Morecombelake

Church imageMorecombelake

St. Gabriel

This simple chapel-style building that lies to the south of the main road in the village well-known for its Dorset knobs, gives no idea of the interesting things inside.  It was erected in 1841 largely at the expense of the incumbent of Whitchurch Canonicorum, in whose parish it rests.  The design is probably by T.H.Wyatt and Brandon.  It replaced the ancient 13c church at Stanton St. Gabriel, which had fallen into a ruinous state.  

The chancel screen is of particular interest because it was formed from what was left of the rood screen at Stanton St. Gabriel.  Note, the tub shaped Norman font, the new, most attractive, chiselled texts, picked out in red, in the porch and a most moving painting of Christ on fabric. There is a generous pulpit and the little organ at the rear of the building came from an obsolete Methodist chapel, for a nominal sum because "it would be used for the glory of God."

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Moreton

Alton St. Pancras

MORETON

St. Nicholas

The little church is built on raised ground within sight of its sponsor's mansion house and some distance from the village.  It was built in 1776 to replace a medieval predecessor on the same site.  The style is Georgian Gothic and it was erected for James Frampton, who had completed his house in 1774.  The design is exciting and the whole is a bright and cheerful place, even on a wet and dismal day.

A north aisle was added in 1841 and the west porch followed in 1848. The gaily painted font, placed in the centre of the rib-vaulted nave, was made in 1845.  Unfortunately, the pulpit and benches had to wait until 1850 and their design reflects a later and more ponderous Victorian approach.  There are splendid candelabra, both hanging from the ceiling and reaching up from the pews, which also have an intriguing leaf decoration.  The reredos and Communion Table are elaborate and brightly painted.

In May 1940, a stray German bomb demolished the apse and smashed every window in the building.  Much later, in 1955 after the structure had long been repaired, the brilliantly inspired decision was taken to instruct Sir Lawrence Whistler to create engraved glass windows, initially just for the apse.  However, over a period of thirty years, all the windows would receive Whistler engravings, making this church unique in the world.  Unlike stained glass, engravings let light stream into the building, thus almost magically allowing the inside to resonate with the outside setting.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©


The graveyard is some distance south of the church, but well worth a visit.  There is a very smart lych-gate, which was once part of the entrance to the kitchen gardens of Moreton House.  It consists of a magnificent roof supported on four white-painted wooden Ionic columns.  Inside, it is recorded that Captain John Hulton erected the oblisk on the hill to the south in memory of his friend James Frampton in 1781.  Perhaps the most important remains are those of T E Lawrence, better known as 'Lawrence of Arabia', who lies in a simple grave almost at the extremity of the graveyard.  There is a superb effigy of Lawrence in St Martins church in Wareham. (See also Wikipedia - click here)

Moreton

Church imageMoreton

St. Nicholas

The little church is built on raised ground within sight of its sponsor's mansion house and some distance from the village.  It was built in 1776 to replace a medieval predecessor on the same site.  The style is Georgian Gothic and it was erected for James Frampton, who had completed his house in 1774.  The design is exciting and the whole is a bright and cheerful place, even on a wet and dismal day.

A north aisle was added in 1841 and the west porch followed in 1848. The gaily painted font, placed in the centre of the rib-vaulted nave, was made in 1845.  Unfortunately, the pulpit and benches had to wait until 1850 and their design reflects a later and more ponderous Victorian approach.  There are splendid candelabra, both hanging from the ceiling and reaching up from the pews, which also have an intriguing leaf decoration.  The reredos and Communion Table are elaborate and brightly painted.

In May 1940, a stray German bomb demolished the apse and smashed every window in the building.  Much later, in 1955 after the structure had long been repaired, the brilliantly inspired decision was taken to instruct Sir Lawrence Whistler to create engraved glass windows, initially just for the apse.  However, over a period of thirty years, all the windows would receive Whistler engravings, making this church unique in the world.  Unlike stained glass, engravings let light stream into the building, thus almost magically allowing the inside to resonate with the outside setting.

