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Some significant occasions 

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 990 The village came under Glastonbury Abbey, which probably had a Church built.
1302 Consecration - or more likely, re-consecration following a rebuild.
1821 Five of the bells were re-cast.
1866 The Church was re-opened following a re-build.
1906 The Treble bell was added.
1957 The Rector was killed in the belfry by the 5th bell.
2013 Lead guttering was stollen, leading to water damage.
2020 The interior was reconfigured (to follow when work completed).

Any History related to Dorset cannot avoid reference to what is usually known as "Hutchins's History and Antiquities of Dorset’ - this is simply referred to on this WebSite as "Hutchins".

A brief history of

The Parish Church of

St. Andrew

Okeford Fitzpaine

Originally written by Jane Tapping
but modified and expanded since

[Under construction - pictures to follow]

The Church from the Lychgate

Most ancient churches show the marks of successive builders and restorers according to the use and ideas of their times. This is as it should be as the Parish Church has been the focus of the parish throughout the ages and like an old house, ought to show signs of being "lived in" by past generations, as well as being the home of the present one.

It is probable that there has been a Church on this site since before 900 AD, for the village was then part of the "holdings" of Glastonbury Abbey.  The earliest buildings would have been made of wood.

The present building, apart from the Tower, was almost entirely rebuilt in 1866 using much of the material of the earlier church which dates from the 14th century. The earliest record is found in the Register of Simon of Gaunt, Bishop of Salisbury 1296-1315, ordering the Rector of this and some neighbouring parishes to have their churches ready for consecration during the week following St. James Day (July 25th) 1302. It is possible that the lower part of the Tower may have been built by that time. It is of unusual design, with the recessed window and internal supporting pillars.

The original church probably consisted of Chancel, Nave and Tower, the aisles being added in Tudor times. The rebuilt church of 1866 was intended to copy this Tudor building as closely as possible, so we probably have a faithful reproduction of a late mediaeval church, but shorn of its rich furnishings, such as choir and chantry screens. All that remains of the former screen at the time of the last restoration arc a couple of odd panels saved from a bonfire

From Hutchins 'History of Dorset' it appears that in the 18th century there was a fine rood loft surmounting a richly carved screen, the North aisle was formerly a Chantry Chapel, enclosed by a "handsome screen''. After many years of use as a children's corner, the chapel was reinstated during the 1980's and is used on those occasions when wc have a said service. The carved niches on either side of the East window of this aisle are all that remain of this little chapel. In the window of the North wall here, are fragments of early glass bearing traces of various initials and devices. These, together with the fragments of earlier work, such as the devices, of the Percy family. Earls of Northumberland, carved on the book rest near the lectern, and the carved figure-heads on the outside of the East wall of the Chancel and the South wall of the church, may provide some connection with the families who owned the Manor of Okeford in early days; such as Robert Fitzpainc. the Lord of the Manor in the time of King Edward I. and in whose time the church was probably built and whose name the village now bears. Hutchins says that "the ancient and knightly family of the Fitzpaines' were descended from Paine, brother of Eustace I'itzjohn, in the time of King Stephen; and that their descendents married into the Percy family, who owned large estates in these parts. Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, grandson of Hotspur sold the manor to Sir Thomas Kitson. Alderman and Sheriff of London in 1533. It passed via the Darcy family and the Countess of Shrewsbury to Sir Thomas Frekc of Shroton (i.e. Iwcme Courtney, whose church was consecrated at the same time as this one by Bishop Simons of Gaunt). From the Frekcs, possession went to Julines Bcckford of Jamaica, whose son Peter married a daughter of George Pitt, first Lord Rivers. William Henry Pitt, third Baron Rivers, assumed the name Pitt Rivers the family which still owns much land here and who are the present Patrons of the living.  

