Please use the link below for news of Bishops Caundle church and appeal. 



Aerial photograph courtesy of Dorset Historic Churches Trust


This has been a site of Christian worship for at least 800 years although the present church building mostly dates from the 14th and 15th centuries: the latter, especially, was a time of extensive church rebuilding and restoration in this area. Whilst not a scheduled ancient monument, architecturally it is the most important building in the locality and is listed at Grade I: apart from Cornford Bridge (II*) it is the only highly graded building of the 24 listed in this parish of 369 people. The first rector is recorded in 1249 but there was probably a church here before that.


The Church


The church consists of a chancel, nave, south aisle, north porch and three-stage west tower which is Perpendicular in style with elements of what is known as Somerset tracery. Its bells are regularly rung. The earliest parts of the present building date from the 14th century and are the east wall of the nave and south aisle and the eastern part of its south wall. The nave, west tower and the remainder of the south aisle date from the second half of the 15th century. The north wall of the nave, the south wall of the south aisle, the north porch and most of the chancel were all rebuilt in 1864 when the church was extensively restored by William Slater. The roofs of the chancel, nave and tower were also renewed, a gallery was removed, and a new ringing floor fitted to the tower, while the church interior was repaved, refloored and reseated.


The main architectural features are steps to a long-removed rood-loft; blind panelling on the tower arch which is identical to work in Sherborne Abbey; and an 18th-century burial vault topped by an external table-tomb on the north of the chancel.


The nave is furnished with seating which was installed in 1864 and was created, as was sometimes done, by cutting down earlier box-pews. There is a conventional Victorian choir, with one stall on each side, and an altar rail. The chancel has been elevated and the sanctuary elevated again, most probably during the 1864 work. The result is that the piscina and sanctuary windows are set very low down. The roofs have timber barrel-vaults. The fine 19th-century reredos was probably carved by the well-known artist James Forsyth (1827-1910).