The graveyard is some distance south of the church, but well worth a visit.  There is a very smart lych-gate, which was once part of the entrance to the kitchen gardens of Moreton House.  It consists of a magnificent roof supported on four white-painted wooden Ionic columns.  Inside, it is recorded that Captain John Hulton erected the oblisk on the hill to the south in memory of his friend James Frampton in 1781.  Perhaps the most important remains are those of T E Lawrence, better known as 'Lawrence of Arabia', who lies in a simple grave almost at the extremity of the graveyard.  There is a superb effigy of Lawrence in St Martins church in Wareham. (See also Wikipedia - click here)

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Mosterton

Church imageMosterton

St Mary 

This is a church which appears rather dull from the outside, but the chapel-style interior is full of great interest and well worth a visit.

It was built in 1833 to a design by Edmund Pearce, which is his only recorded church in the county.  There is a large gallery across the west end and large windows allow light to flood into the building.  However, it is the sensational 1975 stained glass in the east window of the chancel on an appropriately agricultural theme that is so attractive and inspiring.

Note, the diminutive, but most attractive organ.

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Motcombe

Church imageMotcombe

St Mary

 

The present church was designed in the then fashionable Neo Norman style by G. Alexander and completed in 1846. It replaced an earlier building about which this commentator has been unable to find any details. This project must have proved to be an extremely difficult brief because the architect was obliged to draw up no less than six different sets of plans for his clients. He was asked to change from the Early English style to Perpendicular and alter the size of the church three times. The cost came to £1,901 19s 6d of which £1,760 13s 10d was raised by subscription. Interestingly, the faculty of 1847 was issued to confirm what had already been built!. (Alexander was also responsible for East Stour 1842: Enmore Green 1843 and Sutton Waldron: 1847).

The church sits in a delightful churchyard next to the village school. Inside, the building is tall and bright with light streaming in through the generous aisle windows. Arches on either side of the nave, which are supported by octagonal piers, lend a sense of grandeur to the scene.

The font is C13 with a C17 cover.

A new and very beautiful glass door has been installed between the porch and the church. Also, in a very far sighted effort to offer really modern facilities, a new servery and lavatory have been provided at the rear of the north aisle.

This is a church well worth visiting.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Nether Cerne

Church imageNether Cerne

All Saints (Redundant)

This must surely be one of the most attractive suites of buildings in Dorset, resting on the banks of the river Cerne and incorporating a medieval church and a 17/18c mellow stone manor house.  The parish was once part of the endowment of Cerne Abbey and was served by its Benedictine monks until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539.  After that it was a 'perpetual curacy' served by various other parishes until services ceased in 1968.  It was finally declared redundant in 1971 and came to the Redundant Churches Fund in 1973.

The nave and chancel are one and together with the south chapel originate from the late 13c.  Along with many Dorset towers, this one was also built late in the 15c, although it differs from most in being adorned by angels rather than gargoyles. In 1876 the whole building was restored.  The Purbeck stone font is Norman and has a fluted and ribbed cauldron bowl.

In the floor there is a slab in memory of John Dammer who died in 1685.  He is thought to have been the great-grandfather of the first Lord Milton who was responsible for building the mansion house at Milton Abbey (see Milton Abbey).

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Nether Compton

Church imageNether Compton

St. Nicholas

By any standard this is an interesting church.  A building has stood here for 700 years, initially almost certainly being served by Benedictine monks from Sherborne Abbey until the first Rector was appointed in 1405.  Also in the 15c the church was enlarged, given a western tower, a northern side chapel and the nave was partly re-built and covered with a barrel roof, becoming more or less as it is today.

