Crucifix: This is a carved, coloured, and gilded ‘Christus Rex’ crucifix of Christ our Lord - crowned like a king and fully vested as a priest. Originally hung on a wall with a dark red velvet finish - this was achieved by spraying coloured flock onto an adhesive surface - the colour of the wall was changed to the pale green of today when the church was re-decorated in 2007. The crucifix was professionally cleaned and restored with new gold leaf in 2011.
The Altar: The altar was presented to the church by Dr and Mrs Fitzpatrick, whose elder son, Terence, became a Benedictine monk and celebrated his first Mass in the old St Joseph’s in May 1961. The altar was carved by Mr John Green. It is made of Nabrescina marble which stood out against the original green marble sanctuary floor. When first built, the altar was bigger and set higher in the sanctuary, it moved nearer the congregation in the 1970s and was made smaller and brought even nearer during the re-ordering in 1990. In 2018 it was moved slightly back to allow the priest to walk round it easily and the carpet was replaced with black polished granite.
The Benches: These were specifically designed by the architect Peter Lamprell-Jarrett of Archard & Partners and made from afromosia, an African hard wood. The attached kneelers were added at a later date.
The Ambo: This replaced the pulpit when the church was re-ordered in 1990. Re-using some of the afromosia wood from the pulpit, it also incorporates some of the surplus marble from the altar.
Stations of the Cross: Around the smooth flat front of the gallery are the Stations of the Cross, incised in outline into the Portland Stone panels. Carved in situ by John Green, the outlines are filled in red and the Lord’s aureole in gilt.
The Baptismal Font: Originally situated in a separate baptistery (now the Repository), this was moved into the main body of the church in the 1970s. The font is made of Portland Stone and is also the work of John Green.
Gallery Stained Glass Window (1991): Made by Buckfast Abbey, this window is abstract in design, but has a patronal emblem in each corner, a lily for St Joseph and a crozier for St Walburga.
The Engraved Glass Screen: The whole church can be seen through the decorated glass screen which divides the narthex from the church itself. Often missed are the 4 glass panels delicately engraved with angels, and the 2 glass panels engraved with fish and a cross.
Bell Tower: In 1993, Father Symons, who was based in Swanage at the time, donated the bell for the Bell Tower. This was in place to call people to Midnight Mass that year. The bell is rung three times by an altar server at the consecration during the Mass. A stainless steel cross, illuminated at night, was placed on top of the bell tower in October 2018. It replaced a wooden one that had rotted away.
Items of Interest on the Left Side of the Church
Stained Glass window (2000): This is the newest of the stained glass windows made in the glass studio of Buckfast Abbey. Commissioned to mark the Millennium it depicts the words of the Psalm “Let my prayers rise before you like incense”. Note the Latin ‘sicut incensum’ at the foot of the window and smoke (depicting prayers) rising to the Holy Spirit.
Statue of St Walburga (1995): Carved out of sycamore, Tom Preator made this statue of St Walburga dressed as a Benedictine nun. She, with 38 other sisters, left their convent in Wimborne and joined St Boniface to help him with his apostolic work in Germany. She became the Abbess of the Monastery and holds her crozier (her patronal emblem) in her right hand.
Statue of St Joseph (1995): Carved out of sycamore, Tom Preator portrays Joseph as ‘the carpenter’. Joseph would have made many yokes for the people to use on their oxen, all carefully carved to fit. Tom saw his work as exemplifying our Lord saying “my yoke is easy and my burden light” thus assuring us that the Lord never asks us to accept more than we can bear.
Side Chapel: Formerly the Lady Chapel, this became the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in 1990 until the tabernacle was relocated to the sanctuary in 2018. The stained glass at the back of the chapel was made by the monks at Buckfast Abbey and depicts the Gospel reading of the ‘miraculous catch of fish’.
Items of Interest on the Right Side of the Church
Lady Chapel: Formerly St Joseph’s Chapel, this became the Lady Chapel in 1990. The Lady Chapel is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and is a place for private prayer. Votive candles (lit for prayer intentions) can be lit and left here. The Stained Glass Window (1990) behind the statue of Our lady was made by the monks at Buckfast Abbey and shows roses which symbolise both the Rosary and Our Lady. When the Rosary is said, it is usually said here in this Chapel.
Triptych: This was in the chapel at Lord Ventry's home in Lindsay Road. Originally from an Anglican church, it was left to St Joseph's by Lord Ventry in his Will in 1987. The central panel shows the Nativity, with the Annunciation to the left, and the Visitation to the right.
Statue of Our Lady & The Holy Child: Canon Richardson commissioned Tom Preator to carve this statue of Our Lady and asked that she should be holding the Holy Child out as if inviting people to touch him or hold him. The addition of the infant child holding onto his mother’s necklace portrays the Holy Child as behaving as any young child would.
Side Room: The Stained Glass Window was originally owned by a St Osmund's parishioner, Mrs Pawle. It was painted by her daughter and shows Our Lady. It carries the inscription ‘Ecce Ancilla Domini’ (Behold the handmaid of the Lord). It was given to St Joseph's Church by her daughter-in-law Mrs Nan Pawle, (who was Polish and a parishioner), when she moved to London 1992 after her husband's death.