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 ©
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