An absolutely lovely church. A single-cell Normanapsidal church
that is virtually unaltered since the day it was built, with all its early 18th century woodwork intact.
The village of Winterborne Tomson did not thrive and is now reduced to Tomson House
(early 17th century), a farm and half a dozen cottages.
However there are plenty of lumps and bumps in the surrounding fields to indicate that it was once much larger.
St Andrewʼs was rescued from near dereliction and restored on the 1920s by an outstandingly sensitive architect,
A R Powys, the then Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).
The money was largely raised from the sale of a collection of Thomas Hardy manuscripts owned by the Society.
Hardy, who was a member of the Society for 47 years, loved this church.
External Links and References
Church of Saint Andrew, Anderson
Information from the British Listed Buildings site https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101118600-church-of-saint-andrew-anderson
Winterborne Tomson, St Andrew
Churches Conservation Trust Handbook Entry https://www.visitchurches.org.uk/visit/church-listing/st-andrew-winterborne-tomson.html
More on the history of the church from the Great English Churches site https://greatenglishchurches.co.uk/html/winterborne_tomson.html
St Andrew's Church by Christopher Dalton
Available at the church, and via the Churches Conservation Trust
St Michael's Church, Anderson
Whilst the story of St Andrewʼs has a happy ending,
the same cannot be said for it cousin in the adjoining village of Anderson, an unlovely, seemingly Victorian creation,
with a strangely domestic porch, and an impressively substantial belfry (rather like a large chimney). It now lies locked and deteriorating.
Whilst from the outside it appears to be recent, there are signs of some old stonework in the chancel walls where the render is flaking off.
Hewood (map) near Thornecombe in the far west of the county.
The one here was painted red, so the story goes, so that the jailors escorting prisoners as they were force marched from Dorchester Gaol to Portsmouth
(prior to being transported to Australia), would know where they had to turn off to get to the barn at Botany Bay Farm to spend the night.
Botany Bay Farm, by the way, is now no more than a modern grain dryer and a couple of dutch barns.
Such is the way of modern farming. The original barn burnt down in the 1930s and only the base of the walls remain.
The cruelty of that period was really brought home to me when I visited Wicklow Gaol in Ireland,
now a splendid little museum. There, however, the conflict was seen in ethnic and sectarian terms, whereas in Dorset we see it as part of the class war;
particularly, of course, just up the road in Tolpuddle.
The story has been the same since 1066, Anglo-Norman 'posh boys' oppressing the natives, and so it continues.
Whilst we are on the subject, watch out for green fingerposts such as this one at Ibberton (map).
Despite my satnav insisting otherwise, these indicate unmade tracks and private drives, as the Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles sign a hundred yards or so up the road confirmed.
There are rumoured to be six of these, but the only other one I've come across is at Cross Lanes, Melcombe (map),
although interestingly this is only green on one side.
Red post obsessives might like to know that Somerset also has one, just over the border outside Chard (map),
and there is also one in Cornwall near Grimscott (map), neither of which I have visited.