St Nicholas

Edmondsham is a tranquil Dorset village and parish situated on the edge of Cranborne Chase, a little over one mile south of Cranborne. Formerly, there were four manors here, all served by what is now St Nicholas Church (re-dedicated in 1644). The 19th century civil parish included West Worthtything and the settlements at Gotham, Pinnock Moor and Hungerhill. Appearing as Amedesham in the 1086 Domesday Book, the name simply means homestead or enclosure belonging to a man named Eadmod or Eadmund, from an old English personal name and ham for homestead. The Hussey family were the ancient lords of the manor here and long associated with the parish.

Famous for its gardens, Edmondsham House is a splendid Tudor Manor House (1589) with Georgian wings and Victorian service buildings, including a fine set of stables and an octagonal dairy.

Across the lawn in front of the house is a little gate giving access directly to the churchyard. St Nicholas Church is an estate church of medieval origin. Despite an unfortunate restoration in 1863 when monuments celebrating the ancient lords of the manor were rearranged or covered over and a Norman arch and the font were removed, several medieval features have survived. These include the 12th century two-bay arcade and chancel arch, the 15th century tower of flint and greensand and several trefoiled windows from the 16th century. The three bells in the tower are dated 1626, 1674 and 1702.

The church was dedicated to St Nicholas in 1644. The date of the foundation is unknown, but the square stone pillars separating the Nave and North Aisle appear to be dated from the 12th century. There is a register of Rectors that starts  in the 14th century by the north door.  The church was extensively altered in 1863 when the west end Gallery was removed and the Hussey Vault in the North Aisle was covered over. At the same time the 16th and 17th century Hussey and Fry monument slabs were placed upright against the walls. A new font was put in near the Tower arch but now stands in the nave; the upper part of the older 17th century font still exists. The north door was the original entrance, the south entrance and porch was built in the 19th century when the road was diverted from in front of Edmondsham House.  There is a 19th century tombstone near the north east corner, with this delightful epitaph:

Behold and see as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be,
Prepare for death and follow me.

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Church Wardens

Lesley Franklin 01725 517852 lesleyfranklin7@outlook.com

If you would like to get in touch with the Benefice Administrator, please email admin@kcb.org.uk