Tradition has it that after the Battle of Langport during the English Civil War, Cromwell's troops stabled their horses in the building and "burnt popish furnishings".  (see Corfe Castle)

The 15c stone screen between the nave and chancel is most attractive and nearby there is an excellent example of a stairway and arch once used to service the rood loft.  It is much more common to find these apertures partially or entirely blocked-up.  The barrel roof to the nave has moulded ribs and intriguing carved bosses.  The one shown above is of a human face.  Some of the pews are 17c, although some are modern.  The pulpit is Elizabethan with classic blank arches.  Of particular note are the consecration or 'splash' crosses, which can be found both inside and outside the church.  These indicate the position where Holy water splashed against the structure during the consecration ceremony.  The north chapel was originally 15c, but altered by the Victorians when, in 1885, the Gooden family from Over Compton restored the whole building and added a vestry, laid tiles on the floor and installed under-floor heating.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Netherbury

NetherburyNetherbury

St. Mary

 Netherbury is a delightful village of mature cottages and houses set in a valley overlooked by the ancient church, which stands well above the bulk of the settlement.  This very pleasing building is mainly C14 and C15 with some inevitable C19 restoration, when the roofs were renewed.  There is a shallow Norman font where Admiral Sir Samuel Hood (1724-1816), who stood high in the esteem of the Navy, was christened. A splendid canopied tomb supports a rather battered 1480 alabaster effigy of a knight in armour, who is thought to be a member of the More family.  However, the most important item in the church is the magnificent Jacobean pulpit with superb inlaid panel decoration and a pair of highly polished brass banisters leading up to it. 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

North Poorton

Church imageNorth Poorton

St. Mary Magdalene

This is a delightful little Victorian country church, which replaced the nearby ruin of an earlier building.  It was built in 1861-62 to a design by John Hicks and many consider it to be his finest achievement.   The new building was very much the responsibility of Rev. Thomas Sanctuary, who was the Archdeacon of Dorset and vicar of Powerstock (1848 - 89)

The setting is serenely peaceful and the building seems to harmonise extraordinarily well.  Sir Nikolaus Pevsner describes the 52 ft. octagonal minaret on the north side of the nave as a "tower with a spire".  It contains a single bell and is the most striking feature of the building, although the inside is also interesting.  The exquisite capitals were sculpted by Benjamin Grassby, who was responsible for work in several Dorset Churches.  Interestingly, Joan Brocklebank, in her excellent book 'Victorian Stone Carvers in Dorset Churches' suggests that there was some friction between Grassby and his Worcester employer during his employment on this project and may have led directly to his establishing a workshop in Powerstock to be near his patron, Thomas Sanctuary. The  brilliant white richly carved stone pulpit is certainly arresting, although this is probably the work of Grassby's erstwhile employer, R.L.Boulton.  The Victorian font is magnificent and the decorative floor tiling around it worthy of close inspection and very similar to those found in Powerstock.  The simple second font came originally from West Milton old church.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Oborne - New Church

Church imageOborne New Church

St. Cuthbert

This high Victorian church complete with an apse and single bell turret occupies a rural setting apart from other buildings.  It was designed by Slater and completed in 1862 after a decision was taken to leave the 'old' church because it had been allowed to decay so much as to make restoration unrealistic.  It was subsequently demolished, leaving just the chancel (see Oborne Old Church)

The 'new' building is impressive and enjoys large windows, which allow light to stream in.  The chancel arch is moulded with different stone in alternate courses, but perhaps the most striking items are the brilliant white stone pulpit and font; unmistakably High Victorian.

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Oborne - Old Church

Church imageOborne Old Church

St. Cuthbert

This little building, now redundant, sits on a site beside a busy road that has been occupied by a church since 970 AD.  There is no trace of the original building that would have been served by monks from nearby Sherborne Abbey.

The present building dates from 1533, of which only the chancel remains.

As was so often the case, the building had been allowed to decay badly and by 1860 the advice was to abandon it and build something else on an entirely new site half a mile away to the north.  And so the old church was demolished leaving just the chancel standing for the next 70 years. (see Oborne New Church)

In the 1930s it was restored with the help of the architect A W Powys.  There is an excellent 16c barrel roof and a pulpit dated 1639.  The Communion rails are described as ‘good examples of 17c rustic workmanship’.  The 15c octagonal font came from the now vanished church of North Wooton.

