CAUNDLE MARSH

 

ST PETER AND ST PAUL

 

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www.whitehartvalechurchesdorset.co.uk

  

The church of St Peter and St Paul, Caundle Marsh, outside

The church of St Peter and St Paul, Caundle Marsh, inside

This has been a site of Christian worship for many centuries, certainly since the later Middle Ages. It is one of twelve listed structures in the parish (all Grade II except Manor Farmhouse which is II*). A medieval church which existed on this site is referred to in the register maintained by John Chandler between 1404-17 when he was the dean of Salisbury Cathedral. It was, like a number of other churches in Dorset, a peculiar under the jurisdiction of the dean of Salisbury. It was rebuilt in the 18th or early 19th century and then in 1856-7 it was demolished and the current building erected at an estimated cost of „£549 or thereabouts‟.
St Peter and St Paul‟s is a highly attractive, small country church by a very competent local architect Robert Howard Shout of Yeovil (d. 1884). The patrons were very likely the occupiers of Marsh Court. Shout was responding to the „rural church‟ model advocated by the hugely influential Cambridge Camden Society and the ecclesiological movements of the 1840s and 1850s which sought to use medieval models for churches as a place for more dignified worship than in the previous generation. It remains little altered over the past century and a half and is a good example of how mid-19th-century churches were appointed. It is also unusual in having a stone altar, which was added in 1920 when this was, no doubt, a centre of „high‟ Anglican worship. The choir is furnished with wooden choir stalls and the chancel has a stone altar of 1920, an Easter sepulchre and a piscina. There is a stone pulpit, probably also of 1920, on the north side.
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The nave is furnished with simple wooden pews and also houses the font. A tomb chest with armorial bearings was incorporated from the old church.
This Victorian gem, standing in its small churchyard, is situated adjacent to Manor Farm House and a working dairy farmyard, tucked away in the heart of Caundle Marsh. With no post office or pub, the church provides a central focus for this tiny village of widely scattered farms and houses.