Frampton is a very ancient British settlement with its roots reaching back to pre-Roman times. William the Conqueror gave it to French Benedictine monks of the Abbey of St. Stephen in Caen, who held it for centuries. It was first mentioned in 1204, noting that French monks had established a cell and a priory. By 1293, when it is next mentioned, it had become the wealthiest in Dorset. Frampton must have become an important place because the King granted the Prior and his successors the right to hold a Thursday Market on the eve and day of St. Bartholomew's. Some of the monks appear to have been unpopular, perhaps because they managed the estate and collected the rents. During the C15, the king gave it to English monks who appear to have been better accepted. During Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1533-1602), the Browne family purchased Frampton. Frampton Court, built by Robert Browne in 1704, a descendant of Browne Cromwell, nicknamed 'Old Roman' because of his absolute insistence that King Charles should be tried, was demolished in 1932, after being sold to meet death duties.
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©
Today, this large and most impressive church serves a village strung-out along one side of the busy A356 Dorchester to Maiden Newton road. (Jo Draper in her superb guide to Dorset 'Dorset the Complete Guide' says all the houses on the southern side of the road were removed by the landlord in 1840 so as to 'improve the park'.) Clearly, like so many in the county, this church must have replaced an earlier structure. Most of its present form dates from 1695 when the splendid tower was built and adorned, uniquely, by two Tuscan columns, one above the other, at each corner. The nave is more or less square. The Victorians, who could not resist leaving their mark on churches, 'improved' the chancel in 1820 to a design by Benjamin Ferry, who is best remembered for his work on Christchurch Priory. The side aisles received attention at the same time, despite the north aisle originating from C15. The font, given in 1858 by the Duchess of Somerset, is by Thomas Earp, who was also responsible for the magnificent carving on the pulpit in Wimborne Minster (1868). The capitals and corbels are the work of Benjamin Grassby, whose exquisite work can be found in many of the county's churches. The organ is by Walker of London. The whole restoration was paid for by Richard and Marcia Sheridan of Frampton Court, who funded the building of a row of alms houses, adjacent to the church, also designed by Ferry.