St Mary's Church

Brief description and history

A church has stood on this town centre site from at least the Middle Ages and probably much longer than that. The earliest remains, dating from the 13th century, are to be found in the north and south transepts.  Much of the rest of the building, including the central tower, dates from the 15th century. 

In St. Catherine's Chapel can be found the Monmouth Rebellion brass. It commemorates Edward Coker who was killed in East Street (reputedly by a bullet fired from an upstairs window in the Bull Hotel) by one of the Duke of Monmouth's officers in 1685. 

In the Victorian period considerable alterations and enlargement took place. In the ten months leading up to July 1860 a major restoration was carried out: the chancel was completely rebuilt, and the nave lengthened by two bays. The subsequent enlargement enabled the galleries to be removed without reducing the seating capacity. 

Thomas Hardy did not approve of the alterations. "The church", he wrote, "had had such a practical joke played upon it by some facetious restorer or other as to be scarce recognisable...".

Yet, despite Hardy's disapproval, the church continued to be much loved and late 19th and 20th century craftsmen continued to enhance it with stained glass and the organ we see and hear today. The Lady chapel was created in 1900. The east window is Victorian and depicts the Queen [Victoria] as the Queen of Sheba.

Dove's reference to the bells

[16/12/00] Bridport, Dorset, S Mary, 8, 21-0-0 in E flat. Thursday 20.00 


Map reference : SY465926

Photographs and text taken from the church web site.  Visit it at:

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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
July 2001 -