St Catherine’s Sedgehill

The Church of England parish church of St Catherine has origins in the 14th century. In 1395 it became a chapelry of the church at Berwick St Leonard, which was connected with Shaftesbury Abbey .This pertained until 1914, when Sedgehill was made a parish and supplemented with 318 acres transferred from East Knoyle. Today the parish is part of the Benefice of St Bartholomew, which covers six churches including St Leonard’s at Semley.

The church is in limestone with slate roofs. The west tower was built in the 15th century; work in the 17th included rebuilding of the tower’s upper stage, and the porch was rebuilt in 1765. In 1845 the chancel and nave were rebuilt, and the vestry added.[1] The tower has five bells, including two from the 17th century, but they are said to be unringable. The church was recorded as Grade II* listed in 1966.

St Leonard’s Semley

A parish church has stood in Semley since Norman times. However, the present church is Victorian. The remnants from the older buildings are the Norman font and a thirteenth century effigy of a priest, which are both situated close to the north door. The rebuilding of the church was begun in 1866 by the then Rector of Semley. He took down the old chancel and built a new one entirely at his own expense. The rest of the building was demolished in 1874 and was rebuilt around the new chancel in Perpendicular style. The Church contains some fine stained glass; this includes a spectacular window in the Lady Chapel designed by Henry Haig in memory of WPC Yvonne Fletcher who was tragically shot while on duty at the Libyan Embassy in St James Square, London and died on the 17th April 1984.

The tower is a prominent feature with a small spire in the northwest corner. There is a fine set of 6 bells (one of the heaviest rings in the country) which are in good working order.