St Aldhelm's Church - Belchalwell
Mr O Yeatman Tel: 01258 472528
Mrs J Holdsworth Tel: 01258 860625
A Brief History
The nave and chancel of St Aldhelm's Church in Belchalwell.
The southern wall of the nave belongs to the church, which existed in the 12th century.
The doorway from the porch into the church is a most beautiful example of the transition period, with its semi-circular arch.
The church was reconstructed much in its present form in the early part of the 1400s, including the tower; the Fitzhugh family added the north aisle later, probably as a private chapel, who were lords of the manor.
A great deal of the interior was destroyed by the Puritans; there is a slight trace of wall painting on the arch near the west end of the church.
Later the porch was rebuilt, and the seats in it were used by the landowners waiting to pay their tithes to the rector at Easter. It was also used as a Sunday school.
There was a gallery at the back of the church for use by the musicians; this was removed in 1871 when the church was re-floored and reseated.
Outside, the figures on the corners of the tower seem to be of a horned Dorset sheep with the face of a man. Note the old sundial.
Most of the church records were burnt in Blandford in 1731, where they had been put for safe keeping; therefore there is no trace of the original dedication of the church. At the request of the P.C.C. in 1959 the church was dedicated to St Aldhelm, who was the first bishop of Sherborne and the Patronal Festival is May 25th.
St. Eustace Church - Ibberton
If you can find the pub called The Ibberton then you are not far from St Eustace Church.
Continue past the pub and straight up the hill via a shingle and chalk track.
The views from the East end of the church are magnificent and well worth the climb.
Derek Old Tel: 01258 817349
Janis Hill Tel: 01258 817550
A SHORT HISTORY
The main part of the Church is thought to have been built between 1380 and 1400, the North Aisle being added round about the year 1500. The dedication of the Church to St Eustace is very uncommon in England, there being as far as it is known, only two other Churches dedicated to this Saint, one at Tavistock in Devon and the other at Hoo in Suffolk.
During the second half of the 19th century the building fell into disrepair, the final collapse occurring in 1889. ( See photo on pillar in N. Aisle). In 1892 Mr George Loder of Okeford Fitzpaine was commissioned to construct a corrugated iron and timber building in the Village for use as a temporary Church, and services, including Baptisms, were held there from the Spring of 1893 until the Summer of 1909, Marriages, however, had to be solemnized in the Nave of the dilapidated Church.
The restoration of the old Church was started in 1902 under the direction of the Rev. L. S. Plowman (Rector from 1899-1927) and was re-opened by the Bishop of Salisbury on 17th July 1909, the total cost of the work being in the region of £1,500.(The temporary Church is now used as a Village Hall.)
On either side of the Altar are stone slabs incised with the Ten Commandments which belong to the late 18th or the early 19th Century. When the Church fell into a ruinous state, they were removed and fixed to the Tower walls for protection against the weather, and were not restored to their original position until 1970.
On the N. and S. walls there are memorial tablets to two brothers, Richard and Joseph D'aubeny, one a Rector and the other a Squire of the Parish .The D'aubenys were a notable family of both Dorset and Somerset, whose ancestors came over with William the Conqueror.
The Westernmost window of the S. wall of the Chancel contains some 15th century glass depicting the Arms of Milton Abbey.
The pulpit, which was replaced at the time of the restoration is made from the wood of an ancient pulpit which once stood in a Norfolk Church, and in the window close by may be seen a list of the Rectors of the Parish dating back to 1320.
The Font is 15th century.
Before the restoration there was a wooden gallery above the early 17th century oak screen at the back of the Church.
There are fragments of Tudor stained glass in two of the windows, the eastern most one containing the Arms of Elizabeth 1. The Royal Coat of Arms of George 111 painted on a shaped wooden panel by J.Cunningham can be seen on the West wall of the Aisle. This was presented by the Squire, Joseph D'aubeney, but it was originally fixed at the head of the Tower Arch immediately above the old gallery.
On the floor there are some old tiles and the one nearest the door on the West side is a Flemish tile of the second half of the 15th century. It is one belonging to a set of four, the complete set bearing the following inscription:-
Die tijt is cort,
Die doot is snel
Wacht u va sonde
Soe doedi wel.
Which being translated means
The time is short,
Death is swift
Guard against sin,
Then thou doest well.
Similar tiles can be seen in St. John's Chapel, Boxgrove Priory, Sussex. (According to Hutchins "History of Dorset", second edition, there were also tiles in the N. Aisle of the Church, but these have disappeared.)
In the Tower there are four bells dated 1641, 1656, 1799 and 1813 and they were cast by William Purdue, Thomas Purdue, Thomas Mears and James Wells respectively. In 1982 extensive repairs were carried out to the bells and their fittings by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The 1656 bell, being cracked, was re-cast and all four bells were then re-hung for stationary chiming.
The Clock is a First World War Memorial, the names of the Fallen being on a plate in the Porch.
The Parish Church - Woolland
Mrs L Wurfbain Tel:01258 817716
Woolland Church History
There have been four churches in Woolland on
or around the present site
– the approximate dates being 1310, 1547, 1743
and the current church dated 1856.
It was erected and paid for by the landowner Mr Montague Williams.
The church was designed by the architect Gilbert Scott,
well known for his designs of many churches in England and Scotland
and, notably, of the Albert Memorial and St Pancras Station in London.
It is understood that Woolland was one of his favourite churches.
Materials from the 1743 church were used and faced with stone from Hazelbury Bryan; the quoins and dressings being partly Bath and partly Ham Hill stone. The Chancel is richly carved and ornamented with columns of Devon and Purbeck marble. The three windows in the apse are filled with sepia stained glass representing the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension. The seats are of oak and the church is paved throughout with Minton’s encaustic tiles. The building was designed in the early decorated style.
During the building of the present church work was suspended for several weeks as a robin had built its nest to the right of the altar. In commemoration of this the stonemason has carved on top of one of the pillars, the mother bird on her nest with three open-mouthed fledglings.
Of its early history there is no record, either in Sarum or in Bristol, of a Rector or vicar being instituted, but in 1840 it was referred to as a Perpetual Curacy and since 1904 the licensing of Perpetual Curates or Incumbents have been recorded in the Sarum Registers.
The church can seat about one hundred people.
A considerable sum of twenty thousand (£20,000) pounds was spent on major repairs to the spire approximately twenty years ago and the building has recently been rewired.
There are currently seventeen parishioners on the Church Electoral Roll. The average attendance at the twice monthly services is eleven. This number increases at Festivals and Benefice Services.
In the churchyard is a large and ancient Yew tree thought to be over two thousand years old. If you would like to know more about the Church in Hazelbury Bryan and the Hillside Parishes, or want information about services or details from baptism, wedding and burial registers