St John the Baptist Church, Spetisbury stands at the northern end of the village and is one of three churches in the Lower Stour Benefice (Charlton Marshall and Blandford St Mary being the other two). Services are held on most Sunday mornings throughout the year. There is a "Together at 10" All Age Service on the first and fifth Sundays; this is a combined service for the Benefice with the venue rotated in turn around the three churches.
Service Times: Details of service times and venues click on the link, and these are also published in the monthly magazine "Three Villages News," copies of which are held in all three churches. Visitors to our church are always assured of a very warm welcome, and those attending services are invited to remain behind for coffee or tea and biscuits.
Fundraising: The church is a Grade I listed building, with upkeep costs an ongoing challenge for the Parochial Church Council (PCC). Fundraising activities include the annual Summer Fete held in Spetisbury Manor grounds sometime in June; the Harvest Supper in the village hall every October, fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes night in early November, and the Christmas Fair as close as possible to Christmas in the village hall. We also raise funds through the use of the Government's Gift Aid scheme, where donations accompanied by a Gift Aid declaration allow us to reclaim tax on the amount given. Application forms can be obtained from the PCC treasurer (see below for contact details).
Contacts: COMBINED BENEFICE CONTACTS - PRIEST-IN-CHARGE :
Rev Joe Edwards – 01258 857620,
LICENSED LAY MINISTERS:
Jane Griffin – 454653
Tony Parker – 858469
Clive Tory – 857359,
CLERK TO REVD EDWARDS Jan Standing, Tel: 07581340014
PCC Treasurer: Sandy Jack; 07952026063;
Coffee and Home-made Cake every first and third Monday of the month throughout the year, in Spetisbury Church from 10-11.30am. Small lending library and local produce for sale. All welcome.
The 'Lower Stour' branch of the Mothers Union represents the three churches of our benefice and usually meets every third Tuesday at 8:00 pm in members' homes. Call 01258 858469 for details.
Our Home Group meets fortnightly on Thursdays at 7:00 pm and represents the three churches of our benefice. For details call one of the church wardens.
'Chums' is for preschool children and their carers. It meets in Charlton Marshall church on the second Wednesday of each month at 10:00 am for ¾ hour. For more info call the 01258 858469.
A Short History of our Church:
There has been a church in Spetisbury since Norman times. The church was re-built in 1858, but parts of the old church, dating from the 12th century, remain. The columned arcade, the east window, and the two windows in the south wall of the church are late 13th century; also the single lancet in the north wall. The most striking feature is the massive Norman Tower, probably also 13th century, and housing the church's six heavy bells. Other items of interest include:
The Font: made of Purbeck marble (the same material as the pillars in Salisbury Cathedral) and probably the same age as the tower.
The Processional Cross: Apparently belonging originally to an Abyssinian tribe the cross was found among the regalia of a Chief in Somaliland, and presented to the church as a memorial gift.
John Boyer's Tomb: Set in the North wall, though originally in the chancel, this fine monument commemorates Sir John Boyer, onetime Lord of the Manor of Spetisbury, who died in 1599.
The Pulpit: Jacobean, 17th century, but standing on a modern base.
Various memorial slabs: in the floor at the West end of the Nave should be noted for their fine lettering.
The Trihedron: in memory of Thomas Rackett (rector from 1780 to 1840) located just outside the main entrance is fairly unusual in both its form and for the individual it remembers. Rackett was an eccentric, though talented, individual. He is chiefly remembered for the Rackett Papers, which included details of a quarrel with his Bishop concerning residence in the parish, and which are the source of a publication by the Dorset Record Society entitled the Thomas Rackett Papers. His epitaph includes the (presumably intended) humorous aside that his interests extended far beyond mere parochial duties!
His incumbency of 60 years is something of a record.