St Mary and St James in the Droop area of Hazelbury Bryan is the largest of the six churches that make up the Benefice.


The earliest written record of a Church in Hazelbury Bryan dates back to 1244, most probably a small Norman structure, dedicated to St. Mary. It is thought that this early building fell into disrepair during the plague years. In 1400 the Church was re-built under the auspices of the de Bryan family, and was re-dedicated to St. Mary and St. James. The Church has been altered and added to over the years and maintenance work is ongoing.

Our windows contain some fragments of a very unusual design of medieval glass, considered most rare in Dorset. The blue painted chancel ceiling is also remarkable, being cast in one piece. More details are available in our Church History on sale in the Church at £2.

Many generations of parishioners are buried in the church yard, the oldest existing stone being 1714. The church yard is now full but a small plot is retained for the interment of ashes. The churchyard is a haven for wildlife and parts are left un-mown to allow wild flowers to establish. Rare lichens flourish on many of the ancient grave stones. A number of old trees still remain, and several new ones were planted in 2000 to mark the Millennium.

The Church boasts a peal of 6 bells, some dating back to the Reformation. Thanks to our dedicated team of ringers, the bells ring out regularly and they are greatly prized by teams of visiting ringers. (Jean Cluett 01258-817174)
The clock made by Messrs. Thwaites & Reed, was installed in 1933 as a gift from a parishioner. It is wound every week and oiled every 6 months. These tasks have been undertaken by Chris Eyres for many years.

Our choir steadily grows, and now numbers 12. They sing regularly at Family Services and also attend at other churches in our benefice. (Valerie Watts 817634)

The organ was made by Henry Dyer and Son and we also possess a clavinola, housed in the Stoke Wake Chapel.
A team of some 18 dedicated ladies provide all the flowers in the Church, and the building comes alive during the Flower Festival and on major Christian feast days.

We have an aim to reach out into the community and to contribute to village life.

We work closely with the local Primary School, who hold frequent Assemblies in the Church and provide some decoration at Easter, Flower Festival and Fete days, Harvest and Christmas.

Our Parish magazine is circulated widely throughout the benefice, and a weekly News Sheet is available in church. We have notice boards in the church which are regularly updated.

Both secular and religious concerts are held in the church, and the Fete and Harvest Thanksgiving are ideal times for church and village to come together.

We welcome all ages, and to this end a children's corner has recently been installed.

Recent donations include The Children's Society, The Royal British Legion, Christian Aid in the Sudan, The Smile Train, and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, The Village Sports Field, The Brownies and the local School. We pay a yearly amount to the New Ordinands Book Fund, and support the deanery tent at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show. The church sponsors an Annual prize for our primary School, presents a book to every child moving up to Secondary School and books to all children baptised in our Church.

There is an active branch of the Mothers' Union in the benefice and they too are involved in raising money for various Mothers' Union projects. (Marian Morris 01258-817166)

We are a registered Charity and as such are able to claim back tax on any donations made under the Gift Aid scheme. This benefit enables us to add considerably to our funds. If you are a U.K. tax payer, and contribute to the Church, please do use our special Gift Aid Envelopes.


Our Church is committed to regular charitable giving.

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