Piddle Valley Churches

The position of Rector is currently vacant.

Till we meet again - November 2021
Vicar's farewell Vicar's farewell

Rectors Ramblings…- May 2021
Rectors ramblings

Piddlehinton Fete - 20 July 2019

After a stormy, wet week, the day of the Piddlehinton Fete was a gloriously sunny day! For the first time the fete was held at East Farmhouse. Huge thanks go to Major Reg and Mrs Gay Hanbury for so generously volunteering their garden, which was the perfect venue with two large lawns divided by a mill-stream, ideal for duck racing, leading onto the field beyond.There was plenty to do on the day. The theme was the Moon Landing, as the fete was held on the 50thanniversary of the "Eagle" landing on the moon. We had rocket making, pony rides, a coconut shy, the ever-popular dog show, children's races, duck races and many other activities. The bottle tombola was sold out in record time, and we had some really amazing items to bid on in the silent auction. Visitors could browse a variety of stalls, and the tea, cakes and barbecue were a fantastic hit (as well as the Pimms tent and Piddle Ale, of course!) We were treated to a local children's choir, a string quartet and a group of gymnasts, all of whom were fantastically talented.In the evening we were entertained by a DJ with moon-themed music, and John Hudson did a turn, much to the joy of all. The evening barbecue went brilliantly, and was a fitting end to a fabulous day in the village. We made almost £6,000, which will be donated to Piddlehinton Church, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Piddlehinton Village Hall and the Millennium Green.Huge thanks to our generous sponsors and to the committee for the wonderful planning and giving their time and energy so generously not only on the day but for months leading up to the date. Thanks also to Nick Harland for his first year chairing the committee, and for Peter Yendell for deputising. But not least, thank you to the many people who helped on the day, donated items for sale or auction and those who attended and made it such a great event. It was a fabulous day, and a fantastic celebration of life in Piddlehinton.

Piddletrenthide Fete - June 2019

Thank you to everyone who came to our fete in June, we enjoyed fantastic weather. Once again we had record numbers on the gate. We would like to thank all our stall holders and helpers, without whom it would not be possible. We had lots of donations, and the generosity for the silent auction was fantastic. We are delighted to say we raised just over £6,000, which is up on last year! It was lovely to have the school children singing and to see so many families enjoying the day. I would like to say thank you to James Boughey for his generosity and for providing us with such a lovely setting for this event. We are always looking for new help, so if you would be interested in any kind of helping it would be greatly appreciated, please contact Tracey Mitchell 348788.

Date for your diary - next year’s fete will be on Saturday 20th June.2020.

Piddlehinton Fete - 16th July 2018

The Old Rectory once again enjoyed glorious summer weather with a bit of cloud to save us from too much heat. Record numbers attended and we made £6,296 –over £700 more than last year! The Piddle Valley School sang for us beautifully and the Morris Dancers entertained us then invited people to have a go too. The children's sports were as popular as ever and the younger children just loved the rides on little white ponies - for some it was their first ride ever. There were special Piddlehinton rosettes for the dog winners and two dogs qualified for the Buckham Fair Championship for rescue dogs. This is such a glorious village occasion with fete favourites - the bottle tombola, white elephant and of course delicious teas in the beautiful setting of The Old Rectory garden where the church peeps through the trees and an abundance of flowers grace the occasion.

The BBQ in the evening had many many more people than usual and our apologies to those who didn't get their fair share of food towards the end of the evening, but we all had fun and were well entertained by a magician and Ed Hintz's music. Huge thanks to Sara Milne for hosting the day, to our generous sponsors and to the committee for the immense amount of hard work they put in, not only on the day, but in the months beforehand and not the least, to all those many people who helped on the day and in the evening - a true village event

