St Aldhelm's Church - Belchalwell

Churchwardens are:-

Mr M J Yeatman 01258 453166
Mr R Courage 01258 472328

A Brief History

The nave and chancel of St Aldhelm's Church in Belchalwell.

The southern wall of the nave belongs to the church, which existed in the 12th century.

The doorway from the porch into the church is a most beautiful example of the transition period, with its semi-circular arch.

The church was reconstructed much in its present form in the early part of the 1400s, including the tower; the Fitzhugh family added the north aisle later, probably as a private chapel, who were lords of the manor.

A great deal of the interior was destroyed by the Puritans; there is a slight trace of wall painting on the arch near the west end of the church.

Later the porch was rebuilt, and the seats in it were used by the landowners waiting to pay their tithes to the rector at Easter. It was also used as a Sunday school.

There was a gallery at the back of the church for use by the musicians; this was removed in 1871 when the church was re-floored and reseated.

Outside, the figures on the corners of the tower seem to be of a horned Dorset sheep with the face of a man. Note the old sundial.

Most of the church records were burnt in Blandford in 1731, where they had been put for safe keeping; therefore there is no trace of the original dedication of the church. At the request of the P.C.C. in 1959 the church was dedicated to St Aldhelm, who was the first bishop of Sherborne and the Patronal Festival is May 25th.

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