St. Mary the Virgin
The Church sits firmly in the centre of this charming village on rising ground. There has been a building here since the middle of C12, but as with most country churches, it has evolved and been altered by successive generations. The most outstanding features remaining from the original are the magnificent chancel arch, complete with typical dog-tooth moulding, and the lowest stage of the tower. The Church guide suggests that some of the gargoyles may have come from the Norman building.
The north and south aisles are C14. There are two squints (hagioscopes) on the southern side of the chancel arch and these would have given a view of the high altar, so that the raising of the host could be synchronised in the aisle chapels. Above the squints, originally reached by a wooden stair, there is a C15 doorway, which would once have led to the rood loft. The south doorway, within the porch, is also C15 and features some elaborate and important carving (see below).
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©
By 1848, when the Rev. Thomas Sanctuary arrived (pictured below), the church was in a dilapidated state and anyway too small to accommodate the growing congregation. The architect, John Hicks of Dorchester was employed (1854 -59) to rebuild the north arcade of pillars, open the west arch leading into the tower to provide more seating (after the galleries were removed) and rebuild the chancel.
The floriated design painted on the walls of the nave is the work of Mrs. Sanctuary, the vicar's wife. Further exquisite wall painting can be found in the chancel and this was done by a Miss Gunning, whose father was also an archdeacon.
There is a C13 font, which was at one time relegated to the churchyard, but reinstated in 1972; a Victorian black marble one being removed. (note the floor tiling is almost identical to North Poorton) The brilliant Caen stone pulpit is by R.L.Boulton of Worcester and very similar to the North Poorton pulpit
The Rev. Thomas Sanctuary, vicar 1848 - 89 is worthy of comment because he became Archdeacon of Dorset and was responsible for not only rebuilding Powerstock, but for North Poorton and West Milton as well. When he arrived in the village it had a reputation for being very wild and he was offered the living because he had been a boxing Blue!
For those who are interested in wall painting, there is an intriguing connection with the East Holme church in the Purbecks. (See towards the end of the description).