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THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL

The village of Cattistock is an ancient place with a history reputedly pre-dating King Athelstan (924-39), the 
first recorded king of England, who gave the settlement to Milton Abbey.  Now it is an attractive English 
 village, with a shop and Post Office, a pub, a famous pack of foxhounds and some delightfully rural 
architecture clustered around its triangular centre.  Dominating this centre, and visible for miles around 
stands Cattistock’s supremely elegant church tower, designed by George Gilbert Scott jnr in 1872.
In his 
famous series of county guides, Nikolaus Pevsner wrote “Original, bold, brilliant ... thrilling ... the finest 
Perpendicular tower in Dorset”.

The monks of Milton Abbey built a church here in C12, although nothing is now left of that structure.  The 
present building is essentially Victorian, although the north transept was rebuilt in 1630 by the Rev. John 
Mayo, with the exception of the Arts & Crafts glazing in the east window, depicting St Dorothy, which is 
from 1923.  The nave, south aisle and chancel were entirely rebuilt in 1857 by the eminent London 
architect George Gilbert Scott snr (1811-78).  When he arrived there was a gallery that extended for a third 
of the length of the nave and is said by the  church guide to have given the area a "forlorn appearance"; 
so he removed it and installed a new west window, known as the Jesse window.  The south aisle 
is also by Scott snr. and contains some very important stained glass windows. One window, erected in 
1882 in memory of Mrs Digby, is by William Morris and Sir Edward Burne Jones and another is by 
Hardiman.  The south transept Lady chapel is lined with C17 wood paneling and was endowed by the 
Strodes of Chantmarle.

 

The baptistry is perhaps the most memorable area inside this marvelous church.  It is dominated by the 
truly magnificent 20 ft high font cover, designed by Scott junior's assistant and successor, Temple Moore, 
and installed in 1901-6.  The walls are lavishly decorated with a 1901 mural of St George and the Dragon  
by W O & C Powell.

  Cattistock Church is probably the finest example of a 19C church in Dorset.