St Mary's church, outside


St Mary's church, inside


This church is considered one of Dorset’s most important churches and is a Grade 1 listed building.  The oldest part of the church is the chancel dating from the 12th century; the main construction of the church is 15th century, started by William Bradford, Abbot of Sherborne.  The north vestry was added in 1911.

The church is built of local rubble with ashlar and dressings of Ham stone and is an elegant structure in later English style.  The tower is “a lofty square embattled tower of graceful elevation” and has many niches, two with finely carved original figures.  Close by is the late 15th century Ham stone octagonal preaching cross.

The stone rood screen originally supported a solid wall which was removed and replaced with an arch in 1858.  Various other alterations were made in Victorian times.  The roof of the nave has large carved painted angels with shields or scrolls bearing heraldic arms.

The superb stonework of the square Ham stone 16th century font is carried on four pillars decorated with the figures of John the Baptist and three bishops.   The pews are late 15th to early 16th century with carved ends, and there is a medieval oak chest with three hasps. The pulpit is a good example of Jacobean craftsmanship and dated  1623, the original sounding board is now a table in the south transept.  The organ has been returned to the east end of the north aisle and has been restored.  The east window dates from the 14th century and is glazed with 15th, 17th and 19th glass. 

Externally there is a strange creature over the apex of the priest’s porch, and marks of a sundial on the south porch.