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St. Mary Winterbourne Abbas

This is charming little roadside church, in the centre of a busy village, offers great tranquillity to a visitor  The earliest mention it has is 872 AD when Ethelmer gave it to Cerne Abbey and the Domesday Book of 1086-88 confirms that it still belonged to them.

Almost nothing of the original Saxon Church remains and only the font (in the tower) and holy water stoup of the later Norman chapel can be found.  The present chancel was built in 1250.  Work commenced on the tower in the 14c but was not completed until the 15 or 16c.  The interesting balcony is dated 1701 and the altar rail may be of the same period.  There are the remains of hagioscopes (or squints) between the nave and chancel and an excellent example of a rood loft staircase built into a buttress projection. Note, the hatchment of 1661.

There is an engaging memorial to William Durnford who was a shepherd and clerk for 56 years, choir member for 63 years and last surviving member of the church band.  He died in 1943 aged 79 years.

 

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