St Mary, Sixpenny Handley, Dorset - 24th September 2003

A church has been present on this site for at least 900 years. The tower and the chancel both date from 1350 and the heavily buttressed porch a century later.

In 1831 the north aisle was added and two Jacobean windows were taken from the south side of the nave and inserted in to the north wall with a third added to match.  In 1874-9 the south aisle was added, and the porch moved further south to accommodate it. At this time the tower pinnacles were also replaced, with two of the originals incorporated into the churchyard wall.

The Victorian restorers left the four original gargoyles on the tower which are thought to represent the four evangelists; a man for St Matthew who teaches us about the human nature of Jesus, a lion for St Mark, a symbol of Christ's royal dignity; an ox for St Luke, who emphasises the sacrificial nature of Jesus' life and death and for St John, an eagle, who gazes further into heaven than any other creature.

St Mary's Sixpenny Handley, Dorset - MTC

Until 1859 music in the church was supplied by a barrel organ. When a one manual organ was installed, a 17 year old blind lad of 17, James Poolman, became the first organist, and held the post continuously for 44 years!  The present instrument has two manuals.

Organ at St Mary's Sixpenny Handley, Dorset - MTC

The east window is in memory of Mrs M E Parke who died in 1900.  There was a reredos, a tryptych by Martin Travers, which is now in the baptistry. The font is late Norman, made of Purbeck marble.  Sadly one corner pillar is missing as is the plug!

Banner at St Mary's Sixpenny Handley, Dorset - MTCNave and Chancel at St Mary's Sixpenny Handley, Dorset - MTC

The Sixpenny Handley web site is well worth a visit and there is an excellent Online Parish Clerk's page with register transcriptions of this parish church.

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