2002: Historic ‘cathedral’ in £15,000 repairs shock

A landmark Purbeck church needs its roof replaced – forcing church leaders to launch an urgent fund-raising appeal. More than 40 large tiles made of Purbeck stone fell from the north roof of Kingston church overnight on January 6. Homeowners living nearby raised the alarm when they discovered the wreckage in the morning and surveyors later discovered wooden pegs holding the tiles in place had rotted away.

St James, Kingston, known as the cathedral of Purbeck, is described as one of the best churches designed by distinguished Victorian architect G E Street – the same man who designed the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London. The church dates back to 1880 and is a grade one listed building. Initial estimates for repairs total some £15,000 -to repair the north side of the roof alone.

Rector of the parishes of the Purbeck Hills, the Rev Robert Watton, said: “Now that the scaffolding has gone up it is quite apparent the whole roof will have to be done. The scaffolding is preventing more tiles from falling off. We still have access to the church – there is no damage inside.”

Built of Purbeck stone and Purbeck marble, the church was originally built in order to counteract the effects of the recession of the 1870s by creating work for local people. It is a landmark building and on a clear day it can be seen from as far away as Poole.

Anyone who can help towards fund-raising is urged to contact Mr Watton on 01929 422559. He said: “This is a distinguished Victorian church building in a parish of 100 souls. It is very expensive to run and with no endowments the only way we get money to run it is through fund-raising activities. Encombe Fete is our biggest fund- raising event of the year but this year it was a wash-out – we normally gross between £13,000 to £14,000 but this year the fete raised well below £5,000, so this has come as a double blow.”

The church is known as the cathedral of Purbeck because of the building’s dimensions. Architect G E Street also designed St Peter’s church in central Bournemouth.

Bournemouth Echo, Friday 18 January 2002

2001: Lord it up by buying a local title

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a titled aristocrat, the chance could be yours – if you’re prepared to pay the right price.

A number of Lordship titles based in Purbeck are up for sale at auction and prices are expected to fetch around £8,000.

Among the feudal titles available are the Lordships of Stoborough, Langton Wallis, Affrington and Worgret.

The Lordship of Worgret lies in the borough of Wareham and the title is being offered for sale by the daughter of the third and last Baron Alington. As title holder your manor would include one of the oldest churches in the country, St Mary’s – the supposed burial place of Anglo Saxon kings. It also covers a number of ancient barrows where Bronze Age burial urns have been found.

The Manor of Stoborough is believed to have once been part of Wareham Priory. An account of priory possessions during the time of Henry VIII includes assized rents in ‘Stowbarowe’ to the value of 9s2 and a half d. The title was acquired by John Scott, third Earl of Eldon, who then passed it to his second son Sir Ernest Stowell Scott KCMG who died in 1953. It is being offered for sale by this branch of the family – David Eldon Scott, a great nephew of Sir Ernest still lives at Encombe House, Corfe Castle.

The Manor of Langton Wallis lies at the west end of the parish of West Langton. It was probably the ‘Langetone’ which at the Domesday Survey in 1086 belonged to the wife of Hugh Fitz-Grip. It was acquired by the third Earl of Eldon in the 19th century.

The Manor of Afflington just south east of Corfe Castle was sold to Lord Chancellor Eldon in 1822 and is now up for sale by his descendents.

All the titles are being auctioned by private treaty sale by London based Manorial Auctioneers – one of several companies selling titles around the country. They can be contacted on 020 7582 1588.

Bournemouth Echo, Saturday 29 December 2001

1994: Church re-organ-ised

A Purbeck church is to re-open to the public after a major two-year restoration of its organ.

A special concert to mark the completion of the £30,000 plus restoration is being held at St. James, Kingston, on Wednesday. This will feature internationally-renowned organist Peter Hurford.

Kingston rector the Rev. Robert Watton said: “For two years the church has virtually been unusable during the restoration.”

The organ has a noted tonal design and high quality pipework some of which is attributed to the Frenchman, Cavaille-Coll. During the restoration parts of the organ filled much of the church. Services were held in the choir stalls.

The organ was installed when St. James church was built in the 1870s. The church was the work of architect George Street, who designed London’s law courts. It has been descibed as having “the perfect Victorian church interior”. The third Earl of Eldon is said to have spared no expense in the building of the church in local stone. It may have been constructed as a memorial to the first earl, John Scott, who was Lord Chancellor for 25 years.

Tickets for Wednesday evening’s recital, which will include works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Franck and Bournemouth composer Percy Whitlock, are £5. The concert strarts at 8pm.

1991: Obituary: Ernest SANSOM

SANSOM – On May 1st 1991 peacefully at Elmwood Grove Retirement Home, Ernest aged 84 lately of Kingston, Corfe Castle widower of Hilda, father of Colin and to Elaine grandfather of Karen and Claire, and great grandfather of Simon. He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends. Funeral service to be held at St James Church Kingston on Thursday May 9th at 2.30pm followed by burial in the Churchyard. Flowers or donations if preferred for the Poole Hospital Kidney Unit c/o James Smith FD, 60a Kings Road, Swanage.

