The present church, which replaced a derelict Saxon one on a nearby site, was completed in 1847. Designed by George Alexander (d. 1883), it was his fourth and last in Dorset.* Sir John Betjeman has described it as "one of the best and most lovely examples of Victorian architecture." Although certainly an example of that period, the building beautifully catches the medieval Gothic style, with flying buttresses supporting the elegant steeple and is a perfect manifestation of Victorian Ecclesiological thinking. The brilliant interior is the creation of Owen Jones (1809-74), who is generally better remembered for his work on parts of the Great Exhibition of 1851. The vivid colours and lavish decoration have an Arabian resonance, particularly in the chancel, and amply demonstrate his ardent discipleship of the great Augustus Pugin of the Houses of Parliament fame.
Of the many interesting fittings in the church the pews are particularly worthy of note because of their exceptionally simple and open design. The church was built at a time when a certain degree of display was regarded as desirable and these pews assisted in being seen.
The whole cost of building was met by the incumbent, Anthony Huxtable. In 1840, he had the good fortune to marry a Dorset lady called Maria Langstone, who became a devoted wife and brought with her wealth, which by today's standards would have made them millionaires He was also a tenant on two farms, became an agricultural pioneer, tireless social worker and sufficiently well thought of by the church authorities to be made Archdeacon of Dorset, albeit for only a few months before ill-health forced him to retire. He died in 1883.
*East Stour 1842: Enmore Green: Shaftesbury 1843: Motcombe 1846
|St Bartholomew||Sutton Waldron||DT11 8PB||0|
|St Andrew's||Fontmell Magna||SP7 0NY||1|
|St. Mary||Iwerne Minster||DT11 8LS||1|
|St Mary the Virgin||Compton Abbas||SP7 0NL||2|
|St. Mary||Iwerne Courtney||DT11 8PU||2|
|St. Mary||Shroton||DT11 8PU||2|
|St. Thomas||East Orchard||SP7 0LJ||2|
|St Luke||West Orchard||SP7 0LJ||2|
|St. Nicholas||Child Okeford||DT11 8ED||2|
|St. Paul||Hammoon||DT10 2DB||3|
|Margaret Marsh||Margaret Marsh||SP7 0AZ||3|
|St. Nicholas||Ashmore||SP5 5AE||3|
|Holy Rood||Shillingstone||DT11 0SL||3|
|Holy Trinity||Stourpaine||DT11 8TQ||4|
|St. James||Shaftesbury||SP7 8HG||4|
|All Saints||Stour Row||SP7 0QW||4|
|St. Mary||Tarrant Gunville||DT11 8JN||4|
|St. Nicholas||Durweston||DT11 0QA||4|
|St. Peter||Shaftesbury||SP7 8LY||4|
|St Andrew||Okeford Fitzpaine||DT11 0RD||5|