Batcombe

BatcombeBatcombe

St. Mary

 

The church stands below a line of hills from where, tradition has it, 'The Conjurer Mintern', a C17 local squire is supposed to have jumped over the tower on his horse, knocking off one of its pinnacles as he went! True or not the splendid C15 tower has been repaired. The nave with a wagon roof, attractive stone screen and chancel arch are all C15 although there was a restoration by John Hicks in 1864. The small round font is Norman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Beer Hackett

Beer hackBeer Hackett

St. Michael

This little church was rebuilt by Crickmay in 1882, probably replacing a medieval building.  In 1897 the tower was added by Ponting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Bradford Abbas

Bradford AbbBradford Abbas

St. Mary the Virgin

Bradford Abbas must rank as one of Dorset's most important village churches.  This is a largely 15c building with a magnificent embattled and pinnacle west tower with many niches, two still having the original figures.  Close to the tower is the remains of a 15c preaching cross.

The exact origins of this church are unknown, but according to the excellent guide book, when St Aldhelm became the Bishop of Sherborne in 705, his policy was to encourage churches in the nearby villages and this may have been one of them. Certainly, the present building was started by William Bradford, Abbot of Sherborne (1436 - 59).  Originally, there would have three altars in addition to the high altar.  By 1828 when a new incumbent was installed, he had to report that the building was in a sorry state with the roof leaking so badly that it could not be used in wet weather.  By 1848, things had improved and the seating increased by 183.  The wall above the rood screen and the box pews were removed in 1848.  In 1890 the roofs were completely repaired and the internal walls stripped of their plaster and re-pointed with the grim grey seen today.  The vestry was added in 1911.

The chancel screen is 15c.  The pulpit is good example of Jacobean craftsmanship and dated 1623.  There is a superb 16c font carried on four pillars decorated with the figures of Aldhelm, the first Bishop of Sherborne, Bishop Osmund of the 11c, Richard Beauchamp and John the Baptist.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Caundle Marsh

Caundle Marsh

St. Peter and St. Paul

This simple chapel style church, enhanced by a central bellcote, was built in 1857 to a design by R. H. Shout of Yeovil.  The wooden porch is particularly worthy of note.  There is a grave and monument to General Fox-Pitt, who was a co-founder of the Welsh Guards and lived nearby at Marsh Court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Chetnole

Blandford

Chetnole

St. Peter

Like many village churches Chetnole's has evolved over the centuries, but somehow the result here is exceptionally pleasing.  As you approach you are confronted with a magnificent C15 tower with a working clock and some intriguing gargoyles.  

The nave is C13 with a wooden barrel roof and one original lancet window.  The chancel and north aisle are by Slater (1859 - 65).  There is a most attractive, if tiny, organ in the chancel.

This is a delightful little church.

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Chilfrome

Chilfrome

Holy Trinity

Chilfrome is a delightful little hamlet set amidst water meadows.  There is no intrusion by modern buildings, almost as if all development ceased in 19c.

In the chancel arch of the little church there is evidence of an earlier building of 13c, but nothing else remains in this Victorian rebuild of 1852.  Inside it is a pleasing composition with a stone pulpit, accessed through the chancel arch and corbels sculpted into angels by the eminent Dorset craftsman Benjamin Grassby, who was responsible for some of the very best work in the county.*

(*For some other examples see Long BredyNorth PoortonEast Holme)

 

 

 

 The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Corscombe

Corscombe

St. Mary

There has been a church in this delightful setting since, at least 1315, when the list of known vicars was started.  None of the original structure remains because it was entirely rebuilt in 15c.  Of this work only the west tower, three bays of the south arcade, the north porch and parts of the north wall survive.

In 1746, in common with many others, the building was found to be badly decayed and the whole was repaired and the vestry rebuilt at the expense of one Thomas Hollis.  By 1876 the church was once again in a sorry state and was rebuilt and expanded by extending the nave eastwards and enlarging the chancel and south aisle.  These works were to a design by Mr Allen of Crewkerne and mostly paid for by George Troyte-Chaffyn-Grove.