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Okeford Fitzpaine

Church imageOkeford Fitzpaine

St Andrew

This delightful village has settled in a fold of the hills. There are some exquisite Dorset cottages as well as some bigger and more impressive buildings. None more attractive than the mid C18 rectory originally built for the Rev. Duke Butler. Sir Frederick Treves, the eminent London surgeon who was Surgeon General to King Edward VII, wrote in his splendid book 'Highways and Byways in Dorset' of 1906 that the village had derived its name from the family Fitzpaine. They were excused payment of certain dues by King Henry III for their "good services to the King at the Battle of Lewis" (1264). However there is a suggestion that the family were actually fighting against the King and had taken him prisoner and were using his seal as they liked! 

This is an interesting and impressively large church that is sited on slightly rising ground. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the tower, which is a strange mixture of C14 and C15. The rest is Victorian 1865-6, designed, with great care, by John Hicks of Dorchester, who used much of the material from the original church. On entering the nave, one's eye is immediately drawn towards the magnificent pulpit fashioned from brilliant white Caen stone, still bearing some original paint and accommodating a number of beautifully executed figures in niches. The church pamphlet speaks of the pulpit having been once a font, but converted back to its original purpose with improvements, during the 1865 restoration. 

The north aisle shelters the Lady Chapel with a most attractive window that borrows strongly from William Holman Hunt's painting of Christ as 'The Light of the World'. Looking west, the principal feature is the baptistery formed in the space immediately below the tower. The font of 1844 by Boulton of Worcester, is made of Caen stone supported on a shaft of red alabaster and decorated with three sculptured kneeling angels, holding in their hands the shell, the dove and the Lamb as emblems of the Trinity. 

To the left of the baptistery there is stairway leading to the bell ringing chamber for six bells. There was a tragedy in 1957 when the Rector, W.R.Mortimer was showing some school children the bells while they were 'raised'. Quite appallingly, the fifth bell was somehow released causing it to overturn and he was killed.

This is a really magnificent village church, which well rewards a visit.

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Osmington

Church imageOsmington

St. Osmund

This is an attractive church with a long history and a first recorded vicar in 1302.  Sadly only parts of the pointed chancel arch and bits of the arcade shafting remain from the original, however the tower is 15c.  The rest is a Victorian restoration of 1846 by Benjamin Ferry, who was responsible for many churches in the county.

There is a rather glum roughly carved inscription in the small chancel that reads as follows:

"Man's life.
Man is a glas: life is
a water that's weakly
walled about: sinne bring
es death: death breakes
the glas: so runnes
the water out
Finis"

Note the very fine lectern.  The font is square Purbeck stone decorated with four pointed arches on each side. The pulpit is Victorian.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Over Compton

Church imageOver Compton

St. Michael

You approach the church via a long drive from the main road which it shares with Compton House and Worldwide Butterflies and the Lullingstone Silk Farm.  The church forms part of a suite of buildings in a most attractive setting.

The entrance is up some steps into the 15c tower.  Inside the arrangement is unusual.  The beautiful three-decker Jacobean pulpit is sited half-way down the nave, presumably so that the preacher could speak directly to members of the Goodden family, who owned the estate and would have sat in the north chapel (1776).  The chancel is a Victorian addition of 1877.  There is a really charming baptistry on the south side and a lovely memorial erected by the family to the memory of a faithful servant.  However, the most impressive item is the life-size statue of Robert Goodden, erected in 1825.

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Owermoigne

Church imageOwermoigne

St Michael

St Michael's is a church that benefits from an attractive village setting.  It is an ancient place, which was recorded as 'Ogre' in the Domesday Book.  The name gradually evolved into 'Oweres' and finally because of the association with  the Le Moigne, into 'Owermoigne'.   

