History

History of All Saints Parish Church – courtesy of local historian and parishioner John Hawkins

All Saints Plaque
In the late nineteenth century St Ives comprised of a few cottages and one big house, with some nearby farms at Woolsbridge, Ashley and St Leonards - a population of around 50. The nearest church was Ringwood, with the mother church 9 miles away at Christchurch Priory. Occasionally a service would be held locally in a field by a visiting priest and people would bring their own chairs!

By 1905 as numbers grew some residents pressed the Diocese for their own Church; however it was not until 1911 that approval for this was granted. Land and a design were donated, fund raising began, and locals built their Mission Church of All Saints in 1912. Everything was run by volunteers and a lay reader. The building costs of £500 were paid by 1913, and remaining loans by 1917.

Local requests for independence were delayed by problems providing the stipend for a resident priest. A temporary solution was eventually found in 1927, when the Conventional District of St Ives and St Leonards was created covering parts of both Ringwood and Christchurch Parishes. Curates-in-charge at Christchurch assisted and maintained continuity. Meanwhile in 1932 the civil parish of St Leonards and St Ives was formed, and by a large majority at their first council meeting decided not to change their name to that of the church.

A parsonage was provided in 1937, and eventually in 1962 a wooden church hall was built.

By the 1960’s both church and parsonage were in need of repair, and a nearby expansion to the population of around 2000 was proposed. In 1967 fundraising began but local authority planners vetoed a proposal to rebuild on the site of the parsonage. However, by now the increase to the local population merited true independence and the ecclesiastical parish of St Leonards and St Ives was created two years later, in 1969.

The hall was prepared for services, the old church was demolished and the new All Saints Parish Church was built in 1972. A grant was awarded by the Diocese which covered two thirds of the cost, although for reasons of economy it was decided to have a flat roof to the church. This proved problematic over time, so as a result of more fundraising it was replaced by a gabled root in 1982, and all loans and debts were cleared by 1985.

Local fundraising and generosity did not end there! In 1993, largely through the generosity of a local churchgoer, the rapidly deteriorating old wooden hall was finally replaced at a cost of nearly £200,000 by a modern new Church Centre, on September 11th 1994 and which was played a key role in broadening the activity base of the Church and its involvement in the local community.

 
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