Piddlehinton Fete - 16th July 2016

The Piddlehinton Church Fete was an amazing success with a profit of £5,472. Donations have been sent to the Village Hall, the Millennium Green and the Air Ambulance. Once again we were blessed with fine weather - the first for many weeks and so warm that we sat around the BBQ until late in the evening. The Cowboys and Indians who came brought the wild southwest to the Old Rectory where the highlights of this special occasion were the Bucking Bronco, Steve Brackstone's steam engine and the pony rides to mention only a few. The children's races and the dog show produced a bonanza of rosettes and all the stalls did a roaring trade, especially the ice creams and the Pimms, both of which were sold out in the glorious sunshine. On the day we had an army of helpers and a huge thanks must go to all them.<

We would love some new committee members next year. Please ring the Secretary (Gay Hanbury) on 348465 if you can help. Evening meetings are not long and duties are not onerous as long as there are lots of us.

Piddletrenthide Fete -19th June 2016.

Despite the almost continuous rain,the Piddletrenthide Fete was an undoubted success, thanks to James and Katy Boughey for organising it in their garden, and for the many others who helped organise, ran stalls, and provided all the other essential help. A sum of £3,225 was raised for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and All Saints Church.

Our new Vicar

Roger Butcher - our new vicar - will be licenced on 10th March 2016 at 7.00 pm at Hilton Church. All welcome! His letter of introduction is reproduced here:

Hello, my name is Rev'd Roger Butcher and I shall soon be licensed to the benefice of the Piddle Valley, Hilton and Ansty, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey. It is a real pleasure and a delight to be your parish priest and my family and I are looking forward, fervently, to our imminent move to the area.

I consider myself to be very fortunate to be blessed with a lovely wife and three beautiful daughters. My wife Ginny is a teaching assistant and qualified accounting technician and enjoys knitting, walking and is an avid birder, often termed as a twitcher. My three children are still at school, Lauren (16) and Sophie (15) are both very much into singing, playing the piano and ballet dancing; Alice (9) attends brownies and ballet, and she is learning to play the cornet.

Most of my working life has been spent in the engineening sector as an electrical and electronics engineer. My occupation has taken me to many destinations around the world, working in television studios, cruise ships and theatres for many prestigious companies such as: BBC, ITV, Disney and P&O Cruise Lines. Skills learnt as an engineer have not been wasted and they have a habit of emerging in my ministry as a parish priest.

My calling to be a parish priest was noted by myself and those closest to me and this vocation has been tested by the church over the past eight years. Receiving a calling from God will always have an associated cost, selling our family home during the recession was a painful economic experience and to give up our local fish and chip business meant we had to say goodbye to many friendships. Hearing God's call and acting upon it is not easy - it is not supposed to be - however, I have learnt that God will always show Himself in the most unexpected places and my family and I are looking forward to searching for God - with you - in our benefice.

In the Peace of Christ. Rev'd Roger Butcher

News from the Churchwardens - September 2015

Dear All

Thank you to everyone who supported the farewell service and picnic for Tony and Jenny Monds at Lyscombe Chapel on Sunday 12th July.

Thank you also to everyone who contributed to Tony's farewell present. After much consideration a decision was made to purchase a painting and Tony is now the proud owner of a painting called The Anointing of Christ - Mary Magdalene by Tricker. Needless to say he is absolutely delighted and it will be hung at their new home from 6th August if anyone wants to view it.

We, as churchwardens, will work hard as a team to find a replacement as soon as possible. Until such time as a suitable replacement is found please feel free to call your churchwardens should you need help or advice with anything regarding church matters. We are all listed below, at the bottom of the page:

Please understand that during the interregnum we may have to cancel some services but any cancellations will be advertised well in advance.

Should you have any queries on any of the above please contact your local church warden, or myself (after 6pm)

Valentine Simson (Mrs.), Hazelmere, Piddletrenthide.

A message from Tony Monds, Vicar, 1st July 2015

'For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven ... A time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted ...' So writes 'The Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem' in Ecclesiastes.

