This is an ancient town that once had a market and a parish of 13,000 acres, the largest in Dorset. These facts alone would have been enough to guarantee a big and impressive church, however the present building has its origins in monasticism. The Abbey of Cranborne was established as a Benedictine House in 980 by Aylward Sneaw (Snow) who made the Abbey of Tewkesbury, where he was also patron, subordinate. As a result of an insubordination by a descendant to Queen Matilda, wife of the Conqueror, the estates were given to William Rufus, who gave then to the Patron of Tewkesbury. In 1102 the Abbot of Cranborne and 57 monks were removed to Tewkesbury and Cranborne became just a cell and Priory. The monastic buildings were demolished in 1703.
The oldest part of the present building is the Norman doorway in the north porch: about 1120. The church was rebuilt in the 13c and the nave has some very notable murals. The superb wagon roof was entirely renewed in 1958. The tower was built in 1440, probably at the expense of the Duke of York, and contains eight bells. The chancel was rebuilt in 1875.
The chancel screen, the reredos in the Lady chapel and the tower screen were carved by Rev. F.H.Fisher, who was vicar from 1888 to 1910. Note on the south wall a memorial to John Tregonwell, who lived at Cranborne Lodge, subsequently retiring to a 'farm on the coast where a small stream runs into the sea'. From this grew the town of Bournemouth.
The oak pulpit bears the monogram 'T.P', which stood for Thomas Parker, who was the Abbot of Tewkesbury and Cranborne 1381-1421. The octagonal Purbeck marble font is 13c. Note on the north side, the delightful monument to a schoolboy who rests his elbow on a skull and holds a posy of flowers.
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©
|Grant date||Reason||Amount||Extra amount||Extra reason|
|01/06/19 12:00 am||Help towards completing facilities||£1,000|
|01/11/16 12:00 am||For facilities||£5,000|
|St. Mary and St. Bartholomew||Cranborne||BH21 5PP||0|
|St. Nicholas||Edmondsham||BH21 5RE||1|
|Wimborne St. Giles||Wimborne Saint Giles||BH21 5LZ||2|
|St James||Alderholt||SP6 3DN||3|
|St. Rumbold||Pentridge||SP5 5QX||3|
|St. Michael and All Angels||Verwood||BH31 6DZ||3|
|All Saints||Gussage All Saints||BH21 5HD||4|
|St. Wolfrida||Horton||BH21 7JA||4|
|Gussage St Michael||Wimborne||BH21 5HT||4|
|St Mary||Sixpenny Handley||SP5 5ND||4|
|All Saints||Chalbury||BH21 7EY||5|
|St John the Evangelist||Hinton Martell||BH21 7HE||5|
|St. James||Holt||BH21 7BJ||6|
|St. Mary||Chettle||DT11 8DB||6|
|All Saints||Tarrant Monkton||DT11 8RX||7|
|St. Mary||Tarrant Hinton||DT11 8JB||7|
|St. Michael and All Angels||Colehill||BH21 2RY||8|
|St. Mary||Tarrant Gunville||DT11 8JN||8|
|St. Mary||Tarrant Rawston||DT11 8SD||8|