In January 2013 our benefice known as The Lower Stour (Blandford St Mary, Charlton Marshall and Spetisbury) merged with the Bridge Parishes (Sturminster Marshall, Shapwick and Kingston Lacy) with the possibility of eventually forming one new united benefice.
In March 2019 The Rev Carolyn Couzens was appointed as our new Priest-in-charge. Carolyn can be contacted on 01202 743819 or [email protected] If you wish to enquire about baptism, marriage or a funeral, or discuss a pastoral matter, please contact Carolyn.
Our church community is drawn from Christians of varying traditions. There is a service in the church most Sunday mornings at 10.00 am, except that on the first Sunday of the month an all-age service led by a lay team, rotates in turn around Charlton Marshall, Spetisbury and Blandford St Mary, and on the fifth Sunday the communion service rotates around all six churches of the group. Our communion services use the modern Common Worship order, and Family Services are led by a team from the membership. The type and location of services and any changes to the normal time, is advertised on the notice board at the church, also in the Church Room and on the Services and Events page of this website. The Communion on the second Sunday is currently held at Blandford St Mary.
FOR A TRIAL PERIOD BEGINNING IN OCTOBER 2019 ALL SUNDAY SERVICES IN THE LOWER STOUR WILL BE AT 10.45 AND ALL SERVICES IN THE BRIDGE WILL BE AT 9.15. SEE 'SERVICES AND EVENTS' FOR DETAILS.
We want to help people explore the Christian faith as well as affirming it.
Social and fundraising activities include the annual Summer Fete, and various concerts and meals throughout the year. Parishioners are also active in the monthly lunch club and the other activities in the Church Room.
Activities shared with the other churches include a fortnightly Home Group for Bible Study. See later pages of the website for contact details. For information about the other churches, click on Blandford St Mary or Spetisbury or go to www.bridgebeneficedorset.org.
Brief history of the building.
The tower is medieval with Georgian additions. The nave probably has the same footprint as the medieval church which preceded the present building. There may well have been an earlier (Saxon?) church bearing in mind the proximity to the river and the present of an ancient yew.
There have been at least three major restorations of the building:-
In 1713 the church was in a sad state of disrepair – ‘in danger of falling’ according to the churchwardens at the time – and the Rector, Dr Charles Sloper funded the rebuilding from his own pocket, giving us the superb building we have today which is often described as being ‘in the style of Wren’ and ‘one of the best examples of a Georgian Church outside London’.
In 1895 the box pews that had been made in 1713 were taken out and made into the present pews; the north aisle was extended eastwards and today is occupied by the organ; an enormous amount of general refurbishment was also undertaken to adapt the building to the needs of the time. That work was done extremely sensitively, retaining and enhancing all that was best of the 1713 work.
Again in the 1980s large sums were spent restoring the church, especially the flat roof of the north aisle and the Georgian reredos at the east end. Today the village has a church building that is sound and cared for.
More recently a kitchen and toilet have been added.