Dorset

Of the four Western counties Dorset is home to the fewest churches retaining historical bench ends, only 25 in total. Some are listed with possible 17th century pieces reused in later seating, but experience shows that in some cases 16th century pieces can be mistake for 17th century, and vice versa, so the only way to be sure will be to go and check. I have yet to visit any of the churches in this list in person, but online galleries will be available when I do.

1.Affpuddle
2.Bere Regis
3.Bradford Abbas
4.Buckland Newton
5.Folke
6.Fordington
7.Hammoon
8.Hampreston
9.Haydon
10.Hilfield
11.Leigh
12.Leweston
13.Melcombe Horsey
14.Nether Compton
15.Poyntington
16.Shapwick
17.Sherborne Abbey
18.Sherborne, Church of St. Mary Magdalene (poss. 17th century ends reused)
19.Tarrant Rawston? (17th century timber in seating)
20.Thorncombe
21.Trent
22.Turnerspuddle
23.West Stafford
24.West Stour?
25.Yetminster

This list was compiled in the first instance by reference to J. Charles Cox, Bench Ends in English Churches (London, 1916). It is sad to note that in other counties Cox was listed bench ends still surviving as late as 1916 which have since been lost. In Dorset however all seven of the churches he mentioned still retained their bench ends when the relevant Listed Building records were compiled. Cox’s list has been checked against, and expanded by, a thorough search through the Listed Building records of every parish church in the county.

Dorset.jpg

For a larger version of the map, click HERE

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