Note on the list of Rectors William Grey, who in 1512 was only 21 years old and had to have a dispensation from the Pope.

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

East Chelborough/Lewcombe

East Chelborough/Lewcombe

St. James

St. James'  is one of those Dorset churches which is awkward to find, but well worth the effort.  This one is buried away at the end of a very long drive and adjacent to a private house.

At just 38 x 15 feet it is very small and Sir Nikolaus Pevsner thought it dated partly early 16c and  partly early 18c.  However, by far the most striking feature is the huge circular window that dominates the east wall.  This is a veritable regiment of angels shown from a variety of angles and records a death in 1893, so the glass is Victorian although the wood surrounding the lower half is clearly 18c.  Another smaller circular window adorns the rear of the building below the bellcote.  Interestingly and unusually,  the font has been placed in front the communion rails and is clearly 18c.  There is no formal pulpit, but there is a small three decker clergy pew.  The organ is generous for such a small building.

In all a tranquil and delightful place.

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Evershot

Evershot

St Osmond

Evershot is one of those intriguing settlements that seem too large to be a village yet really too small to be called a town.  It must have grown in importance with the coming of the nearby railway during the 19c.  The main street is generous and replete with a shop and the famous Acorn Inn, called 'The Sow & Acorn' by Thomas Hardy in 'Tess of the d'Urbevilles'.  At the higher end of the road, overlooking the houses, the church has been placed for all to see.

The original building to stand on the site was Norman, erected during the reign of Richard I (Coeur de Lion 1186-99).  The only elements to survive are part of the tower arch and the chancel arch, which was rebuilt between the north aisle and the organ chamber during the 19c restoration.  The present structure is essentially Perpendicular (1335-1530) and of great character, but the Victorians felt obliged to twice improve it in 1852-3 and again in 1864, both to designs by the Yeovil based architect, R H Shout*.  The walls of the organ chamber are lined with Ham stone ashlars and the exquisite corbels were sculpted by Benjamin Grassby (see North Poorton).  The embattled tower has a curious stair turret with a clock just below what Sir Nikolaus Pevsner describes as a "domical top and spire".  The clock, a gift from the third Earl of Ilchester in 1853, was designed by E. B. Dennison, who designed Big Ben, and made by E. J. Dent who was clockmaker to the Queen.

The font is Norman, although the pedestal and wooden cover are Victorian.

Perhaps the most important item in the building is the small brass on the north side of the chancel, which is a memorial to William Grey, who was the rector here from 1511 to 1524.  Known as a 'Chaliced Priest', this is a rare example of a brass because he is shown actually holding a chalice.

 This is a most attractive and very interesting church.

(*Also by R L Shout are : Caundle Marsh, Melbury Bubb and Sherborne Congregational Church)

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Folke

Folke

St. Lawrence

There is a trace of a Saxon door in the tower, but the first real reference is of 1292, when mention is made of the building being a chapel belonging to the Mother Church at Sherborne.  By 1405 it was described as being dependent on that church.  However, this fascinating Gothic Survival (not Revival) church was completely rebuilt in 1628 and sits at the end of a quiet lane, in a very peaceful setting, adjacent to a mellow manor house.  The plan is still medieval with an architectural style that leans towards Late Perpendicular.  There was a rebuild in 1875 of both the arcades and the crenellated parapets were added externally.

The wonderful furnishings owe much to classical influence and are designed for Prayer Book worship.  There are pews with shell top ends and a magnificent wooden screen surmounted by a great scroll, with a smaller one at the entrance to the north aisle.  The pulpit has an hour glass stand.  There is an interesting lectern, which is just a desk attached to the screen.  Note the small scrolled font with a lavish later cover.  In a glass case, there is an amazing wooden chain of 769 single links and cross, all carved from a single piece of lime wood by the Rev Wm Mayo, a past incumbent.

This delightful church will enchant anyone interested in beautiful wooden objects.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

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