The bulk of Durweston stands to one side of the busy Blandford to Sturminster Newton road. This was once part of the Portman estate, whose great house, Bryanston, is nearby.
Like many others in the County, the site has been occupied by a church for a long time. The tower of the present flint and greensand building certainly reaches back to C15, although the rest is a skilful Victorian restoration of 1846 by P C Hardwick. Durweston appears to have been his only church in Dorset, although he was responsible for a parsonage in Haydon, some interiors in Sherborne Castle and alterations to St Giles House (1854). The font is C12 or 13. Inside the church and above the south doorway there is an ancient sculpture of an apparently headless man shoeing a horse. However, the horse is standing on only three legs, while the hoof and leg being attended to is separate! This is the legend of St Eloy, the patron saint of blacksmiths and metal workers, who put the leg back on the horse afterwards. He was apprenticed as a goldsmith in Limoges in France, later finding great favour with the king. He became the Bishop of Noyon before dying in 659.
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©
- Next >>