wine came from a French monastery and he was soon found out, he was fined and threatened with excommunication from the church unless he built an Oratory and beacon as a penance for his sins.

It stands on one of the highest hills of The Island. The Beacon continued to be used to warn ships right up to the 17 Century however it was not very effective due to cloud and hill fog so ships continued to be shipwrecked - so a new lighthouse was built which is now at St Catherine's and is still operational.

If you look closely it is possible to see where the Oratory once stood and where its roof joined the octagonal tower, sometime after The Oratory's removal extra buttresses were added to the tower for strength.

From here it is possible to see "The Salt Pot" nearby which has large arials upon its base. This construction of a new replacement lighthouse was started but soon aborted due to it's light also being ineffective.

St Catherine's Oratory

Some great views from up here - with some fresh air and sea views, however it is nearly always windy here. St Catherine's Lighthouse is not too far away from here and is recommended to see.

Nearest pub from The Oratory is The White Mouse Inn, Chale, also not too far away is The White Lion in Niton, and The Buddle Inn at St. Catherine's.

There at least two footpaths that run up to The Oratory {consult an Ordinance Survey Map for these} as well as the shorter but very steep path from the road which is sign-posted. This is easy to follow and the start can be found opposite a popular and signposted car park and viewpoint overlooking Blackgang Chine Adventure Park on the A3055.