If the great landowning families have left traces of their connection with the church and parish, successive Rectors have also made their mark one way or another. Duke Butler rebuilt the Chancel on a smaller scale in 1772, possibly in order to adapt the building to the liturgical needs of the time with the Altar and people brought closer together as the Prayer Book requires. The table, at present in the South Aisle, was probably the Holy Table in use at this time. I his incumbent also converted the 15th century pulpit into a Font and placed in its stead a carved oak pulpit. There is no trace of the latter now and the original stone pulpit was put back to its proper use, much restored, with the addition of the figures in the niches and the stairway in the 1866 restoration.   The 1866 Font is of Caen stone, supported by a shaft of red alabaster. John Rivers Hunter, commemorated by the East Window of the Chancel, rebuilt the whole church in 1866, apart from the Tower. The date of the restoration is recorded on the Porch. During the restoration the Chancel was returned to what is supposed to be its original dimensions. At this time the musicians gallery under the Tower was removed. The organ replaced the village orchestra for church music - a great loss in many ways to the life of both church and village. The present Organ was installed in about 1898 and has been recently completely renovated.

Robert Frampton. instituted in 1679, and resigned in 1683, after becoming Bishop of Gloucester. He was one of the "Non-jurors", i, e. one of the 10 Bishops who refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to William III and Mary, and for which he was deprived of his See. He is mentioned by Samuel Pepys in his Diary in an entry dated 20th January, 1667 "anil coming home, I to church, and (here, beyond expectation, find our seat and all the church crammed by twice as many people as used to be; and to my great joy find Mr. Frampton in the pulpit; so to my great joy I hear him preach, and I think the best sermon for goodness and oratory, without affectation or study, that ever I heard in my life. The truth is he preaches the most like an apostle that ever I heard man; and it was much the best time that ever I spent in my life in church". The church referred to is probably St. Olave's, Hart Street. In his short incumbency here Robert Frampton began to build the new Parsonage House in 1683 leaving £200 towards its completion, which was done by his successor John Frcke, instituted 1685 (Sir Thomas Frekc was the Patron at this time). His wife, Jane, gave some Communion plate; the paten is inscribed

"The gift of Jane, wife of John Freke. Rector of this parish of Ockford Fitzpaine, to be used only in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, December 25th anno, dont 1703."

Incidentally his son John, achieved distinction in the medical profession, being elected chief surgeon of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. London in 1729. He was also author of a treatise on electricity, of another on the art of healing, and yet another on the nature and properties of fire.

Science also called another incumbent of this benefice about this time. Thomas Butler, instituted in 1780, is said to have had a comprehensive knowledge, being well informed on almost any subject. I lis taste however, ran especially in music and mechanics. One practical outcome of this fusion of interests was the inventing and making of what a contemporary called a "rythmomeler", for measuring musical time. This instrument "finished in the most perfect manner, with pendulum, wheel-work, dial, stand and case, all of his own work" must have been one of the very first, if not the original metronome.

A parishioner in more recent years has achieved distinction in the mechanical field and risen to national fame    Ernest John Hutchings Lemon, 1884 - 1954. Born in Okeford Fitzpaine, son of ihe village carpenter, was knighted for his work in aircraft production in the 1939- 1945 War. Sir Emest. who started life as a "back-door boy" at the Rectory, rose to be Chief Mechanical Engineer and Vice- President of the L. M. S. Railway and in 1938 was appointed Director General of Aircraft Production, with a scat on the Air Council. The parish may well be proud of one of its sons who contributed so much to the nation.

Benefactors to the church throughout the ages must be legion and most of them unknown. In recent times sums of money have been bequeathed in legacies for the upkeep of the church and churchyard, as well as gifts in kind. Windows, furnishings, electric lighting etc., testify to the latter. Particular mention should be made of the Phillips family, connected with the local dairy factory founded by Joseph Phillips in 1843. The East windows of the North and South Aisles commemorate members of this family as do also the installation of the electric lighting and a trust fund for the upkeep of Church and Churchyard. These windows are considered to be particularly tine examples

Another benefactor was Miss Todd who also left a sum of money for the upkeep of church and churchyard. This family was also connected with a former local industry - brick making. The Brickyard is now the site of a newer occupation, caravan building.

The I.ychgate, erected in 1911, is a memorial to the Hallet Family, who were former parishioners, this family included several Churchwardens during the 19th century.

