St Michael, Stinsford
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Our small village church is on the site that has had a christian place of worship since the days of the Anglo-Saxons.
The shape and dimensions of our church changed in the 13C and 14C with the addition of the aisles. As a pre-reformation church 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. In 1843 the major part of the west gallery was removed but 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 West Gallery was built. A new 'Chair Organ' was built and placed in the gallery in 1996. This now sings out to remind us the the former musicians "choir".
Thomas Hardy's heart is buried here, and his tombstone also contains the mortal 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.
Vacancy or Interregnum
Our former incumbent, the Reverend Canon Janet Smith has just retired and we are in what is known currrently as a "Vacancy" but the administration and life and work of the church carries on as normal.
Fortunately in our benefice we are blessed with several retired priests who have offered their help and guidance to fill the gap of a full time vicar in conducting services and helping as needed.The Reverend Pene Kennedy will take the foremost role in the cure (care) of souls during this period leading the PCC s and churchwardens in the spitual aspects of the parishes.
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Shirley Churchill 01305 260159
Sally Warburton 01305 269161
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The current editor is: michael clarke