Jenny and I were 'planted' here over eight and a half years ago and now it is time for us to be plucked up. When things are plucked up, the roots do not always come away cleanly as they cling to the place where they have been planted and nurtured. We will be sad to leave this Benefice where you have all been so friendly and kind and generous to us and where we have been privileged to live in a very beautiful part of the county in which I have been fortunate enough to have lived for virtually all my life.

Now we leave for Wiltshire and Salisbury where I am to begin a new job as chaplain to the Bishop of Salisbury. It will be very different from life as a rural parish priest. My basic role is to support the bishop in his work and so I will be based in his office in South Canonry, his official residence in the cathedral Close. Much of the job will be to ensure that the bishop's office runs smoothly, especially when he is not there - which is quite often since he sits in the House of Lords, is the Church of England's spokesperson on the environment (currently a time consuming role with the big Paris summit coming up in December) and has to attend various Synods, meetings of the House of Bishops etc in addition to his work in the diocese. Each day the office receives a large amount of correspondence and phone calls, both routine and extraordinary, which have to be dealt with efficiently. I will also attend various diocesan meetings both with the bishop and on his behalf and be required to administer some of them.

What I will not be doing is undertaking duties in the cathedral except on formal occasions when I may be required to accompany the bishop but to remain very much in the background.

Indeed, I will not be leading worship (other than times of prayer with the bishop or occasionally helping out in my own time parishes which may find themselves in need of cover) nor will I be preaching (other than sometimes doing research for the bishop's sermons). Instead of being parish priest to over 2000 people in this Benefice, I will be chaplain to the bishop and his team - no more than half a dozen of us. And that is what I shall miss most: my contact with you when you have allowed me to share in your times of happiness and sadness, and my engagement with the lives of our two schools at Cheselbourne and in the Piddle Valley.

But when something is plucked up, it leaves fallow ground in which something else may be planted - an opportunity for new and better things to grow - and so you have the excitement of looking forward to whoever it is that God will send as your new parish priest. I know that whoever it may be will be as delighted as were Jenny and I with the welcome that we received and that God will bless this Benefice as he has in the past and will continue to do because he is faithful. So I head this article 'Adieu', not because I wish this to be a final parting where we may not see each other again before we meet in heaven but because it is a 'goodbye', a 'God be with you', and a blessing committing you all 'to God'.

Rev Tony Monds, The Vicarage, Piddletrenthide

What is the 'Personality and Character' of your local church?

Bishop Nicholas wrote recently to every benefice in the diocese asking three questions:

• What is the 'Personality and Character' of your local church?

• What are the priorities of your local church? Is there one thing you would like to take on in the coming year (recognising that may mean you may need to stop doing something else)? Are there ways in which we can work together to achieve more?

• Because we often under-describe ourselves, how can we best measure the quality and impact of church life?

On the evening of Thursday the 18th April 2013, the PCCs of the six parishes in our benefice met together at Piddle Valley CE VA First School to discuss the questions. The discussion has been summarised in a letter which has now been sent to Bishop Nicholas.

The Church in the Piddle Valley

The villages of the Piddle Valley all lie within the Benefice of The Piddle Valley, Hilton, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey in the Deanery of Dorchester in the Diocese of Salisbury in the Church of England.

Each of the three Piddle Valley parishes; of Alton Pancras, Piddletrenthide with Plush and Piddlehinton; has its own Parochial Church Council and its own place of worship.

St Pancras, Alton Pancras

St Pancras, Alton Pancras

All Saints, Piddletrenthide

St Mary the Virgin,

St John the Baptist

In the hamlet of Plush there is the former church of St John the Baptist, which was a 'chapel of ease' within the parish of Piddletrenthide with Plush. The building was declared redundant in 1988. In 1994 a Scheme of the Church Commissioners provided for it to be 'appropriated to use for cultural and community purposes and for purposes ancillary thereto.' It is now privately owned and used principally as a concert hall and recording studio. Much of the churchyard has, however, been retained by the Church and is still used for burials.

