The Lower Stour churches comprises the three parishes of Blandford St Mary, Charlton Marshall and Spetisbury, located along the A350 near the Georgian town of Blandford Forum
St Mary’s Church, Lower Blandford St Mary
Situated in Lower Blandford St Mary, the earliest parts of the church date from c1350. Later additions have provided an attractive well appointed church in a quiet lane.
St Mary the Virgin Church, Charlton Marshall
A rare example of an early eighteenth century rural parish church, it is a grade 1 listed building; it includes an earlier late fourteenth century tower with Georgian embellishments, and a (largely) sympathetic Victorian refurbishment in 1895. It is a gem.
It is located on the banks of the River Stour and lies one mile equidistant from Spetisbury and Blandford St Mary churches.
St John the Baptist Church, Spetisbury
The origins of the church are medieval with links to an Augustinian monastic settlement in the village. In the eighteenth century the living at Spetisbury was a wealthy one, a fact not lost one of its longest serving rectors (61 years) Rev Thomas Rackett who is buried in the churchyard. An absentee parson he nevertheless spent a fortune on a spectacular array of schemes; to his credit his expenditure on the Rectory now known as Cedar Court is a magnificent example of a compact early Georgian country house.
The church was much rebuilt in 1858 with the sixteenth century pulpit retained. It contains a fine organ and an impressive peal of six bells rung by an enthusiastic and dedicated team of ringers.
Adjacent to the church is the Church of England primary school to which some 50+ children from Charlton Marshall attend. This is just one example of the very close links that exist between Charlton Marshall and the village of Spetisbury.