Fleet - Church and Village
Fleet is unusual because it has two Anglican places of worship. In 1824 a huge storm overwhelmed the Fleet lagoon and almost completely destroyed the whole village of Fleet. All that was left of the original village was the chancel of the parish church, today known colloquially as ‘Little Church’, plus a few cottages at the top end of Butter Street.
Little Church is no longer used for public worship. After the storm a new parish church was built by the family of the then parish priest Reverend George Gould. Soon after the disaster of 1824, a new church was built in the Regency Gothic revival style, located in a sheltered spot away from the coast. This building is the parish church today.
Fleet parish church holds one service each month, usually on the second Sunday of the month at 9am. Other than that, the church is often chosen by couples for their weddings. Just before Christmas, the Church welcomes many many of young people who take part in the nativity tableau -essentially an enactment of the Christmas story. It is very popular.
Fleet itself is a picturesque Dorset hamlet, nestling along the banks of the Fleet Lagoon and overlooking the Chesil Beach. Though there has been no appreciable development since the Great Flood of 1824, the resident population has changed, Today residents often decide to live in Fleet, relocating from other parts of the country.
Today, Fleet comprises 35 dwellings and several farming communities. East Fleet Farm, Sea Barn Farm, West Fleet Farm and Bagwell Farm maintain a thriving holiday business for tents and touring caravans, whose users in the summer season swell the regular population of 80 by more than 500%.
There is a limited local bus service during the holiday season which links the main camping sites with Weymouth. There is no public transport available in the winter.
Today the largest house in Fleet is Moonfleet Manor, located at the southern end of the village, on the edge of the Fleet. This was originally the manor house for the Mohune family. The village and the Mohune family were made famous by James Meade Falkner in his novel Moonfleet, which was both filmed and serialised on television some years ago. Moonfleet Manor is now a hotel.