The hamlet of White Lackington lies within the ecclesiastical parish of Piddlehinton. There is a former Baptist chapel in White Lackington which is now a private dwelling.

There are no places of worship belonging to other denominations within the Valley. The former Methodist chapel in Piddletrenthide is being converted to a private dwelling.

The Dorset Historic Churches Trust website has pictures and a short description of the parish church buildings:

St Pancras, Alton Pancras

St Mary the Virgin, Piddlehinton

All Saints, Piddletrenthide, and

the redundant church of St John the Baptist, Plush.

But the Church does not consist of these beautiful buildings. The Church is made up of people. And it is those people who use these magnificent buildings for the purpose for which they were conceived, built and dedicated: the glory of God. The church buildings are all open during daylight hours for private prayer and so that visitors may enjoy their beauty and peace, study their architecture and history and reflect upon the faith that caused them to be built. We hope that you will visit and enjoy them and the churchyards in which they are set. They bear witness to the history of our communities. Here are marked many of the significant moments in our personal lives and in the life of our community life.

Church services

Sunday worship

We aim to have a service in each church on every Sunday (except for the second Sunday of the month when the congregations at Alton Pancras and Piddletrenthide join together at one or other of those churches) and on the fifth Sunday when all three congregations join together in one of the Valley churches. The regular pattern of services is published in Piddle Valley News and Views. It may also be found on this website by the index link to the left Services and Readings. We hope that you will wish to worship with us. At festivals and on other special occasions, the regular timetable may vary.

At regular Sunday worship, we listen to God's word in the reading of the Scriptures, we thank God for his love shown in his many blessings to us - but, most of all, in the gift of Jesus, and we pray for the life and well-being of our local community and of the world. We celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus in the sacrament of Holy Communion - also known as the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper or Mass.

Baptism or Thanksgiving for the gift of a child

At the Font

We are delighted to welcome enquiries about services of baptism or of thanksgiving for the gift of a child. Please click here for further information or contact the Vicar, Tony Monds.


Our church buildings are also regularly used to celebrate weddings. If you live in any one of the parishes in the Valley, it may, if you so wish, be possible for you to be married in any of the three church buildings in the Valley or in any of the three other churches in the Benefice: St Martin at Cheselbourne, St Andrew at Melcombe Horsey or All Saints at Hilton. Please click here for further information or contact the Vicar, Tony Monds.


At the end of a life, people often like to have a Christian funeral service either at one of the Valley churches or at a crematorium. All of the churchyards in the Valley are open for burials, including the burial of the ashes of those who have been cremated. Please click here for further details or contact the Vicar, Tony Monds.

The Benefice of The Piddle Valley, Hilton, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey


The Post is Vacant

The Vicarage


Dorchester, DT2 7QY

01300 348211



Susan Cheyne 01300 345327

Sally Dangerfield 01300 348880


Valentine Simson 01300 348060

William Ansell 01300 348359


Alan Neades 01300 348579


Rachel Bywater 01258 837065

Nina Shaw Porter 01258 837422


John Langham 01258 880808

Margaret Smails 01258 880609


Justin Langham 01258 817446

Alison Musgrave 01258 880031, or 07768 338428

Piddle Valley CE VA First School:

tel: 01300 348219


Dorchester Baptist Church

Bridport Road, Dorchester DT1 1RR

tel: 01305 262045



Dorchester Community Church

Acland Road, Dorchester DT1 1EF

tel: 01305 267171



Dorchester Family Church

3 North Square, Dorchester DT1 1HY

tel: 01305 265775




St Edward, Athelhampton

tel: 01305 849410



Religious Society of Friends

Friends' Meeting House, 8 Holloway Road, Dorchester DT1 1LF

tel: 01305 263544



Roman Catholic Church

Holy Trinity, High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1UJ

tel: 01305 251976



The United Church

49 to 51 Charles Street, Dorchester DT1 1EE

tel: 01305 262462