Portesham - Church and Village
St. Peter's, Church & St Bartholomew's, Corton
Parts of St Peter’s Church, Portesham have stood at the centre of the village for 900 years. The base of the tower at St Peter’s Portesham is believed to be early Norman, possibly even Saxon. The main body of the church dates to the 12th and 13th centuries.
The church and churchyard also have some old graves; some of them with quite interesting stories. For example, William Weare wanted to be buried ‘neither in the church nor outside it’, so he was interred in the wall !
The churchyard is part of the Dorset Wildlife Living Churchyard Scheme, and in 2013 won the Bishop’s Prize for the best churchyard in Dorset. The Friends of St Peter’s enable the maintenance of the church fabric to be shared with a wider number of villagers than the 58 on the Church Electoral Roll.
St Bartholomew Chapel is located On the edge of the Portesham is the small community at Corton Farm. One of the buildings on the farm is Corton Chapel –dedicated to St Bartholomew. Never a parish church in its own right, it has a number of interesting features including a pre-Reformation stone altar. No weekly services are held here on a regular basis. Instead occasional acts of worship have been held here throughout the year, including the Easter Dawn Service, Rogation, St. Bartholomew, Harvest Festival and a Carol Service.
Portesham village is behind the Jurassic Coast, eight miles from Dorset’s county town, Dorchester. Weymouth and Portland, the latter with its National Sailing Centre, are also nearby.
Portesham is a very friendly and welcoming village, with a local pub and village Hall. The Village Hall was built 14 years ago and is home to a variety of local groups and activities.
Housing development within the village has helped it become more socially diverse, and Portesham is open and welcoming to new residents: a welcome pack is given to all newcomers.
Whereas there are farming families and other local residents of long standing, there is a large element of other professionals who have moved to the area, for work or in retirement, who are socially active.
At the time of the 2011 census the population was 685.
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