Church of St Michael


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1119187

Date first listed: 31-Jul-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Oct-2013

Statutory Address: Beer Hackett, Sherborne, Dorset


Ordnance survey map of Church of St Michael
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Statutory Address: Beer Hackett, Sherborne, Dorset

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

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Beer Hackett

National Grid Reference: ST5999411771


Parish Church in the Early English style. C15 origins; restored and the chancel rebuilt 1881-2 by the architects Crickmay & Son. The tower was partly rebuilt by architect C E Ponting in 1897; further repairs in the mid-C20 by Potter & Hare.

Reasons for Designation

The Church of St Michael which has C15 origins and was restored and partly rebuilt in the second half of the C19 is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: a church of substantially mid- to-late-C19 date which cleverly incorporates and re-uses C15 and C16 elements such as the tower, gargoyles, windows and the doorway to the south porch within its fabric; * Architects: the two phases of rebuilding and restoration were carried out by Crickmay & Son and C E Ponting respectively, both well-established architects of the late C19 who were careful to preserve or reuse earlier material; * Interior: it retains most of its historic fittings including a C15 font and stained glass in the porch, and a contemporary ensemble from the C19 of pulpit, pews and altar rail.


There has been a church at Beer Hackett since medieval times. The nave and tower of the Church of St Michael were built in the C15, and the south porch in the C16, but much of the present building dates from the second half of the C19. An application for a grant from the Incorporated Church Building Society in 1879 described the church as 'in a most dilapidated & dangerous condition'. In 1881-2 the prominent Weymouth-based architects, Crickmay & Son, extensively restored the church: the chancel was rebuilt, the nave largely refaced, the porch almost entirely rebuilt, and a vestry was added to the north of the chancel. George Rackstrow Crickmay (1830-1907) began practice in 1858 and was a prolific architect, carrying out a great deal of work on churches and a number of secular buildings mostly in Dorset, but elsewhere in the south. He was surveyor to the archdeaconry of Dorset from 1872 until 1892. His son, George Lay Crickmay became a partner in 1881. The contract for the work on St Michael's Church was Charles Trask who had extensive experience of church building works. As part of the rebuilding, many of the old windows and other features were reused.

In 1897 the tower, apart from the tower arch, was rebuilt. The work was undertaken by the architect Charles Edwin Ponting (1850-1932) who succeeded George Crickmay as diocesan surveyor and was responsible for the design, repair and rebuilding of a many ecclesiastical and secular buildings. Further general repairs were carried out in the 1960s by architects Potter & Hare.

The organ was presented to St Michael's Church in 2002 following the closure of the Methodist chapel in nearby Thornford.


Parish Church in the Early English style. C15 origins; restored and the chancel rebuilt 1881-2 by the architects Crickmay & Son. The tower was partly rebuilt by architect C E Ponting in 1897; further repairs in the mid-C20 by Potter & Hare.

MATERIALS: it is constructed of coursed rubble stone with ashlar dressings under tiled roofs with coped gables. Some re-use of old materials in the C19 restoration.

PLAN: orientated approximately west to east and consists of a nave, chancel with a vestry to the north, north porch and a west tower.

EXTERIOR: the tower is of two stages and has diagonal buttresses and a moulded plinth. It has a solid C19 parapet with moulded coping and a string course with carved gargoyles at the base of the parapet. There is a rectangular stair turret on the north side. The north and south walls of the upper stage each has a single-light louvred window; the west wall has a two-light window with geometrical tracery; and the south wall has a two-light window with louvres. The south wall of the lower stage has a single-light window, and the main west window has three cinque-foiled lights with Perpendicular tracery, moulded reveals and a label with head stops. The north porch has a reset early-C16 outer doorway with a four-centred arch set in square head with foliage carving to the spandrels. The north elevation of the nave has two two-light windows with Perpendicular tracery; the western one is a C19 copy and the eastern window is C15 and has been reset. There is a similar window in the vestry, and a door with chamfered head to its east elevation. The north wall of the chancel has a reset C15 single-light window with cinquefoil head within a rectangular surround. The east window has three lights, with Perpendicular tracery. The south chancel wall has two windows similar to those in the north wall. The south wall of nave has buttresses to the corners and three windows of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil at the head; the outer windows are C15 and have been reset, and the central one is a C19 copy.

INTERIOR: internally the walls are plastered. The arch to the tower has a panelled soffit; the C19 chancel arch has attached shafts with octagonal caps. The nave has a wagon roof with arch-braced trusses resting on carved corbels, and the chancel has a C19 pointed barrel roof, both are boarded internally. There is a trussed rafter roof to porch.

FITTINGS: the C15 octagonal font has a tapered bowl with a moulded edge and angles, and a splayed underside with small cusped panels and two panels with foliage. It has a plain stem and a moulded base. The stained glass in the west window of the porch is C15 and bears the coat of arms of Sherborne Abbey. The pews, pulpit and altar rail are C19. A set of thirteen C15 consecration crosses in relief have been re-set in various places on the external and internal walls. The organ, built by TC Bates & Son of London, has a gothic case.


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

Legacy System number: 106023

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Inventory of Dorset, (1952)
Pevsner, N, Newman, J, The Buildings of England: Dorset, (1972), 89
Beer Hackett, St Michael, accessed from
Dorset. Beer Hackett St Michael, accessed from
Architectural History Practice, 'Rediscovering our Parish Churches' English Heritage and the Diocese of Salisbury Partnership Project. Beer Hackett, St Michael, 2008


End of official listing