Rural idyll stands firm despite the rampaging winds

January 7, 2014

Thatched bus stop 2

THATCHED SHELTER: This bus stop with a thatched roof, where I am standing by, in Bloxworth, is an exceptional sight rather than the norm.

St Andrew's Church, Bloxworth

LIVING HISTORY:  St Andrew’s Church, Bloxworth, where a previous incumbent, John Morton, went onto become Archbishop of Canterbury, under Henry VII.

Botany Bay Inne, Blosworth

HEARTY WELCOME: The Botany Bay Inn, is on the A31, and is the pub used regularly by Bloxworth residents. It has an award-winning beer garden and currently is serving carveries.

Scenic route

SOUTH BOUND: This picture was taken down walking on the approach into Bloxworth from the A35 slip road.

 

A FORMER Archbishop of Canterbury, collections of creepy crawlies, a unique hour glass and stand and a thatched bus stop bring prominence to an unfamiliar village in Dorset.

The parish of Bloxworth is six miles north-west of Wareham and comprises of a long strip of land of about one and a quarter miles by three and half miles between the villages of Morden and Bere Regis and has been described by some as a ‘rural idyll’.

The village has a lot of forested areas in its midst and the north part is comprised of chalk; the middle part clay and the southern part sand and gravel. The main crops grown on the land are wheat and barley. There are 2,776 hectares of heathland and forest altogether.

Like many parts of Dorset, the village has been hit by the recent surge of flood water and extreme blustery conditions that has resulted in large branches hanging off Scots pines, oaks, beeches and other large trees. It is like seeing the aftermath of carnage after King Kong going on the rampage.

In fact when entering the village after leaving the A35 from the first exit to Bloxworth, we actually ran into folks I can only assume were local residents or contractors sawing up a tree that fallen across the road.

Bloxworth House is one of the most striking buildings in the village and dates back to the 17th Century. It is sometimes open to the public and was one of the homes of the Strode family. Many of the residential properties in Bloxworth have thatched roofs.

St Andrew’s Church is a small building (as churches go) with a chancel and square tower that contains two bells. One of these dates back to the 14th century and on its rims are inscriptions that refer to the Trenchard and Pickering families.

If you look carefully inside the church there is what appears to be a large egg timer in the pulpit. This is in fact an hour glass and stand. The hour glass dates back to the 17th Century.

St Andrew’s Church is one of the few churches in the country where it still can be used to regulate the time of the sermon, something that was brought in at the Reformation. It runs out after an hour.

One of its most famous previous rectors was John Morton (1420-1500). Morton had the distinction of being plucked from the obscurity of a rural parish to become Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of King Henry Vii.

As Bishop of Ely, Morton appeared in Shakespeare’s play Richard III, had a stretch in the Tower of London and was part of the team that helped propel the Tudors onto the throne.

Another previous incumbent served there for 49 years. The exotically-named Octavius Pickard-Cambridge had no arachnophobia as in his spare time as he catalogued over 800 types of spiders in Dorset.

To finish my day’s visit to Bloxworth when I was also visiting one of the local residents, my travelling companion Dave and I took the opportunity to check out the Botany Bay Inn which is claimed by Bloxworth locals as their local pub but it is closer to Winterborne Zelston.

The Botany Bay Inn was built in 1920 and backs out onto open farmland and can be found along the A31. This traditional English pub has wood panelling and a neutral décor. They have an award-winning beer garden and al-fresco dining facilities.

We partook of their carvery which was very well cooked and went down a treat so much so that I could only have light meals for the next day and a half.

 

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Karl January 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Worthwhile reading. I am glad to see that the recent weather hasn’t done too much damage to Bloxworth.

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