Church of St Michael and All Angels


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Rampisham, Dorchester


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Statutory Address:
Rampisham, Dorchester

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

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Anglican parish church. C14 and C15 Perpendicular south tower; chancel rebuilt by AWN Pugin in 1846-7; nave, aisles and north porch rebuilt by John Hicks in 1857-9 in a Decorated style.

Reasons for Designation

The Church of St Michael and All Angels, dating from the C14 and C15 with two phases of mid-C19 re-building and restoration by A W N Pugin (1846-7) and J Hicks (1857-9), is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: although it retains some medieval fabric, namely the core of the tower, this is primarily a well-executed Victorian rural church which remains substantially intact; * Architect: the re-building of the chancel by the nationally-important architect A W N Pugin embodies his ideals of the Gothic Revival, displaying the various arts of the church such as the decorated sanctuary roof, stained glass, encaustic tiles and raised altar, that he played such a major part in fostering; * Fittings: it contains good-quality stained glass by Hardman's and by Lavers & Barraud, as well as encaustic tiles, woodwork, stone carving and chancel decoration of a quality that is not often matched elsewhere.


A church in Rampisham is first documented in 1291, but the oldest extant fabric is the base of the tower which probably dates from the early C14 and was a chantry chapel with an altar to the ground floor. The top stage was added in the C15. During the C19 the Church of St Michael and All Angels twice underwent restoration. AWN Pugin (1812-1842), one of the most important and distinguished architects of the Victorian period, was commissioned by the Rector of Rampisham with Wraxall, the Reverend F.W. Rooke, to design a new chancel which cleverly incorporated some of surviving C14 fittings; it was built in 1846-7. At the same time Pugin was also responsible for a new parsonage (the Grade I listed Pugin Hall) for the rector.

The Reverend Rooke commissioned a further major scheme of works in 1857-8 when the nave, aisles and north porch were rebuilt. The architect responsible was John Hicks and the builder was John Wellspring, both from Dorchester. Prior to his involvement with the Church of St Michael and All Angels, Hick had worked on churches in Filton in Somerset, Piddletenthide and Dorchester, but he went on to carry out at least another twenty seven church projects in Dorset.


Anglican parish church. C14 and C15 Perpendicular south tower; chancel rebuilt by AWN Pugin in 1846-7; nave, aisles and north porch rebuilt by John Hicks in 1857-9 in a Decorated style. MATERIALS: built of Forest Marble stone rubble, both coursed and random, with a chamfered plinth and dressed stone quoins. It has a stone slab roof with Hamstone gable copings, and galvanised metal cladding to the roofs of the chancel and south aisle.

PLAN: the church is orientated west to east and comprises a nave, chancel, aisles, south tower and a north porch.

EXTERIOR: the tower has three stages, the lower stages are early C14 and the upper stage is C15. There is a blocked doorway with chamfered jambs and pointed head in the east wall, while the south wall has an inserted mid-C19 window of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals. The west elevation has a C19 doorway. The second stage has a single light with pointed head to the north, south and west elevations. Each side of the upper stage has a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with moulded reveals; the lights are filled with stone grilles of pierced quatrefoils. It has an embattled parapet, pinnacles and gargoyles, and C15 stair tower to the north-east corner. The nave and aisles are of four bays. To the west of the tower, the south aisle has three, two-light windows with reticulated quatrefoil heads, separated by buttresses. The west ends of the aisles have diagonal buttresses and no openings. The west window to the nave has four lights with ogival cusping and flowing tracery, and a five-pointed figure made up of mouchettes to the window head. The north aisle has two-light windows with reticulated quatrefoil heads. The chancel is of two bays with corner buttresses and a central buttress to the north and south walls. Each bay to the north and south sides has a two-light window with ogival cusping and inverted trefoil in the head, under segmental-pointed arches; the east window, beneath a label with head-stops, has three main lights with intersecting tracery, open trefoils and quatrefoils. Stone gable-coping with cross-in-wheel over.

INTERIOR: all the walls are rendered and there are encaustic floor tiles by Minton. The nave is dominated by the arcading of 1857-9 which has quatrefoil piers with varied foliage capitals; the carving attributed to Richard Boulton of Birmingham. The arches spring from short stubs on the capitals and have depressed heads. There is no clerestorey and the nave has a steep, cross- and arch-braced roof carried on stone angel-corbels, and a single row of purlins. The organ-chamber fills the easternmost bay of the south aisle and there is a fairly complete set of mid-C19 seating to the nave and aisle. By the pulpit are two brasses to Thomas Dygenys; 1523, and Isabell his wife, 1523-4. The chancel arch has a pointed head, moulded jambs, responds and naturalistic foliage capitals. The chancel incorporates a C14 piscina and a drop-sill sedilia (with dividers) in its south wall. The roof is six-sided and divided into a series of square panels that are painted blue, with gold stars and IHC symbol on a red quatrefoil over the sanctuary.

PRINCIPAL FITTINGS: at the west end is a richly-decorated octagonal stone font which was a gift from the rector's brother in 1844. The stem is decorated with carved figures, while the bowl has figures depicts Apostles and Evangelists under canopied niches. The stained glass in the chancel is designed by Pugin and manufactured by Hardman's of Birmingham: the east window depicts the Crucifixion and the south window depicts the Annunciation. The stained glass in the north aisle and the tracery in the south aisle are by Lavers & Barraud, probably in 1857-9.


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

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Books and journals
Inventory of Dorset I West, (1952), 191-2
Pevsner, N, Newman, J, The Buildings of England: Dorset, (1972), 356
Rampisham, St Michael & All Angels, accessed from
Architectural History Practice, 'Rediscovering our Parish Churches' English Heritage and the Diocese of Salisbury Partnership Project. Rampisham, St Michael & All Saints, 2008,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 19 May 2003
Reference: IOE01/10841/35
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Derek Beauchamp. Source Historic England Archive
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