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Dorset Map

Whitcombe Church, which has no known dedication, was declared redundant in 1971. It is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Its chief claim to fame must be the magnificent wall painting of St Christopher (which incorporates a mermaid combing her hair), and the painted arcading. These are thought to date from around 1300, and were uncovered during the restoration of the church in 1912.

Also of interest are the Purbeck marble font that is also dated to around 1300, and the fragments of two Saxon cross shafts which are tucked into an alcove.

Between 1847-85, the poet and scholar William Barnes, a friend of Thomas Hardy, held the living (along with nearby St Peter's, Winterborne Came). He preached his first and last sermons in the church.

Sitting at the back of the church is a pulpit. However, this carries a plaque stating that it was a "Parting gift from Captain F and Lady Evelyn Sutton. March 1898", too late to be the one that Barnes used.

Up until the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the church was a daughter chapel of Milton Abbey.

The nave dates largely from the 12th century with some older masonry. The east window is 13th century and the steps to the rood loft are 15th century. The tower was added in the 16th century, and in the 18th century the south wall was rebuilt east of the main door after it collapsed due to shaky foundations.