Mary the Immaculate Mother of God and Queen of Martyrs and St.Ignatius
The Christian community here can trace its roots to the 11th Century, but nothing remains of the earliest building in the parish church of St.Giles, which was erected in C14 in the mainly Perpendicular style.
The Roman Catholic church of Mary the Immaculate Mother of God and Queen of Martyrs and St.Ignatius at Chideock is not easy to find. Like so many Dorset churches you need to know roughly where it is before setting out in search. Turning north off the A35 by the parish church leads eventually to the church on the right side of the road (not to be confused with the mortuary chapel, which lies near the parish church). The effort will be abundantly rewarded.
The building lies at the bottom of a sloping path and one is immediately struck by the large circular moulding, incorporating a statue of Our Lady, which forms part of the elevation above the entrance narthex. Inside, there is a breathtaking riot of colour and craftsmanship, with the eye being drawn towards the exquisite gilded stature of Our Lady above the altar and immediately below the domed cupula. The building was completed in 1872 in the Romanesque style and is largely, physically, the work of Charles Weld who lived in the attached manor house behind.
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©
Above the nave and on either side below the clerestory are paintings by members of the Weld family of the Chideock Martyrs and others. Of the 360 people who died for the Catholic faith between 1535 and 1681, five are regarded as the Chideock Martyrs.
Either side of the altar are chapels. One dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the other to St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus. The sculptures on either side of the chancel arch and supported on columns were executed by Charles Weld.
At the rear of the church on the southern side is a beautiful little baptistry.
This is a really wonderful little much loved church that most handsomely repays a visit.