St. Paul's Church, Broadoak

This charming little church is officially designated a chapel-of-ease (as indeed, is Eype Church although it is more than three times the size). It serves the attractive, straggling hamlet of Broadoak which lies to the north of Symondsbury, on the fringe of the lovely Marshwood Vale. It, too, was erected at the instigation of the Revd. Henry Rawlinson in the 1860s.

In contrast to the pretentiousness of so many Victorian churches, its simplicity is its great virtue, and is reminiscent of a Saxon building. The architect engaged was once again Talbot Bury.

The furnishings are in keeping, simple and on a small scale. The altar is a comparatively recent gift; it was given by the late Mrs. Streatfeild, having been in her brother's private chapel. A modern lectern of elegant and unusual design has been given recently by the Streatfeild family in memory of the late Commander John Streatfeild, eldest son of the former rector, who farmed at Denhay for many years. The family are still in residence.

Two things more unconnected than the church and the diseases of animals can scarcely be imagined, but in Broadoak church there exists a curious link between the two. In the early 1860's a particularly virulent cattle disease known as the Rinderpest and possibly a very virulent form of foot-and-mouth disease, swept the whole of West Dorset, ruining many farmers and wiping out entire herds. Incredibly, this small area round Symondsbury escaped the scourge, and so at a vestry meeting on 2nd April 1866, the gentlemen present subscribed wholeheartedly to 'the purchase of Sacrament Plate for Broadoak Chapel, in gratitude to Almighty God for sparing the Parish from the infliction of Rinderpest'. The chalice thus purchased and still in use at Broadoak at the present time commemorates this event, and is inscribed : 'Presented by the Parishioners as a Thank-offering to Almighty God for having hitherto escaped the Cattle Plague, March 9, 1867.'

 

St. Peter's Church, Eype

The suggestion made by the curate, Henry Rawlinson, to his rector, Gregory Raymond, that the donation of 3,000 he proposed to make to a charity which on investigation displeased him should be used instead to build a church at Eype, delighted the old gentleman, but for various reasons nothing more was done at the time. In 1863 Gregory Raymond died, leaving the living of Symondsbury to Rawlinson, who set about making plans to build Eype church in memory of his old friend and benefactor. The land chosen, high above the village and overlooking the sea, had been part of Mr. Raymond's own very considerable estate, and it was given to the parish by Mr. Syndercombe Bower, the relative who had inherited it.

Talbot Bury (said to have been a pupil of the celebrated Alfred Stevens) was engaged as architect, and the Bishop of Salisbury laid the foundation stone in 1864. Sandstone from Sloes Hill at Symondsbury was used for much of the interior work; the more durable limestone from nearby Bothenhampton quarries for the outside walls and Bath stone for the decorative work. The stone facing of the porch in inscribed 'To the Glory of God in memory of the Reverend G. Raymond'.

Building proceeded apace and the consecration by the Bishop of Salisbury (with the Bishop of Edinburgh assisting) took place on 25th August 1865. The little church was showered with gifts, notably the east window, given by Mr. & Mrs. Rawlinson in memory of Mr. Raymond. Four other stained glass windows were given by parishioners, as was the communion plate which bears the inscription 'Presented to St. Peter's Church by John Pitfield in memory of the Rev. Gregory Raymond, June 29, 1865.' Mr. Syndercombe Bower gave the intricately carved stone pulpit, Mr. & Mrs. Gundry the font and Mr. Keddle the font cover, while the people of Eype collected for the oak lectern.

In the church's sixtieth anniversary year, special services were held, during which the Revd. J.L. Fulford - Mr. Rawlinson's grandson, was a guest preacher. Henry Rawlinson himself is buried in the churchyard at Eype, to which he was so much attached.

The most recent gift to the church is a beautiful altar frontal. It was mainly the work of Mrs. Muton, but she had the happy thought of asking the ladies of Eype and Watton each to put in a few stitches.

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