Exploring West Dorset's Gems

by Gerry Lynch last modified 13 Jul, 2015 06:08 PM

Friends of Dorset Historic Churches Trust meet to explore five of the area's most fascinating churches.

A group of 35 Friends of the Dorset Historic Churches Trust gathered recently to explore five of West Dorset’s most interesting churches, enjoying a behind-the-scenes tour of these special buildings. 

The Church Crawl began at St Mary the Virgin’s Church in Melbury Bubb, just south of Sherborne, a jewel of a church overlooking the picturesque Wriggle Valley. Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s (DHCT) architectural expert, Dr. Tim Connor, talked the group through the Church’s history, pointing out the unusual upside-down font adorned with animal carvings which dates back to the 10th Century. 

The Church is also renowned for its 15th Century glass, which DHCT’s glass specialist, Sue Smith, highlighted, explaining the allegorical images. 

The group then visited St Edwold’s Church in Stockwood, reputed to be Dorset’s smallest church and offering a peaceful, simple setting with a white-washed interior. After leaving this church, the group moved on to Evershot for a pub lunch where the Friends chatted together about the churches they had seen and those up next on the itinerary. 

After visiting St Osmond’s Church, the group explored Melbury Sampford, a memorial church for the Fox-Strangways family since the middle of the 16th Century. Sue once again highlighted the Tudor stained-glass windows and the group was fascinated by the Church’s memorable interior, including the alabaster memorial figures. 

The Crawl ended with a visit to the ancient St Juttware’s Church in Halstock, which dates back to the 8th Century when the original church was dedicated to a Saxon martyr. 

Simon Pomeroy, Chairman of DHCT, said: “We were delighted with the turnout for this Church Crawl and would like to thank all the Friends who attended. These Crawls are one of the real benefits of becoming a Friend of DHCT, offering behind-the-scenes access to some of the county’s most fascinating churches. Our next crawl, which will take place at the end of this month, is open to anyone who would like to know more about four very special churches in West Dorset.”  

The next crawl will start at 11am on 23rd July at Chideock. The crawl will be open to all who would like to know more about four parish churches in West Dorset and additional details can be found on the Trust website: www.dhct.co.uk .   

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