Although the first recorded Rector was instituted in 1333, the present building is essentially the result of a Victorian restoration of 1883 to a design by Sidney Jackson of Weymouth and cost of £756.00.  A feature of the design is the square headed windows.  Almost all the wooden furniture and memorials were permanently removed from the building.  The 18c columnar font suffered a similar fate and was found filled with flowers in the rectory garden before being finally restored to its proper place in the church.  The 15c tower did escape the restoration and is known to have been used by 18c smugglers, who used it as a store.  It is more than possible that the Rector knew what was going on, but was kept 'sweet' by finding kegs of the finest brandy left on his doorstep from time to time! (See also Studland).

During the reign of King Richard II (1367-1400), Owermoigne came into the hands of the Sturton family as a result of a marriage between Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir John Moigne and Lord Charles Sturton.  Much later the Surtons fell out with the family of Hartgills, but there was much rejoicing at an apparent reconciliation which was sealed  in January 1557 when Lord Sturton invited Hartgill and his son to dinner.  Unfortunately, Sturton's motives were not as pure as the driven snow and during the dinner he had the two men clubbed and murdered by his staff who slit their throats.  He and his men dug a pit 15 feet deep in the cellar where the bodies were deposited.  Later, news of the crime reached the ears of authority and all were condemned to death by hanging at Salisbury.  His Lordship appealed to Queen Mary on the basis of being a Catholic and a nobleman, but the only concession she allowed was that he should be hanged by a halter of silk ..."in respect of his quality."  The sentence was carried out on 16th March and the estate came into the hands of the Crown.

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Pamphill (Kingston Lacey)

Church imagePamphill

St. Stephen

The church, which must surely be described as outstanding, is set at the head of a stunning wooded drive in a grassed clearing.  From the south, the approach to this is along a magnificent and very beautiful avenue of trees originally planted in 1846.

The building was the product of a co-operation between Mrs. Henrietta Bankes, the feisty chatelaine of nearby Kingston Lacy House, whose husband had left £5,000 "for the purpose of building and endowing a church at Kingston Lacy" and the eminent architect C. E. Ponting of Marlborough.  The foundation stone of the Arts and Crafts Gothic style structure was laid by Mrs Bankes on 15th February 1906 and the church was dedicated by the Bishop of Salisbury on 27th July 1907.  Mr Bankes also directed that £50 per year should be paid to the vicar of Wimborne (in whose parish it was) for a period of 25 years.

However, this was not the first church at Kingston Lacy.  Henry de Lacy was one of twenty-five barons charged with overseeing the observance of Magna Carta (1215).  In 1229 he was given the manor of Kingston Lacy.  A church, also dedicated to St Stephen, was constructed seven years later and survived until the 16c, but by 1573 had been allowed to decay to such an extent that it was beyond repair and abandoned.  Today nothing is left and its site is unknown.

Externally, the proportions of the present building are pleasing and the forty foot tower adds a gentle grandeur.  The walls, constructed from a mixture of Studland sandstone and Purbeck stone, have prompted some to suggest a tweed appearance.  Attached to the tower and above the left side of the porch, with its Arts and Crafts leaf surround, is a niche containing a statue by Palmer of St Stephen with his hand on the head of a small boy.  The boy was modelled in the likeness of Ralph, Mrs Bankes' son, who was to be the last squire of Kingston Lacy.

Inside, the building is delightfully simple and yet every detail has obviously received the closest attention and the overall effect is one of restrained excellence.   The alabaster font, supported by four angels and given by local farmers, is a particular example because when it arrived Mrs Bankes found a crack.  Refusing to accept less than perfection, it was returned to the makers, who replaced it with the one currently in use. 


Perhaps the most striking feature inside the building is the quality of the woodwork, constructed from oak grown on the Kingston Lacy Estate.  In particular, the roof is an exceptional example of quiet perfection and worth a visit on its own.  However, also beautifully executed are the pews, each end exquisitely carved with a Bankes' family fleur-de-lys, and the splendid choir stalls.  The glittering tiled reredos is by Carters of Poole, who used 'battered brass' to form the golden wings of the angels and mother-of-pearl for their halos.  On either side, it is flanked by Sanctus angels engraved directly into the stone.  Above, the east window is sumptuous. 

