St Eustace Church - Ibberton

If you can find the pub called The Ibberton then you are not far from St Eustace Church. Continue past the pub and straight up the hill via a shingle and chalk track. The views from the East end of the church are magnificent and well worth the climb.


IBBERTON PARISH CHURCH

Church Wardens are:-

Derek Old



A SHORT HISTORY

GENERAL

The main part of the Church is thought to have been built between 1380 and 1400, the North Aisle being added round about the year 1500. The dedication of the Church to St Eustace is very uncommon in England, there being as far as it is known, only two other Churches dedicated to this Saint, one at Tavistock in Devon and the other at Hoo in Suffolk.

During the second half of the 19th century the building fell into disrepair, the final collapse occurring in 1889. ( See photo on pillar in N. Aisle). In 1892 Mr George Loder of Okeford Fitzpaine was commissioned to construct a corrugated iron and timber building in the Village for use as a temporary Church, and services, including Baptisms, were held there from the Spring of 1893 until the Summer of 1909, Marriages, however, had to be solemnized in the Nave of the dilapidated Church.

The restoration of the old Church was started in 1902 under the direction of the Rev. L. S. Plowman (Rector from 1899-1927) and was re-opened by the Bishop of Salisbury on 17th July 1909, the total cost of the work being in the region of £1,500.(The temporary Church is now used as a Village Hall.)

CHANCEL

On either side of the Altar are stone slabs incised with the Ten Commandments which belong to the late 18th or the early 19th Century. When the Church fell into a ruinous state, they were removed and fixed to the Tower walls for protection against the weather, and were not restored to their original position until 1970.

On the N. and S. walls there are memorial tablets to two brothers, Richard and Joseph D'aubeny, one a Rector and the other a Squire of the Parish .The D'aubenys were a notable family of both Dorset and Somerset, whose ancestors came over with William the Conqueror.

The Westernmost window of the S. wall of the Chancel contains some 15th century glass depicting the Arms of Milton Abbey.


NAVE

The pulpit, which was replaced at the time of the restoration is made from the wood of an ancient pulpit which once stood in a Norfolk Church, and in the window close by may be seen a list of the Rectors of the Parish dating back to 1320.

The Font is 15th century.

Before the restoration there was a wooden gallery above the early 17th century oak screen at the back of the Church.

NORTH AISLE

There are fragments of Tudor stained glass in two of the windows, the eastern most one containing the Arms of Elizabeth 1. The Royal Coat of Arms of George 111 painted on a shaped wooden panel by J.Cunningham can be seen on the West wall of the Aisle. This was presented by the Squire, Joseph D'aubeney, but it was originally fixed at the head of the Tower Arch immediately above the old gallery.

PORCH

On the floor there are some old tiles and the one nearest the door on the West side is a Flemish tile of the second half of the 15th century. It is one belonging to a set of four, the complete set bearing the following inscription:-

Die tijt is cort,
Die doot is snel
Wacht u va sonde
Soe doedi wel.

Which being translated means

The time is short,
Death is swift
Guard against sin,
Then thou doest well.

Similar tiles can be seen in St. John's Chapel, Boxgrove Priory, Sussex. (According to Hutchins "History of Dorset", second edition, there were also tiles in the N. Aisle of the Church, but these have disappeared.)

TOWER.

In the Tower there are four bells dated 1641, 1656, 1799 and 1813 and they were cast by William Purdue, Thomas Purdue, Thomas Mears and James Wells respectively. In 1982 extensive repairs were carried out to the bells and their fittings by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The 1656 bell, being cracked, was re-cast and all four bells were then re-hung for stationary chiming.

The Clock is a First World War Memorial, the names of the Fallen being on a plate in the Porch.





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