Saturday, April 16, 2011
St Mary, Puddletown, Dorset
This church was one of my planned objectives for the day, and the furthest away that we travelled from Sherborne before turning back. The church is remarkable for preserving its pre-Victorian interior in large part. There is a west gallery dated 1635, high box pews, a three decker pulpit, font cover and three-sided communion rails. The monuments that must have been originally elsewhere are all crammed into the south transept and are in a poor state of repair. One alabaster tomb chest poorly reassembled with two effigies and two of its sides now placed on the walls behind. Another older pair of effigies have been placed under another canopied tomb, and the lady's lower half cut out to fit around the support; her fella is black with damp mould. All of this must have been done a long time ago, it is not recent "vandalism" and to be fair in the chapel is a discussion document about planned conservation and restoration of these monuments. The chancel and north chapel are Edwardian 1910-11 by Ponting, but a good match. I wondered what was here before - and the date of construction must mean old photographs survive. Under the gallery hang some odd fire buckets, and the font cover also of c1635 sits on a remarkable Norman tub font.
On entering the church got the WOW I expected from Marion, but closely followed by an OH! From outide Marion had no idea that she had visited before but seeing the font and the fire buckets she realised she had. This was my first visit to every one of the churches seen on our day out. However Marion was not disappointed to come here a second time.