The rich colours and artistry used by Horace Wilkinson to convey Christ on the Cross with a serpent below, are inspirational.  The left hand panel depicts Ralph Bankes sitting on Christ's lap with his sisters, Viola and Daphne, looking on.  Mrs Bankes is reputed to have been devoted to her rather sickly son, but not to her two daughters. To the right, further panels of Mary and Martha, the Good Shepherd and the Calming of the Storm.  The south transept windows have the theme of childhood.  The surprisingly small organ by the Positive Organ Co., costing £175, was accorded its own loft above the generous vestry.  Immediately below the organ and attached to the wooden panelling is a simple, but moving record of the sixteen men who did not return from the First World War; which was unveiled on 2nd April 1921.

The eight Bankes' family pews are at the back of the church, where presumably they could keep an eye on their tenants and employees in front!  Standing over the pew, is a copy of the Wimborne Minster astronomical clock and above and behind, the west window features the historical family armorials with a fleur de lys and the various bride's arms. Before the building of this church, the window was installed in Wimborne Minster. The pew is served by its own private door on the north side from where a path leads directly to a lane where the family could be conveyed by carriage to and from the great house.  The habit of always leaving during the last hymn, further insulated the family from any risk of contact with the congregation.

Until the building of this church, the people of Cowgrove and Pamphill had to go to Wimborne Minster for services.  However, the new church was within the parish of Wimborne Minster and not a parish in its own right.  This had to wait until 1922, when as a result of Mrs Bankes' efforts and her endowment of £6,000, the benefice of St Stephen's was finally established with its own vicar.  The beautiful grass enclosure in which the church rests remains unconsecrated and consequently has never been used for burial.  The stone cross in front of the church is a memorial to Walter Bankes, Mrs Bankes' husband and benefactor.

The Dorset Historic Churches Trust wishes gratefully to record its sincere thanks to Mrs. Jane Butler for the assistance received in the preparation of these notes.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Pentridge

Church imagePentridge

St. Rumbold

The village of Pentridge lies in a fold in the chalk downland.  This is a tranquil place, off the beaten track, and the little church with its dedication to the boy saint is peaceful.  

The church is of flint and stone blocks complete with a western tower capped with a short broach spire.  The chancel is of 1815 and the remainder, designed by Slater, is 1855-7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Piddlehinton

Piddlehinton

Piddlehinton

St. Mary the Virgin

The church was dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin in 1299, but of the original building only the west arch under the tower remains. The present church seems to have been rebuilt during the 15th century – the tower somewhat earlier. The chancel, the north colonnade of the nave and the south porch are of the early 16th century. The south porch has been partly restored and the door was blocked up when it was made into a vestry.

The north porch was added in 1867 and on the west wall is a coffin lid with a moulded edge and the remains of a cross, dating from the early part of the 14th century. Under the wooden seat on the east side there are three floor slabs, one of which is in memory of an earlier rector, John Hooke, who died in 1700. These were originally under the communion table, but were removed to the porch when the church was enlarged in the same year.

The south tower is the oldest part of the church and on the north pillars there are some delicate carvings of roses and oak leaves with acorns. The rose symbolised spiritual love and the oak was the sacred tree before the arrival of Christianity.


 

The tower itself contains a peal of six bells. The first was cast by Thomas Purdue in 1683, the second by W. Knight in 1721 and the third and fourth have Latin inscriptions on them and were re-cast in 1947. The fifth is by Roger Purdue and dated 1633. In 1949 all the bells were re-hung and a sixth, a treble, was added in memory of Commander Charles Swayne RN.  A board in the south transept states “A peal was rung at Piddlehinton on Christmas Day Morning 1820, 4 hours and 2 minutes”.

In 1961, while repairs were being carried out, the removal of defective plaster revealed two Hagioscopes or Squints, one on each side of the chancel arch. These enabled the congregation in the aisles or transepts to see into the sanctuary. Both have been opened up. This work also revealed two early 16th century niches on either side of the altar which would almost certainly held statues of St Mary the Virgin, and St Peter, before the desecration by the Puritans. 

