DHCT’s celebrated Church Crawls offer you the opportunity to learn more about our wonderful architectural heritage. Two of our Trustees are experts in the fields of church history and architecture and of painted and stained glass. They lead a group of up to 30 Friends and their guests around a small selection of rural or urban churches sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge of their subjects. We meet at 10.30 and usually visit two churches before sharing a pub lunch, which provides plenty of time to meet Trustees and other Friends. Several more churches are interpreted in the afternoon before a cup of tea to round off the day. The Crawls take place 4 or 5 times a year and have become very popular.
Programme for 2019:
Detail from a stained glass window depicting St Francis by Wippell & Co
(1963) in St George, Fordington, Dorchester
The following are the dates planned for events during the coming year. Occasionally there may have to be minor changes to venues or dates so please check with Sue Smith (see below) before sallying forth!
Lecture lunches – at The Langton Arms, Tarrant Monkton
Thursday 28 February – 20th century stained glass – Mr Brian Woodruffe
Tuesday 26th March – Remembering the War Dead, 1917-27 – Dr T Connor
We meet at 10.30am, visit 4 or 5 churches and enjoy a pub lunch and usually finish the afternoon session with a “tomb top” tea before going our separate ways about 4.30pm
Tuesday May 14th: Meet at: Whitchurch Canonicorum
Wednesday 12th June: Tollard Royal
Tuesday July 16th: Radipole
Thursday 19th September: Charlton
Ride & Stride – Saturday 14th September
Annual event: October 2019 – details to follow
for further details. Information about all events will be placed on the Trust’s website throughout the year. Numbers for church crawls and lectures are limited so please book in good time if you wish to join in on any of the events.
Reports from 2018
Full details will appear on this website about four weeks in advance of each event.
Wednesday 5th July 2017
DHCT Church Crawl was held on Wednesday July 5th 2017
Dorset Historic Churches Trust
This wonderful day out married the best of Dorset churches with the best of Dorset countryside in the best of Dorset weather.
Organiser Sue Smith had selected the Bride Valley for the attentions of a group of over 40 Friends of DHCT and the group met at St Michael and All Angels, Little Bredy, where Sir Philip Williams invited everyone for coffee in the village hall at the beginning of the day.
This emphasised the family feel of these outings, as we were able to take a peek at the beauties of Bridehead before looking at the church itself, which the Trust has recently supported with a grant towards refurbishments.
St Peter’s Long Bredy is found in a setting of rural delight and a focus of attention was the outstanding table tombs in the yard, as well as the church and tower.
Dropping down the valley to Litton Cheney, the group found St Mary’s church large for a Dorset village but retaining some of its very impressive 13th century masons’ work.
By now having worked up a good appetite on a hot day, the group was happy to arrive at The Crown Inn, Puncknowle, where lunch had been ordered, before investigating the church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin. This is a building full of interest and history, starting from the Norman chancel arch and running through to the present day.
To conclude a much enjoyed ‘crawl’, the party doubled back eastwards to St Michael’s, Winterbourne Steepleton. This, too, is a church full of fascinating features, but attention was inevitably focussed on the amazing survival of the famous Saxon angel, now located inside the church.
The day concluded with tea and cakes, as well as hearty thanks, proposed by the Chairman Simon Pomeroy, to our architectural historian, Dr Tim Connor and stained glass expert, Sue Smith. Many people had worked to make this event such a delight, including David Bruce-Payne, who entertained the group with organ music where this was possible.
Simon Pomeroy concluded by saying that this would be the last crawl before the Ride+Stride, the Trust’s major fund-raising event on 9th September. He wished all well with this important day in the DHCT year.
Dorset Historic Churches Trust
Church Crawl – Was held on Thursday 14th September 2017
The 2017 season of summer church crawls came to a very successful conclusion on Thursday 14th September with a tour of five diverse but most interesting buildings clustered round Witchampton.
Some 30 Friends of DHCT gathered first at All Saints, Chalbury, where organisers Sue Smith and Sue Bruce-Payne served coffee before the DHCT Trustee and architectural historian Dr Tim Connor spoke about the building. For those not familiar with this gem of a church – mainly Georgian and a miraculous survivor of the Victorian restorations – its beautiful box pew-filled interior and its archetypal merrie-England setting were a revelation.
Moving on to St Wolfrida, Horton, the group were confronted with something largely of a similar period but a quite different feeling. Here the exterior impresses with its solid, powerful tower of 1722 inspired perhaps by the work of Sir John Vanbrugh at the now demolished Eastbury House at Tarrant Gunville. Meanwhile inside the Broase tombs moved from a lost priory and the 18th century reredos were very much worth close study.
The centre of the day’s meanderings was Witchampton, where a sandwich lunch was arranged in the village hall after the group had studied the church of St Mary and St Cuthberga. Largely rebuilt in 1840, this church contains some interesting memorials, especially to the Uvedale and Cole families and some impressive early 20th century work, particularly the windows of 1938 by Sir Ninian Comper. The reredos of a similar period provided the nativity image for this year’s DHCT Christmas Card, which was available for purchase on the day, and may be ordered via the shop pages of the website: www.dhct.org.uk/index.php/shop
The church of St Mary, Tarrant Rushton, is a very attractive cruciform building, chiefly Norman in date, but now looking rather severe without its internal plaster wall coverings. The curious squint for lepers and the large Cobham Tomb in the churchyard provided much to look at. We were also able to see another of the rare stained glass windows provided by this circuit of churches – by Francis Skeete.
These days out always aim to finish on a high note, in this case emphatically supplied by St Mary’s, Tarrant Crawford. This building is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust as the local population, never great, has moved away in modern times. The rich and important nunnery of the middle ages has completely disappeared, apart from a few private farm buildings, leaving the church, probably intended for the use of the servants, alone in a field. This decline has allowed the most impressive wall paintings to survive from the fourteenth century and reminds us how colourful most churches of the middle ages must have been.
A vote of thanks to our guide and leaders was offered by trustee Tim Smith before, following tea and a welcome slice of cake, crawlers dispersed.