A feature of interest is the memorial stone in the main aisle, with the fine lettering of the period bearing the date 1651, to Thomas Phillips who died 'In Ye 99th Yeare of his age and of Susanna his wife, aged 85, in 1677; and' Joseph thiere son who dyed ivne the 2 in the 49th yeare of his age. Batcheler Anno Dom. 1681*. This stone is now covered by carpet.

Communion Plate.

The oldest plate is an Elizabethan chalice and paten dated 1574, of similar design to those in some other Dorset churches and probably the product of a Dorchester silversmith of that period. There is also a large flagon dated 1684. the gift of Mrs. Joan Baker, of Trull in 


     Pic with cottages


Pic with gateway


Pic with  iron gate


Pic of interior

Pic with Lychgate

Pic from tower



Church plate




West window – Suffer


SouthAisle window – The Good Shepherd



Bell ringers


Bell chamber






Somerset. Also the paten mentioned above, given by Jane Frcke. Our treasures are now kept safely in the bank.

The Bells.

Of the six bells, five were recast in 1821 and one added in 1906. The inscriptions on the original bells were as follows

1. 1664. R. S. W. B.C. W.

2. Ave Maria Gracia

3. (Illegible)

4. I Often Have Been Beat And Banged My Friends Rejoice To See Me Hanged And When My Friends Do Chance To Die Then I For Them Will Loudly Crie.

5. B. Phillips, John Trowbridge, Churchwardens, John Hallett, Overseer.

The new bell, the Treble, added in 1906, was given by the Rector, The Revd. J. H. Phillips.

Tragedy overtook another Rector, Reverend W. R. Mortimer in 1957. He was showing some children the bells on a Sunday, when the bells were raised. The 5th bell overturned and killed him.

There has been a long tradition of ringing here, maintained largely by the Ridout family. Mr. Bert Ridout only retiring a few years ago after over 80 years of devoted service as a ringer.

The Churchyard of approximately three acres is maintained by volunteers. The south and west corner is designated as an area for wild life, for which we have collected a number of awards in the Dorset Wildlife Trust competition. We have a wonderful display of primroses each Spring and have started to plant more native wild flowers to act as food plants for the many butterflies that inhabit the area. The churchyard has been extended on two occasions. Firstly in 1861 when several cottages were demolished and the ground incorporated into the churchyard. This was the area to the right as one goes up the main path, about halfway up you can see a distinct dip in the ground. By the early I900's this area was full so the churchyard was extended once again, incorporating part of an orchard. The wall originally ran along the south side of the footpath to Back Lane. The work was done by the men of the village, work having to be suspended to allow the hay and harvest to be got in. The work was completed in 1911. There were complaints about this extension by the Primitive Methodists who attended the Chapel in Back Lane but they were withdrawn when the footpath was instated. There are photographs just inside the main door of the Church, taken in 1860 and about 1890. Just inside the South gate, on the left is the tombstone of Roger Ridout, reportedly a well-known local smuggler, it was certainly an expensive stone in its time. All our Church Registers are held in the Dorset County Records Office in Dorchester. Most have been transcribed onto microfilm so arc readily available for reference.




Robert Fitzpaine, Knt


John Gest. inst. March 4th. 1317 (resigned).

Nicolas de Alwynsheyc, Clerk, inst. October 3rd. 1318.

Robert de Cary, Clerk, inst. September 7th. 1323.

John de Ford, Clerk, inst. May 7th, 1325.

William da Scourve. Clerk inst. June 3rd. 1325

William Bettemill, Pbr.. inst. December 11th, 1349

Robert, Lord Poynings

John Bradcley. Pbr.. inst. March 27th, 1406.

John Bardway, Pbr., inst. (?), died 1439.

Walter. Urd Hungerford. of    Hatchbury. Patron in right of    his wife, Alianor, widow of  Richard. Lord Poynings.


John Chcddeworth. S.T.B.. inst. August 12th. 1439 (consecrated Bishop of Lincoln, 1452, and died 1471).

Walter Bayliff. Pbr., inst. July 21st, 1442.

The Feoffees of Henry. Earl of Northumberland.


Robert Asyngby, Pbr., inst. April 10th, 1462.

Thomas Husee, senior, Esq.,     Patron by virtue of a grant       from Alianor, Countess of Northumberland, June 20th, 5 Ed. VI,


Elias Husoc. Rector of St. Trinity, Wareham, inst. August 13th, 1465.

