Iwerne Valley Benefice

Celebrating Gods love in beautiful North Dorset...


St Mary's Iwerne Minster

We offer a variety of worship services and we are always pleased to welcome visitors and
new-comers.  To find out more about our historic church please follow this link or go to this  map to find us. 

 Sunday Worship

1st Sunday


Holy Communion

2nd Sunday


 Holy Communion

3rd Sunday


 Holy Communion (BCP)



 Holy Communion

4th Sunday


 Family Service

5th Sunday


 Benefice Service




In additional to our Sunday  Worship







 Informal Prayer




 Morning Prayer




Our Churchwardens are:- Mr Malcolm Green 01747 811913 and Mr Richard Hood 01747 812772

LPA's:-  Jenny Parkhouse and Linda Jones, details available from the office 01258 861576 or churchwardens


In 956AD a charter placed Iwerne and its five churches under the jurisdiction of the Abbess of Shaftesbury.  Following the Norman Conquest, the Saxon church in Iwerne was pulled down, and work started on the present building around 1100AD.

Hutchings wrote of the spire in his History of Dorse: "Of the three medieval stone spires remaining it is now the only remarkable one in the County".  This ribbed spire is 60feet high, but it was more than halved in height during the Victorian period.  The 14th century tower beneath it has a chiming clock made in 1690.  The magnificent Norman archade, north aise and chapel provide clear markers of the church's ancestry, while most of the windows are 14th century; as is the chancel, which replaced an earlier one and is attributed to William of Wykeham.

St Mary's contains some striking stained glass windows, notably that at the East End above the alter, which was designed by Christopher Whall and dedicated in 1920.Organ

Other remarkable featers include the fine organ loft and Walker organ, situated high above the nave in the West End, and the six bells in the belfry in the West Tower.  These date from 1609, two from 1618, 1768 and 1904, while the oldest is one of the very few in the Country from pre-Reformation days and dates from 1310.

Visitors are always warmly welcomed to attend services at St Mary's or to visit at their own convenience.  They will find a booklet about the church and the village inside.

Church Reordering. What Progress are we Making?    

The last four years have been a journey of discovery for the reordering group of Malcolm, Niels, Mike and Richard.  We have kept you informed of our thoughts and investigations, and at the end of 2016, finalised a plan which we are confident will obtain a Faculty, and will not by vetoed by any of the Statutory Authorities. The Faculty is the Diocesan equivalent of planning permission and is a legal requirement.

We submitted this plan to the PCC in November 2016, and we were pleased that they approved it.    

Historical Context.  Simon Everett recognised that there were many and varied ways of worshiping God, and that our church did not lend itself to many of them, because it was too packed with pews and for much of the year very cold.

These initial views were echoed by responses from the village in the Parish Council survey of 2013. Respondents asked that the church be made more flexible, and comfortable for village events, such as concerts and plays, which were too large for The Club or Abingdon Hall.

For many events in church, such as funerals and weddings, people travel a long way, and a toilet is necessary for them, and for the comfort of everyone using the building.

The installation of the toilet was completed in spring 2015. 

Why do we need more space in church?  Three of the most important ceremonies of the Christian Faith are Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals. They are each social occasions of very different natures, but all are more fitting where there is space for the family group, and the setting of the ceremony is enhanced, by allowing the beautiful simple architecture to frame it.

We have the most beautiful church, very largely as it was built in 12-14C, but because the Victorians were preoccupied with providing seats for the greatest number of people, there is not enough space to move around easily, thus preventing the beauty of the building from making maximum impact, and inhibiting full flexibility for varied styles of worship and community events.  

Where to Now?  There are two important initiatives to be followed, before building work can begin:-

          Funding.  – Obtaining the money to fund the work  
Faculty    -- Obtaining permission to do the work

During 2017 we shall begin to raise the funds. There are several avenues which we intend to pursue, and we would be very pleased if you would help us, either by helping us fund-raise, or by, generously, contributing to the fund.  Please give us a call and thank you in advance.

We have two further steps to take before making our submission for a Faculty, and we aim to achieve these during 2017. They will require outline and then detailed plans from our Architect and Engineer, with a full description of the work involved and of the impact on the building. These will be submitted to the Diocesan Advisory Council.  We will then have a chance to respond to their comments before submitting our final application for a Faculty to the Chancellor.

Articles in the following months will explore proposals for the several areas of the church in more detail, together with historical information which we have found, which sheds light on the history of the building.

 Richard Hood,  Malcolm Green, Niels Kraunsoe, Mike Deeming, David Parkhouse.

January 2017