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Where in Dorset? April 2014 competition

PUBLISHED: 14:33 10 April 2014 | UPDATED: 14:33 10 April 2014

Archant

Martin Warwick visits a village with an unusual church, a thriving village shop and a curious carving of a saint

Below the chalk escarpment, one of the many lanes leading into this month’s village passes a grass triangle with a sycamore in the middle where a plaque proclaims that here was the village pound. At the other end, where most of the village is clustered, after passing the village school and recreation field, a right turn takes you past the village hall to reach the thriving village shop.

The church, rather detached from the spreading village but nearer the older thatched cottages, is unique in Dorset. It was built in the 13th century but it was completely rendered on the outside during restoration in the late 1850s so earlier stone walls aren’t visible any more. Also, being slightly off the normal east-west alignment, the sundial on the porch has been laid at an angle to line it up with the sun’s path.

Above the door is what Arthur Mee, in The King’s England series, described as ‘a rude carving’ of a saint, probably St Thomas from an earlier Saxon church, which was dug up in the vicar’s garden in 1926. It is ‘thought to be one of the oldest and most curious sculptured fragments in Dorset’. There are some fine table-tombs in the churchyard. The Reverend Collins’ tomb, west of the porch, has an outstanding winged skull with crossbones motif and coat-of-arms. On the south aisle wall inside there’s a brass plate commemorating Thomas Barnes, one of Dorset dialect poet William Barnes’ wealthier ancestors, who died in 1624. So do you know which Dorset village this church is in?

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Send your answers to: Where in Dorset? (April), Dorset Magazine, Archant House, Babbage Road, Totnes, TQ9 5JA or enter via competitions@dorsetmagazine.co.uk.

The first correct answer selected at random on 30 April 2014 wins £25. February’s mystery place was Tarrant Gunville and the winner is Laura Farnham from Bridport.

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