St John the Baptist
Symondsbury, Dorset, DT6 6HB
According to the Charter of Cerne Abbey in 987 the Symondsbury area had been known as 'Aeschere'. However, following the Viking invasions, Symondsbury apparently took on a new name of 'Sigismund's Berg' after a Viking chief named Sigismund saw a beacon at the top of Colmer's Hill ('berg' being Norwegian for hill). Sigismund's Berg merged over time into the name of Symondsbury.
Symondsbury is recorded in the Domesday Book as having 31 households, with the lord of the manor being Cerne Abbey, which was also the lord at the time of the Norman Conquest.
The parish church of St John the Baptist is in Early English style and cruciform shape, it has a nave, transepts, south porch and square tower with six small bells and a clock. In the north and south transept there are spyholes, known as squints, through which the congregation could see the priest at the altar. The stained glass in a memorial window in the church was designed around 1884 by William Lethaby, who later became Professor of Ornament & Design at the Royal College of Art
The registers date from 1558 and records show that the first rector arrived in 1325. The church remains a popular venue for weddings, with the Symondsbury Estate Tithe Barn nearby.
Among other services, the Benefice Eucharist service is held here on every fourth Sunday of the month.