Here is a link to a recent video made of of Chetnole church.



St Peter's church, Chetnole, outside


St Peter's church, Chetnole, inside



The Parish


Chetnole is a small thriving village about eight miles from Sherborne. The name Chetnole is found in documents as far back as 1242 and means ‘The hill-top or hillock of a man called Ceatta’ from Old English cnoll and an Old English personal name. The only hill in the parish is still called The Knoll.

The tree-lined river Wriggle, a tributary of the river Yeo, winds its way through the village with its Shop/Post Office, Chetnole Inn, recently refurbished village hall with disabled facilities, several interesting 17th and 18th century houses and two large dairy farms. An adult population of around 300 together with lots of children provide a happy mix of generations. A village green offers cricket, football and a children’s playground. Chetnole Halt (request stop!) is on the single track railway line to Dorchester and Weymouth to the south and Frome, Bath and Bristol to the North.

St Peter’s Church

Standing in the centre of the village in a wide open churchyard, St. Peter’s Church dates back to the thirteenth century, and despite its antiquity, is light and airy.

The Nave is the oldest part of the present building and was built or rebuilt in this period. The south doorway, together with the narrow lancet window, are of the same date. The two easternmost windows on the south wall, three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, are late fifteenth century. A piscina to the east indicates that the church originally ended where the chancel arch now stands. The barrel form roof is also late fifteenth century and has moulded ribs with foliage bosses at the intersections and the moulded wall plates have carved paterae (the boarding is modern).

The West Tower was added in the fifteenth century, but is said to have been rebuilt in 1580. It has an embattled parapet with pinnacles, but the main features are the very large grotesque gargoyles at the four corners, said to be some of the finest in West Dorset.

Another curious feature is the way in which the angle buttresses on the east side rest on large head-corbels which are clearly visible from inside the nave. In 1878 the clock was installed and still faithfully strikes the hours.

The South Porch, originally stone roofed, was added in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. The stone tiles were replaced in 1980-81. At the same time the nave lead roof was also replaced by tiles.

The Chancel. Between 1860 and 1865 the church underwent extensive refurbishment and the chancel dates from this time. The architects were Slater and Carpenter. The alabaster reredos, inlaid with mosaic, is by Salviati.

The North Aisle, added in 1860, increasing the capacity considerable. Arcading replaced the former north wall (there was considerable disagreement in the parish regarding the alterations, many protesting vigorously to the Bishop!) but new windows in the north wall made to match the fifteenth century window resited to the east end of the aisle restored calm.

The Bells. The first and second of the three bells are among the oldest in Dorset, having been cast by a London founder, William Chamberlain, about 1500 and inscribed respectively:

“wox augustinae sonet in aure de” (The voice of Augustine speaks in the ear of God), and

“sante laurenti ora pro nobis” (St. Lawrence pray for us).

The tenor, cast in 1865 by John Warner and Sons of London, weighs about 8cwt. The fittings are not suitable for ringing so the bells are chimed.

Children At the east end of the north aisle the children have their own activities.

There is level access from the road and into the church. Both large print hymn books and large print Common Worship books are available.

The Primary School for our children is at St. Andrew’s, Yetminster and they have the opportunity each week to stay for the after-school Bible Teaching Club - known as the Wednesday Club. This is interdenominational and follows the Scripture Union LIGHT course.

All children receive a card on the anniversary of their baptism for twelve years.


The Church in the Community


Our Church Visiting Scheme, run by volunteers, covers the whole village, welcoming newcomers and keeping in close touch with residents especially in times of personal trouble, illness etc.

The Church is well represented on village committees, the Village Hall for example, and has a very popular stall at the annual Christmas Craft Fair offering a wide range of home made food.


In alternate years we have either Cream Teas in the churchyard or Harvest Supper in the Village Hall.