Bettiscombe

BettiscombeBettiscombe 

St Stephen

This is a most attractive setting for a rural church, tucked in under Pilsdon Pen with Marshwood Vale laid out below.  There are just a scattering of houses with the old rectory next door.  Certainly not a village, more a hamlet.   The tower is medieval, but the rest is the result of a sensitive restoration by John Hicks of Dorchester.  The work, which was completed in 1862 included re-using some of the original windows.  

The stone pulpit is Victorian.  The font is also Victorian and carved by Benjamin Grassby, whose exquisite work can be found in many of Dorset's restorations of the period. (see Long Bredy and North Poorton)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Blackdown

BlackdownBlackdown

Holy Trinity

This is a simple chapel-style building serving a small community, almost hidden in a most attractive valley.  It was designed by E L Bracebridge (his only recorded church in the county) and built 1839-40. There is an impressive stainless steel spire on the roof, which has the effect of bringing the church very much up to date.  At the rear, a stairway leads to a blocked-up doorway that would certainly have led to a gallery, now no longer.  

In 1958 the church installed electric lighting, but there was still an old iron stove used for heating. Then on 16/17 December 1961, in the time of Rev F B Horsey the church caught fire, and all that remained were the stonewalls. It was once thought it was the action of the Chard Fire Bug, but it was probably caused by excessive heat from the stove chimney, which had been lit for the next day’s service and which went up besides the gallery timber.


A citation for faculty to build the new church arrived in November 1963, but it was argued that the restored building rebuilt in 1964, by Spillers of Chard, should be designed for the dual purpose of church and village hall, but those supporters did not get their way. The architect Mr Stark of Jackson and Stark, Dorchester was responsible for the modern interior. 

The walls were repaired and replastered on the inside; a new roof was added, complete with the stainless steel bell spire. The consecration service was held on November 29 1964 by the Ven, the Archdeacon Maddocks, and televised on Tuesday December 1st.

Inside the church is quite plain, but light and airy.  There is no pulpit.  The cauldron style font is imaginatively mounted in a steel frame and the lectern is worthy of close inspection

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Bothenhampton - New Church

bothenhampton1.jpgBothenhampton - New Church

Holy Trinity

This most attractive church, an early example of the Arts & Crafts movement, was consecrated by  Rt. Rev. John Wordsworth (Bishop of Salisbury 1885-1911) on 17th January 1890 to replace an old building.  The architect was Edward Prior, who had designed the remarkable Pier Terrace of 1885 at West Bay when he was only 33.  It is cleverly sited slightly above the village, but below the adjacent hill.

The church is entered through a southern porch via an ancient oak door transferred from the 'old' church.  The interior is truly stunning.  The aisle sweeps up towards the chancel and above, three huge pointed stone arches leap across the interior from almost floor level in a very pleasing and theatrical fashion.  A fourth arch is integral with the west wall and massive oak arches are employed in the chancel roof to form an immensely strong and visually attractive structure.  The nave, which is only 48 feet long, is lit by lancet windows on either side with a rose window high on the west end to give further light.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©


 

The stone pulpit, which is reached from behind, was encased in carved oak panelling by E.H.Gilbert of Bridport in 1904 to hide painted decoration by Macdonald Gill, whose work had ceased to find favour by then.  The communion table was a gift of the architect and probably by A.H.Mason, a cabinet maker associated with the Arts & Crafts movement and carries a front panel in painted gesso by W.R. Lethaby  The church guide says the east window is by Christopher Whall who is much associated with the movement, although Sir Nikolaus Pevsner suggests it is probably also by Lethaby.  The chancel screen of 1910 in wrought iron is by R.B.Williams & Sons of Bridport.  The magnificent font was a gift from a churchwarden at the time of the consecration and is in the form of an alabaster bowl supported by forest marble columns on a base of alabaster, in turn mounted on circular steps of blue Keinton stone.  There is a most beautiful lectern, not mentioned in the guides, but well worth noting.  The seating is of 1966 and specified as 'Coventry Cathedral' type.

There is a superb village and church guide by Cyril Kay, twice a churchwarden of the church.

 

 

Bothenhampton - Old Church

Boten oldBothenhampton - Old Church

Holy Trinity

The origins of this building are probably Norman, however the chancel is 14c and the tower 15c.  In the 1880s the church had become too small and decayed to be worth repairing so it was decided to apply for a faculty to build a new larger one a mile and a half away.  Most of the old church was demolished leaving just the tower and chancel.  Inside there is a fine 18c reredos with altar rails.  

By the 1970s the building had passed into the hands of the Redundant Churches Fund and was in need of substantial repair.  The work was overseen by the eminent architect, Kenneth Wiltshire, and by 1975 the Fund had been awarded a Certificate of Commendation for the conservation.

Even in its truncated form, this is a very pleasing and peaceful little church, well worth a visit.

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Bradpole

Blandford

Bradpole

Holy Trinity

This is an exceptionally difficult church to photograph because it is not possible to get far enough away to frame the whole building.  It is a large church of 1846 in the Early English Style with a curious spire, which was added to the tower in 1863.   C.E.Ponting further added to it in 1897.  The pale blue paint on the tower ventilators and porch doors is interesting if a little bizarre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Bridport St Swithun

Blandford

Bridport

St. Swithun

Towards the western end of Bridport lies the suburb of Allingnton, notable because of its proximity to what was the Gundry Rope Works, once the town's principal employer. The older houses, arranged mainly along the north/south road, were built to accommodate the artisans. The church of St Swithun, which is set dramatically back at the southern end of this narrow road, is an unexpected surprise. 

