St Andrew’s Church

Category: Community

St Andrew’s Church was originally a Chapel of Ease to Downton until the linking of Odstock with Nunton into a single parish in 1915. The registers go back to 1672 and the church possesses a Chalice bearing the date 1677.

The present building dates from 1854-5 and consists of a nave, chancel, south aisle, Lady chapel and a short tower containing four bells. It stands on the same site as an earlier church, believed to date from Saxon times.  The only remains of this are the pillars of the chancel arch (with what are probably Saxon capitals), the west arch of the chapel and the wall opposite to it.  During repairs in 1942 to the windows of the Lady chapel, it was found that at some time in the fourteenth century the carved heads of a two light window were cut out of a flat tapering tomb-lid of local stone, bearing an ornamental cross dating from the thirteenth century, which was placed sideways across the top of the window.  The lines are lightly incised and the foot of the cross, now hidden, may have been stepped. The stone has been preserved carefully so that its arrangement and the remains of the cross may be seen.

In 1933, during the restoration, the present organ chamber and vestry were added on to the northeast corner of the chancel, and the organ removed from the Lady chapel, which was furnished by a local family.

In the East window St Andrew, to whom the church is dedicated, is seen leaving his fishing to answer the call of Christ, and, opposite, bringing the boy with his loaves and fishes to the Master.

As in every church, there are plaques and monuments each having its own particular interest, but one tablet to the right of the organ may be deserving of special mention.  It commemorates Ernest Charles Fray who was the organist of the church from 1908 to 1970 – sixty two years of faithful devoted service is worthy of remembrance.

More information can be found on the Benefice website