A single square-headed piscina, with a little shelf called a credence upon which the sacred vessels would have stood, can be seen in the south wall of the sanctuary. The piscina is a basin with a drain leading to consecrated ground in the churchyard, for disposal of water used in the cleansing of the chalice. Unfortunately, the basin appears to have been removed or filled in and there is no visible sign of the drain.

Further to the west, in the south wall of the chancel, there is an unusual late 15th Century sedilia. These are usually two or three stone seats, often differing in height, used to accommodate the priest, deacon and sub-deacon. The back of the sedilia has three stone panels, side standards and over-hanging cornice. It would appear to have been made for three people, although it is rather small, but perhaps the clergy of medieval times were thinner than they are today!  Certainly the floor would have been higher.

In the north wall of the chancel is a memorial, painted on wood, to the memory of the wife of Thomas Clavering, rector from 1629 to 1665, who died of the Plague whilst ministering to the sick of the parish. The eloquent is in Latin and there is a translation underneath. To the right of the memorial, neatly scratched on one of the small panes of glass in the window is the name of "Alfred Barnwell, January 1833". Was this just an erring choirboy or perhaps just the signature of the person who installed the window?

In 1867 the church was enlarged to seat 300 people. The north aisle was rebuilt and widened by 6 feet and the nave lengthened by 12 feet; the cost of this was £1,050, which was partly paid for by selling the lead from the roof. The Incorporated Society for the Enlargement of Churches also gave a grant of £30. The architect was Ewan Christian, who worked on five other churches in Dorset, including Piddletrenthide and Alton Pancras. The whole extension serves as a memorial to Mary Emma Roper, the wife of the rector, the Rev Thomas Roper. He and his second wife, Elizabeth are commemorated in one of the two windows in the south wall of the chancel.

In 1999 flood lighting was installed as a thanksgiving for the new millenium.

Ann Winzer - Nursing Heroine of Waterloo

Close to the north boundary of the churchyard there is a gravestone to the memory of Ann Winzer, who died in 1873, aged 82, a resident of the parish.

She was born Ann Keates in Fordington, Dorchester in 1791 and christened in St George's Church, Fordington 21/1/1795. She married James Winzer at the same church 1/4/1811.

The following tells her story, as far as we know it:

Ann Winzer acted as a nurse to the wounded at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, many years before Florence Nightingale's famous days pioneering the nursing of the sick and wounded in the Crimean War. Born in Dorchester in 1791, Ann came to live in Piddlehinton after her nursing days with the army were over. She married James Winzer, who was also born in Dorchester. He must have seen military service, probably overseas, for he was one of the many Chelsea Pensioners who did not live at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. It seems that Colonel Astell, who came to live at West Lodge (Piddlehinton) in 1862, took steps to ensure that Ann got a pension in recognition of her service to the army. In the census of 1871, James gives his profession as plasterer journeyman. Their son Joseph (born 1844), was living with them at that time, aged 27. He was a plasterer like his father.

Ann died in 1873 and is buried in Piddlehinton churchyard. Her tombstone near the north boundary tells her story. Her husband died two years later.

SACRED
TO THE MEMORY OF
ANN
THE BELOVED WIFE OF
JAMES WINZER
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE
NOVEMBER 28th 
1873
AGED 82 YEARS.

SHE WAS A WATERLOO HEROINE
WHO ASSISTED AT THAT FAM
OUS BATTLE A.D. 1815 BY AIDING
& ASSISTING THE SICK AND WOUND
ED SHE ENDURED MANY HARDS
HIPS HAVING FOLLOWED THE
BRITISH ARMY FROM BRUSSELS
TO PARIS. FROM PARIS TO DUNNEY
RETURNED TO ENGLAND & FROM
THENCE TO THE ROCK OF GIBR
ALTAR WHERE SHE REMAINED
4 YEARS. SHE AFTERWARDS RE
SIDED IN THIS PARISH WHERE
SHE RECEIVED A PENSION THRO
UGH THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF
COLONEL ASTELL WITH THAT OF
MANY OTHER OFFICERS BY WHO
SE KINDNESS THIS STONE IS
RAISED AS A TRIBUTE OF RES
PECT TO A LONG LIFE SPENT
IN TRUE AND FAITHFUL SERVICE.


