Remains of St Mary Magdalene's Church


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
North Wootton
National Grid Reference:
ST 65561 14797


Old parish church of St Mary Magdalene 110m north-east of North Wootton Farm.

Reasons for Designation

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little fabric of the first church being still easily visible. Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the density of population at the time they were founded. A survey of 1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour and technical achievement. The old parish church of St Mary Magdalene 110m north east of North Wootton Farm stands partially to full height and is still a landmark retaining many of its original features. It will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, abandonment, social and religious significance and practices and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 27 January 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes the old parish church of St Mary Magdalene with its associated churchyard situated on the north side of the settlement of North Wootton overlooking a tributary to The Cam. The church tower survives to full height of approximately 10m, has three storeys, is roofless with diagonal buttresses and is 3.5m square in plan. The nave walls were largely dismantled in 1883 and the stone re-used to build a new church to the SSE and slight traces are still visible with springing preserved on the eastern tower walls. The tower has a small doorway on the east side within the blocked tower arch, a pointed light window to the west, the first floor has a small loop in the south wall and the bell chamber or upper storey has a two light window in the east and west walls. Further structures and features associated with the church and its associated churchyard are largely preserved as buried features. The surrounding quadrilateral graveyard is defined by a wall, has one railed-tomb and three headstones one visibly dated to 1875. The church was once a chapel of ease to Sherborne and the tower dates to the 14th or 15th century.

The old church is listed Grade II*.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of the church but are not included in the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
DO 471
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-199515


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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