Chickerell - Church & Town
St Mary’s Church
The Church is located on the west side of North Square, now lies toward the western edge of the town. This is the oldest part of Chickerell and the church, which dates from about 1260, formerly belonging to the Abbey of Bindon. However there is evidence of Celtic Christianity in the locality from centuries before the existence of the present building, so it probably replaced an earlier wooden Saxon structure on the site. The registers date from 1699 and the Churchwardens' account and minute books date from 1729.
Over the years, the church building has been updated. For example, a balcony across the West end of the Church was moved when a north aisle was added by the Georgians. During the reign of Queen Victoria the chancel was altered and in the early 20th century a small vestry was added. In 2011 this vestry was replaced by a new extension built to the north east corner of the building, housing a new vestry, toilet and kitchenette on the ground floor. On the first floor there is a small parish meeting room.
The town of Chickerell is situated close to Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, and a short way inland from the world famous Fleet Lagoon and Chesil Beach, and is a parish within the West Dorset District Council local authority area. Situated some three miles to the west of Weymouth, Chickerell is the most urban of the communities in these benefices. That said, it retains a rural feel with farmland to three sides and a green buffer between it and the seaside town
Growth over the last 25 years, with rapid expansion in the last 10, has seen the old village grow into a town, although the heart of the community remains very much that of a village. Very little of this growth and development have been to the west of the old village (ie in the direction of the APLH benefice). Chickerell has expanded in an easterly direction through Charlestown and past the site of the Granby Industrial Estate and includes Budmouth College, a secondary school for 11-18 year olds.