Iwerne Valley Benefice

Celebrating Gods love in beautiful North Dorset...


Outside St andrews church

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 (BCP)

Breakfast in the Village Hall

 2nd Sunday


Morning Worship

 3rd Sunday


Sung Communion

 4th Sunday


Holy Communion (CW)

 5th Sunday


Benefice Service in one of the Five Parishes.




In additional to our Sunday Worship 




 9.00 am 

Morning Prayer

Friday (Summer Months Only)

10.30am until 12  noon             

Open House: Coffee and Chat, all welcome.

Click here to find out more about happening in Fontmell Magna Village


 St Andrew's have a couple of concerts planned for this autumn.  Please see the home page for further details or contact the office 01258 861576.


Barry Roberts - 01747 811906
Janet Smith - 01747 811904

Lay Pastoral Assistants

Janet Smith - 01747 811904
Carol Hillman - 01747 811878

The Parish of Fontmell Magna with Bedchester nestle in a rural setting in an area of outstanding natural beauty. There are thatched roofs and a meandering brook, arising from “Springhead” which is a centre for creative and sustainable living. The run of mills, ponds and bridges are a feature of the village. The village benefits from a shop with post office, pub and school and employers include builders, thatchers, farming and gardening trades, while the retired section of the community make a huge contribution to the life of the parish.

The Parish Church, is positioned high, overlooking the village, set in an award winning churchyard and maintained in a beautiful condition.  It is kept open daily by volunteers, inviting and welcoming local people and visitors to come through its doors for quiet reflective prayer, to view the interior and to experience the atmosphere of spirituality.

The sound of church bells rung regularly, plus the clock and carillon, are cherished by the villagers who have helped financially with repairs. Practical care of the Church property is supported by people well beyond the regular congregation.

The population of Fontmell Magna combined with the hamlet of Bedchester is in the region of seven hundred and fifty. 
Many younger families choose to live in the area attracted by its beauty and by St. Andrew’s Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School. Church members tend to find themselves involved in many aspects of village life in such activities as the monthly village ‘newspaper’ (The Gossip Tree), the annual fete and many of the clubs that meet in the village. Witness to the involvement of the Church in the community and vice versa was evident in a “Community Jigsaw Family Service.”

Those who do not regularly attend services at St Andrew’s regard it as their church for baptisms, weddings and funerals and many attend services at major festivals. Special events such as concerts and the teddy bear parachute jump are well supported.

The church has a social committee which organises refreshments after the services, caters for special events such as the church meal on St Andrew’s Day and refreshments at concerts. They are also responsible for “Open House” which meets in the Church once a week during the summer and once a month in homes during the winter: this provides an opportunity for the whole community to meet for coffee and a chat. 

The church supports many charitable causes and give 10% of its general income to designated charities.  It also regularly supports and takes part in the Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s Ride & Stride event to raise funding for church buildings in the county.

We have an average attendance of 35 at 10.00am services and 15 at 8.00am services and enjoy a flourishing homegroup, where we study the bible, discuss and learn and pray together – and eat cake!

We are trialling ‘Messy Church’ in Fontmell as a benefice event and hope this will develop. The school visits the Church for many and varied services and events.  Last year in the Church a very successful ‘Christmas Experience’ was prepared and led by our Deanery Schools’ Worker, with members of the benefice, for the top two classes from the school. The project was repeated for the following family service.  We value this link and enjoy sharing many happy times with them at Church and in school.  We pray that this contact may continue to grow and develop and more young people will come to Jesus through us.

Our monthly all-age ‘family’ service is usually led by a member of the ministry team but is sometimes led by members of the congregation who form a ‘team’ consisting of a music band drawn from across the benefice and others who join to plan together and fulfil a variety of roles in such services.

As a church we feel we have a duty to serve the whole community.  Whether or not you are a church member if you need support in any way please let us know.  Our clergy and lay pastoral assistants will be happy to help in any way they can.

Description of The Church

Set up high in the centre of the village, the majority of the present church of St Andrew was rebuilt in 1862/3 by Sir Richard Glyn, the Lord of the Manor, who owned most of the village and also provided it with what is now the Church of England Primary School.

The lower stages of the tower date from the early 15C and, re-set in the north wall of the north aisle, are four restored 15C windows.  A third stage was added to the Tower in the re-build to house the Ring of 6 bells.  Built of mainly greensand ashlar it has been described as one of the handsomest churches in the diocese and has a number of interesting architectural features.  In particular, under the battlements surmounting the original South Porch, were a variety of bas-reliefs and ornaments and the word "O Man Kyn bare tho y myn", followed by 1530 in latin numerals.

Designed by G Evans of Wimborne, the church consists of a wide nave, chancel and sanctuary with two side aisles.  The small St Martin's chapel was created at the east end of the North Aisle in 1957 and behind the 17C Communion Table the war memorial is carved in the wall.  Of unusual interest is the 16C carved oak screen beneath the tower arch, highly decorated and with a scroll around the edge which reads "Water King and Esbell his wif."

The single hammer beam roof is cross-boarded.  The Capitals of the gothic style arches in the nave and side aisles host a variety of finely carved angels and other figures.  The floor is tiled, the sanctuary tiles being a fine example of Pugin's work.  There are a number of good quality stained glass windows including the East, being by Clayton and Bell, and two from the 20th century.

The Tower houses a clock, made by William Monk in 1732 with Carillon (believed to be the work of John C Brine in 1750) which, every three hours, plays the hymn "Hanover" and a Ring of six bells, of which Nos 5 and 6 (Tenor) are mediaeval and Nos 3 and 4 of the 17C though No 3 (1641) was recast in 1912.