St Peter and St Paul

The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in Ringwood is a landmark of the Western New Forest. There has been a church on this site since Saxon times and for more than 1000 years it has been integral to the life of the town. For centuries, the church bells have summoned people for worship, rung out in celebration or been used to raise the alarm.

In the 1850s the medieval church was rebuilt and the tower strengthened and repaired creating the present building – the largest public space in Ringwood seating nearly 350 people.

The town lacks any dedicated civic building and none of its five schools – all on confined sites – have a hall that can accommodate an audience of more than 150. The church is regularly used for services by the schools as well as for civic and ceremonial events.

Although the current building is generally sound, there is clear evidence of the harsh toll taken by time and the weather 160 years after its reconstruction. Left untreated, this will eventually threaten its stability and make it unusable.

The church members are responsible for the maintenance of the building. There is no state aid to maintain churches and so grants such as those recently given by the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund are invaluable.

But more than simply maintaining the current building, the church has great potential as a key community asset if it can be updated.

Renovation would make the building available for a wide variety of performances and events. This renovation would include flexible seating, a new level floor, modern heating and versatile lighting appropriate to new and exciting usages, with spaces that can be used by both large and small groups. Storage and other infrastructure will need to be installed to support a much wider range of activities.

A group from the church is working to expand the usability and flexibility of the church building to serve the entire town community. It will still remain the parish church of Ringwood, but it will be a building that will have a much broader function and relevance.

More than £1 million will need to be raised to make these changes.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact office@ringwoodparish.org.uk.