Turnworth (St. Mary)

Turnworth Church

St. Mary's Church, Turnworth, Dorset

The west tower is c. 1500, of greensand and flint, but the rest was rebuilt in 1868-69 by G. R. Crickmay to a design of John Hicks, after his death. Newman and Pevsner (p. 431) report that the ornately carved capitals were designed by Thomas Hardy, who worked for both Hicks and Crickmay before he became a well-known poet and novelist. The capitals represent various kinds of foliage inhabited by song birds (including a very striking owl) and sand lizards, and were carved by Boulton and Son of Cheltenham in some kind of oolitic limestone (probably Corsham Down stone). In later life, Hardy was well aquainted with the Rector (Thomas Perkins, a regular contributor of guidebooks to Bell's Cathedral Series) and apparently used to cycle over from Dorchester to read the lesson at evensong.


Other images

Turnworth Church

Carved stone capital with sand lizards in St. Mary's Church, Turnworth

Turnworth Church

Carved owl on tower arch capital in St. Mary's Church, Turnworth

Current church guide:

St Mary's Church, Turnworth.
An entertaining four page folded sheet containing a very brief history of the church, noting the importance of Mr Parry Okeden (of Turnworth House), in whose memory the church was restored. It also mentions Thomas Hardy's regular visits to the church and includes a photograph of the author with his bicycle.


3, 6½ cwt in B.

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Maintained by Michael Day, Last updated: 7 August 2007.