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St. Martin Wareham

St. Martin

St. Martin is perhaps the most important and complete Saxon church in Dorset.  The original two-cell church must have been very similar to the textbook Saxon example found at Bradford-on-Avon.  In the 12c the narrow north aisle was added, but had to wait until 15c to receive a window.  The building is entered through a 16c south tower with saddleback roof.  There is a magnificent chancel arch, flanked by squints and some wonderful wall painting of various dates. There is a plain octagonal 17c font.

As with so many of Dorset's churches, it had been allowed to reach a perilous state of dilapidation by the end of the 18c and was closed.  It was not until 1935 that a decision was taken to save the church after nearly 200 years of neglect and it was re-dedicated by the bishop on 23rd November 1936.

The most important monument in the building is the recumbent effigy of T.E.Lawrence, who is buried in Moreton churchyard.  This a superb representation in Purbeck stone of the enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia in full Arabian dress is by his friend, Eric Kennington.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

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