Alianor. Countess of Northumberland

Thomas Lovel, Pbr., inst. August, 1470

Guy Fairfax, Ac, FcofTees of Henry, late Earl of Northumberland.

John Bostoek, Pbr.. Canon Residentiary, of Sarum, inst. July 25th, 1489.

Robert Pychard, Pbr., inst. (?). died 1504.

Henry (4th), Earl of Northumberland

Alan Piercy, Clerk, inst. November 25th, 1504.

Robert Ridley, DD., inst. March 3rd, 1515.

Sir Thomas Kitson, Knt., Alderman of I.ondon

Henry Lavaner. Pbr., inst. August 2Slh, 1536.

John Morecomb. inst. 1546.

Robert Raine, inst. 1547.

Robert Bird, inst. 1554.

John Cooper, inst. 1571. Died 1593.

King and Queen


William Moone, LI. B., inst. March 9th, 1555.

Thomas White, M.A., inst. 1593 (buried at Langton). Died 1629.

John Parke, M.A., inducted January 13th, 1629. Died 1634.

Robert Ryves, LI. B.. inst. 1634. Died or Resigned 1635

John Dcnnet, M.A., inst. 1635. Died 1673.

Hugh Ryves, LI. D., inst. 1673.

Robert Frampton, DD.. inst. 1679. resigned 1683, (consecrated Bishop of Gloucester, March 27th, 1681. He was a Non-juror, hence deprived for not taking the Oaths to William III. and Mary. February 1st. 1690). The Rectory was built by him.

John Freke, M.A., inst. 1685. Died 1711.

Thomas Freke (Shroton) and Thomas Pyle, Esqs.


Nicolas Ridge way, M.A., Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, inst. May 18th, 1712. Died 1743.

George Pitt, jun., Esq., of Stratford Say.


William Sommer, M.A., Rector of Wareham, inst. MARCH 27TH, 1743. Died 1749.

George Pitt Esq.

Duke Butler, B.A., Queen's College, Oxford, inst. July 30th, 1750. Died 1779. Rector 29 years.

George, 2nd Lord Rivers


Thomas Butler, LI. B., Queen's College. Oxford (the son of above), inst. February I Ith, 1780. Died 1811.

Robert Hunter. D.D., Rector of Burton Bradstock. inst. September 18th. 1811. Died 1815 or 1816.

John Lowndes. M.A.. inst. April 24th, 1816 (resigned)

George Rivers Hunter. M.A.. inst. December 23rd. 1820. died May 26th, 1872. Rector 52 years.

Curates in Charge     

Robert C. Price, M.A., 1856-1866.    

John Hosgood, 1886-1872.

Horace, 5th Lord Rivers (by    virtue of a grant from him the Hhon. W.H.Smith. MP., became Patron for this occasion).

John Henry Phillips, M.A., (Cambridge), inst. 1872. resigned Michaelmas, 1910. died July 30th, 1912. (Charles Arthur Phillips, M.A.. was Curate to his Father, 1900- 1910).

A.E.L.F. Pitt-Rivers, Esq.      

Edwards Thomas Butler, M.A. (Durham), (after 21 years' Missionary work under the Church Missionary Society in Bengal, India), insl. and inducted November. 1910, resigned December 1913. died September 21st, 1935.

Frank Etheridge, C.M.C., after 15 years' Missionary work under the Church Missionary Society in India, and 10 years Curate-in-charge of Christ Church, Weymouth, inst. December, 1913, inducted March, 1914. Died 1939.

G.F. Pitt-Rivers


Cecil George Rogers B.A. Lampeter, inducted April 18, 1940.

William Russell Ware Mortimer, L.Th. Durham, inducted June 11, 1944. Died in Belfry July 1st 1957.

Charles Philip de Hcaume inducted July 1958. Resigned October 1962.

Richard Nevile Longridge, Clerk instituted March 1963. Resigned July 1967.

William Eddleston M.A. St. John's Durham and WyclifTe Hall, Oxford. Priest in charge 1967- 1972.

