St Mary Magdalene
Loders, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3SA
Open daily for private prayer, 9.30am to 4.30am
A Benedictine priory was established here in 1109 under the Abbott of Montebourg and St. Mary Magdalene’s was the priory church from 1107 until 1414, when the priory was dissolved. A list of Priors and Vicars in the church informs us that the first known Prior was Baldwin in 1209 and the last Prior between 1401 and 1414 was William Burnell.
Listed as Grade 1 by Historic England as being of exceptional interest, with evidence of Saxon origins, this Church is a mixture of mediaeval styles from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries with restoration works in the nineteenth century. The font is of Purbeck marble from around 1150; the pedestal is later. The chamfered nave windows have two lights separated by a single mullion; the window to the west is stained blue and the other red. Access to the pulpit is by a branch off the stairs to the rood loft.
Along the north wall of the chancel is a stained lancet and its neighbour to the west is a smaller stained window below which is a blocked off doorway; this in earlier times possibly led directly to the priory of which nowadays there is no trace. At the West end of the Nave is the organ built in 1864 by the famous London organ builder William Hill and considered to be one of the finest of its type in Dorset.
In 2017 major re-ordering works were carried out to create a mezzanine ringing chamber in the Bell Tower, a fully accessible toilet at ground floor level, and to install central heating. A servery and screen doors were created by local craftsmen using the timber from the six pews removed to create more circulation space around the font.
There are regular services here, including the Benefice Eucharist service held on the first Sunday of the month with a choir.