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St Andrew's Fontmell Magna

There has been a church on the site since before the Domesday Book of 1086, however only the lower part of the tower of the original remains.  During 1862 - 3 it was almost completely rebuilt to a design by the Wimborne architect, George Evans, who was responsible for four other Dorset churches (1).

The most distinguishing feature of the building is a parapet that extends around the whole and which is partly composed of portions salvaged from the earlier church.  Hutchins, the celebrated 18th century Dorset historian, noted that part of it was dated 1530.

Inside, the building is rather plain and typically Victorian, but it is lightened by a very elaborate, brilliantly white, Caen stone pulpit, decorated with the four evangelists.  Unusually, there are no external steps because it is 'built-in' and access is through a door from the vestry.  There is an attractive, very upright, lectern, which is fashioned from lead and mounted on a cast-iron base.  In a corner, below a most attractive stained glass window, rests the remains of a font thought to be at least a thousand years old.

There is a striking memorial in the churchyard to Philip Salkeld, who was the fourth son of the rector.  He died on 10th October 1857 from wounds sustained when 'blowing the Kashmir gate' during the Indian Mutiny; an act of conspicuous gallantry for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

(1) Melbury Abbas 1851-2: Compton Abbas 1866-7: Bloxworth 1870: Poxwell 1868 - pulled down

 

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

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