G. A. L F. Pitt-Rivers Esq

M. J. Scott-Williams Esq


Michael James Pomeroy, Priest—in- Charge February 1st, 1973.

Appointed Rector of United Benefice of Okeford Fitzpaine with Ibberton, Belchalwell Woolland, November 1st 1973. Retired 30th September 1990


A. Pitt-Rivers, Esq


Parish united with Child Okeford, Manston and Hammoon 1st September 1991.

M. Box, retired 31st July 1994.



Phillip J Rahilly, B.D. inst. 19th September 1995, appointed Priest-in-charge Okeford Benefice Appointed Rector Okeford Benefice. Resigned October 2006.




Rev Shirley Smith appointed Priest-in-charge Okeford Benefice 2008. Resigned 2011

Rev Darren A'Courl Appointed Priest-in-charge Feb 2012, Rector Autumn 2012 Resigned July 2015

Rev. Lydia Cook



With acknowledgement to the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments and all the previous authors of this booklet. Without their hard work this would have been a major enterprise.







St Andrew's Church, Okeford Fitzpaine. is part of the Okeford Benefice, also serving the parishes of :-

St Nicholas, Child Okeford,

St Paul, Hammoon.

St. Nicholas. Manston,

Church of the Holy Rood, Shillingstone,

in the Blackmore Vale Deanery of Salisbury Diocese .

The Ministry Team:-

Rector Revd Lydia Cook 01258 861847

Churchwarden    Ian Berry

Church Treasurer Mrs Carol Landricombe       860 858

P.C.C. Secretary Mrs Elizabeth Colls

Fippenny News  Derek Day    

Monthly services:-

1st Sunday 10.30am Benefice Eucharist

Rotates around the Benefice; see church porch notice board

2nd Sunday 10.30am Parish Holy communion

3rd Sunday  10.30am Morning Worship

4th Sunday   No Service

5th Sunday Matins

Special days

e.g. Easter, Christmas, Carol Service. Harvest & Remembrance on appointed Sundays see Fippenny News or notice board

Website: www.okefordhenefice.org

Email: Lydia AT revrock.net



Thank you for visiting our Church. We hope that you have been able to enjoy not only the history and beauty but have found time to experience its peace and tranquillity.  If you would like a prayer to be included in our next service please leave a card on the board on the window sill near the visitors’ book.

Published by St. Andrew's Church, Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset

Some aspects of the history of the Church, and of some of the people who are associated with it, can be found >here<

In 2013, this article appeared in the Fippenny News, our Parish magazine:-

Theft of lead from the roof of the Church

You will all know that lead was stolen from the roof of the Church last summer and that damage was caused to the interior by the ingress of a torrent of rainwater.

After taking specialist advice, the Parochial Church Council has decided to replace the stolen lead from the North valley with strong modem stainless steel. This has little commercial value, when laid, but is extremely difficult to install and, consequently, to remove.

The new material and its installation are both very expensive and, as will be appreciated, is beyond the extent covered by the insurance. The PCC calculates that the total costs of the theft – which includes paying the first £1,000 of any insurance claim – after allowing for expenditure work which can be claimed on insurance, is in the region of £5.500 - £6,000. The PCC is the grateful beneficiary of a generous grant of £2,500 from a diocesan charity and it is likely that a further grant will be forthcoming from another church charity. It is however clear that, even with the help referred to, it will be necessary to find at least £2,000, and probably considerably more.

Can you please help?

If so, would you give your donation either to one of us mentioned below or put it in the Appeal box held by Vicky at the village shop. If it can be made by Gift Aid, which would enable us to recover tax of 25p in the £1 on your donation, please contact one of us or Vicky and a Gift Aid envelope can be supplied.

Any contribution you can make will be most gratefully appreciated. Thank you.
Keith Bradley. Churchwarden. 17 Bowey, Lower Street. Tel: 861735
Zoe Goddard. Churchwarden. `Richmond' , Lower Street. Tel: 861046
Robert James. Treasurer. The Old Rectory, Greenhayes. Tel: 860523

A Church has stood on this Site for over a thousand years. The Church - the spiritual Church and the tangible Church - has chamged significantly over the centuries.  Currently a major re-configuration of the tangible Church is in hand.

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