 

 

The present clock was re-discovered in 1976 during a routine church inspection, lying as a heap of rusting iron in one of the tower rooms. The parish must be indebted to Mr J. Hooper who undertook extensive research into its provenance and was responsible for the partial restoration. These notes are based on his work of 1979.

The first recorded church clock was made by Ralph Cloud of Beaminster, who was paid £5 in 1697 “for making ye clork”. However, it is possible that there had been an earlier instrument because there is a record stating that “2d was pd Wm Arnold for the clork used for the former churchwarden’s times”, which may have been a reference to the sale of the old clock.

Lawrence Boyce of Puddletown constructed the clock on display at the back of the church in 1730. He and his son, John (1699–1766), had a thriving business and were craftsmen of considerable ability. They were responsible for many long case clocks in the district as well as a similar turret clock built for Bere Regis church, but which can now be seen running in the County Museum in Dorchester.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

Piddletrenthide

Church imagePiddletrenthide

All Saints

Piddletrenthide must be an early example of ribbon development as it strings along both sides the road that shares the valley with the Piddle river. From time to time roads lead off to the west and one of these leads down into a delightful suite of cottages that stand below the slightly unexpected, but nevertheless splendid village church.

From the outside, the most important feature is the magnificent tower of 1485, replete with twin light bell openings, numerous pinnacles and terrifying gargoyles. Inside the porch is a doorway featuring a zigzag decoration, which confirms the building's Norman origins. The nave and aisles are C15. In 1852 the building was restored and the walls raised by John Hicks, who was the brother of the incumbent. This was Hick's first major commission since setting up an office in Dorchester. He went on to become the architect of choice, restoring and building more than 27 churches in Dorset, before his untimely death in 1869. The chancel is of 1880 by Ewan Christian.

There are some excellent Victorian memorials.

Outside, on the south east side of the chancel can be found two semi-circular headstones that mark the graves of members of the the Durbefield family, whom Thomas Hardy immortalised as the D'Urbervilles in 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

Pilsdon

Church imagePilsdon

St Mary 

Pilsdon is an ancient place, taking its modern name from 'Pilesdone' in the Domesday Book of 1086, which probably meant a hill with a peak.  Pilsdon Pen, a mile away to the north is, at 908 ft., the highest point in Dorset, but the hamlet rests fairly sheltered at its foot.  This is delightfully rural countryside with only the thinnest scattering of houses.

The most attractive yellow stone C17 manor house with mullioned windows is, by far, the most impressive building in the area.  It had a side role to play in the flight of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester.  After his abortive attempt to sail to France from Charmouth, he returned to Trent, stopping for the night in Broadwindsor.  However, his pursuers were convinced he had holed-up in Pilsdon Manor because it then belonged to Sir Hugh Wyndham, a well-known Royalist judge (see Silton).  Not satisfied with the owners denials, the troops, having turned the place upside-down to no effect, suggested that one of his daughters was Charles in disguise!  Having found that was false too, they rode off.  (For Charles's exploits see 'Charles II's 19 days by Jonathan Caseley)

The exquisite little church of St Mary has C13 origins, with C15 windows.  Major restorations took place in 1830 and again in 1875 when Pevsner suggests the bell-turret was erected.  There is a simple tub font, a stoup and a canopied piscina.  The two carved stone figures on the north wall are interesting.  Today, the church has no pews, just straw bales to sit on and is used, several times a day, by the Pilsdon Community for their simple, yet incredibly beautiful, services.

The setting of the church next to the manor house within a most attractive garden, brimming with flowers, makes this a truly inspiring visit.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©