St Michael, Stinsford
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The sculpture of St. Michael, placed inside the west wall of the south aisle, is, together with the restored Purbeck Marble, Norman font, all that survives of the earliest structure on this site, where there has been worship since at least Norman times. Please see the new relief of St Michael standing in his niche in the west wall of the tower to the right of the main door which was installed in 2011.
The majority of the Church - the chancel and the north and south arcades of the nave - is of the early thirteenth century. The south aisle, with its fine Early English arcade, is the better preserved. A rood screen once stood in front of the fine chancel arch, and a still-extant hagioscope on its south side housed a circular staircase which led to the rood loft.
The chancel roof is a good speciman of 16th century oak roofing, though the wagonroof in the nave did not survive the church's extensive 19th century restorations. The west tower was added in the fourteenth century.
In 1843 the major part of the west gallery was removed. following a public appeal in 1984 to restore the gallery, and an endowment in 1990 by the American scholar Richard Little Purdy in memory of the life and work of Florence Emily Hardy. A new 'Chair Organ' was built in 1996, by Brian Daniels of Chard now sings out to remind us the the former musicians "choir".
Thomas Hardy's heart is buried here, and his tombstone which also contains the remains of his two wives, together with other family tombstones are on the left of the path leading to the Church. The Church is the 'Mellstock Church' so lovingly described in 'Under the Greenwood Tree'. The tombstone of the former Poet Laureate, Cecil Day Lewis stands in the same line.
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Rev Canon Janet Smith
Tel: 01305 262477
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The current editor is: michael clarke