The brilliant white rendered building is by any standard magnificent with an impressive portico supported on four Tuscan columns with a circular cupula above and described by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as having "a delightful front." This is the work of Charles Wallis in 1826-7. Internally, the building is rectangular with a flat white ceiling. Nevertheless, on entry the eye is naturally drawn forward to the large and very striking crucifix that hangs above the central altar. Either side are chapel altars and, being a high church, facilities for reserving the sacrament. There is a gallery at the rear which stretches across the entire width of the building and supports the splendid organ.

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Bridport St.Mary

Blandford

Bridport

St. Mary

This is a wonderful mellow stone church with an adjacent school, set surprisingly far south from the town centre on the West Bay road.  

Although there was certainly a church on or near the site much earlier, the oldest parts of the present building are the pointed arches of 1225 in the north and south transepts.  The 72 foot tower and supporting arches are 1400.

In 1860, the Victorians employed John Hicks, the Dorchester architect, to undertake an extensive restoration.  At the time, he had Thomas Hardy, who would later become the world-famous novelist, as an architectural pupil, so it is reasonable to assume he would have worked on this important project.  Hicks was responsible for the building or restoration of at least 27 churches in the county. (For further information see East Holme) The project involved the complete rebuilding of the chancel and lengthening the nave by two new bays.  The work allowed the destruction of some unsightly galleries.  The end result is a triumph because the new and the old have been skilfully and very sensitively grafted together.  The Caen stone pulpit is also of this period and features the Sermon on the Mount in relief.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©


 

In the north transept, there is a recumbent figure of a knight.  The chain-mail covering of the head and body together with the kick spurs suggests that it belongs to the period before 1300.  The identity is uncertain, but it might well be John Gervase who held land locally and was a generous benefactor to the church.

The cross under the east chancel window was given in memory of a churchwarden and the silver-work represents the pebbles on the Chesil Beach.  The window in the Lady chapel was erected in memory of Queen Victoria.

The parvis chamber over the south porch used not to be open to the body of the church.  Originally, it would have been used by visiting priests, who served the three chantries which the church contained in Mediaeval times.  Note the chimney outside that once led to a fireplace used to keep them warm in winter.  The font is 1400.

The first organ was installed in 1815 by G B England and rebuilt in the north chancel in 1884.  In 1934, a pneumatic action and mobile console were added.  A legacy made a complete restoration by Geo. Osmond of Taunton possible in 1984, which incorporated Walker organ components from a redundant church in Tonbridge Wells.

In 1996, the roof was badly damaged by fire, although it has now been fully repaired.  During the restoration the opportunity was taken to lay a new stone floor, fit new lighting and provide modern pews.  Note the most attractive bosses in the stunning wagon roof.

There is an excellent guide available for this superb church.

 

Broadoak

Blandford

Broadoak

St. Paul

This simple little church is a chapel-of-ease and just serves the hamlet of Broadoak.  It was erected during the 1860s at the instigation the the Symondsbury incumbent, Revd. Henry Rawlinson, who was also responsible for Eype church.  Of great importance is the Broadoak Chalice, which was purchased as a thanksgiving offering by local farmers in 1866 for being spared from the effects of a particularly virulent cattle disease called Rinderpest.  This condition, similar to foot-and-mouth, had wiped out herds all over West Dorset, ruining many farmers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Broadwindsor

Blandford

Broadwindsor

The Navity of John the Baptist

This large and attractive church stands above the village and harmonises brilliantly with it.  It is very probable that there was a church on the site in Saxon times, but there is now no evidence of it.  The earliest indications are from C11. The cylindrical columns of the south arcade are C12 and originally would have carried curved arches and not the present pointed ones, which belong to the Norman/early English period.  The north aisle was added in C13.  During C14, the nave roof was raised and the a clerestory inserted, the tower was built and the chancel extended eastwards.  During C15, the tower was remodelled with a new stair turret and the south aisle entirely rebuilt.

Towards the end of C17 or early C18 a double-decker gallery was installed to accommodate the choir in the upper storey, while the lower was for men who were not prepared (or perhaps unable?) to rent pews in the main body of the church. 

In 1818 the rood screen and loft were removed.  By 1848, along with many other churches in the county, the building had been allowed to seriously decay and there was a proposal to dramatically improve the building, including a spire for the tower.  However this proved to be too expensive and improvements were restricted to just a new porch, repairs to the tower and, interestingly, the box pews were increased in height so that the incumbent could only see his congregation when he was in the pulpit!  The rent from pews was a most important element in the income of the church and the position and quality of the individual pews were crucial to the social standing of the families renting them.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©


 

In 1868, the chancel and much of the nave were demolished to make way for a longer nave, the provision of a vestry, the rebuilding of the northern aisle and enlarging the southern porch. (See the photo) 

demolish

Surprisingly, the old box pews were swept away in favour of the 'new' open design.  By this time, the Victorians enjoyed a degree of display of their finery and that could not be seen in a box pew.  The architect was J Mountford Allen of Crewkerne.

The font is Norman.  There is a large painting of Moses and Aaron, which is thought to be mid C17.

A really excellent church guide is available.

 

 

Burstock

Burstock

St. Andrew

This charming church in a peaceful and very rural setting is, for once, a happy marriage of a C15 tower with a Victorian remainder.  The successful rebuild of 1877 is by P H Peters and is the only recorded example of his work in the county.  

Note, there is no pulpit although there is a generous reading desk.  The tub font with rope moulding is Norman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

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