[Obituary notice courtesy of Claire Hawker, granddaughter of Henry Ernest ‘Ern’ Sansom]

1991: Obituary: Hilda SANSOM

SANSOM – On February 16th 1991 peacefully in Poole Hospital, Hilda aged 86 years lately Kingston, Corfe Castle, dealy loved wife of Ernest, mother of Colin and to Elaine, grandmother of Karen and Claire and Great Grandmother of Simon she will be sadly missed by all her family. Funeral Service to be held at St James Church Kingston on Monday February 25th at 2pm followed by burial in the churchyard. Flowers or if preferred donations for The British Heart Foundation or Parkinsons Disease Society may be sent to Tapper Funeral Service, 32/34 Parkstone Road, Poole.

[Obituary notice courtesy of Claire Hawker, granddaughter of Hilda Sansom]

1967: Obituary – Captain John Docwra-Rogers

DOCWRA-ROGERS. On Sept 20 1967, peacefully at Christchurch Hospital, Captain John Docwra-Rogers aged 83 years. Royal Artillery (Retd.), M.B.E., Knight of St John and for 33 years Sword Bearer to that Order, of 10, Cavendish Road, Bournemouth, and formerly of Corfe Castle. “Under the shadow of the sword is paradise” R.I.P. Requiem mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Bournemouth, on Monday Sept.25, at 12.15 p.m., followed by burial at Kingston, Dorset. Flowers may be sent to Deric S Scott Ltd., funeral directors, Portman Lodge, 755, Christchurch Road, Boscombe Bournemouth 34311

1940: Funeral of Mr H. Uphill

The death occurred in the Royal Sussex County Hospital on Friday of Mr. Harry Uphill, who lived at the Bell Hotel, Uckfield. He was 46 years of age, and was a native of Kingston, Dorset. He went to Uckfield about 25 years ago, prior to which he was at Heathfield for a short time. A keen sportsman, he was in his younger days a member of the Heathfield Football club and the Belmont rovers, the latter being the old Wednesday Club at Uckfield. He was a playing member, and on the committee of both clubs. During the Great war he served with the 5th (Cinque ports) Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, and was known among his friends as “the old 8th Platoon.” He was one of the original members of the Cinque Ports  and United Services Club at Uckfield, and served on the committee. While at Uckfield, Mr. Uphill was employed by Mr. T. H. Barford in his outfitters’ shop.

The funeral was on Wednesday, the body being cremated at the Brighton Crematorium in the morning, and the ashes brought to Uckfield for interment in the cemetery in the afternoon. The rector of Uckfield (the Rt. Rev. C. J. G. Saunders) officiated, and members of the Cinque Ports and United Services Club lined up at the entrance to the cemetery.

The chief mourners were Mr. and Mrs. George Uphill, of Broadstone, Dorset, Mr. Arthur Uphill, of London (brothers and sister-in-law), Mrs. Chiles, of Swindon, and the Misses Agnes and Frances Uphill, of Wimbourne (sisters), Mrs. Lily Uphill (sister-in-law).

Others present were Mr. J. McCall, Mr. F. Simmonds, Mr. T. V. Barford, Miss Barford, Miss Wilmshurst, Mr. J. Jarvis, Mr. E. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. S. Bussey, Mr. G. R. Grantham, Mr. H. Fox, Mr. S. Saunders, Mr. R. J. Rogers, and Mr. R. Forbes.

Floral tributes were sent from Fred, Nell and Joyce (Bracknell); Ciss, Mabel & George (Swindon), George, Bella and Arthur (Broadstone); cousins Rachel and Gertrude; Agnes, Jim and Lil; Arthur; Fred, Fairy and family; fellow members of the United Services Club; Uckfield branch of the Old Comrades Association 5th Battalion (C.P.) Royal Sussex; Thomas H. Barford; Diff and Sam; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Lockyer; the Misses Wilmshurst, Hardisty and Thompson; H.J. Ridley; all at Rockville.

Sussex Agricultural Express, 26 January 1940

1938: The Late Mr. Gilbert V. Dorey

Three former vicars of Kingston (Corfe Castle) attended the funeral service at St. James’ Church, on Saturday afternoon, of Mr. Gilbert Victor Dorey, who for over 30 years had been organist at the church. The interior of the building which deceased knew and loved so well, still bore its Christmas decorations, as the coffin, borne by four senior employees (Messrs. Gerald Loxton, Charlie Orchard, George Hunt and Jesse Marsh), of the Encombe Estate, was carried into the church, the cortege being preceded by the choir, with the congregation joining in the hymn, “Peace, perfect peace.” As the cortege left the church the “Nunc Dimittis” was chanted.

The Vicar (the Rev. M. de Burgh Scott) conducted the service, assisted by the Rev. F. S. Horan (the former vicar). Mr. Charles Pond was at the organ.

The principal mourners were the widow, Mrs. C. Clark, Mrs. G. Randall, Mrs. E. Brake, and Mrs. W. Neale (sisters), Mr. A. Dorey and Mr. R. Dorey (brothers), Mr. C. Dorey, Mr. W. Randall, Mr. and Mrs. P. Hann, and Miss O. Dorey (nephews and nieces), Mr. G. Dorey, Mr. and Mrs. E. Dorey, and Mrs. W. Smith (cousins). Mrs. F. Dorey, Mrs. A. S. Dorey, Mrs. A. Dorey, Mrs. W. Dorey, and Miss Jukes (sisters-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. F. Cooper, Mr. and Mrs. L. Turner, Mr. J. Marsh, and Mr. and Mrs. Donald Barnes.

Mr. W. Dorey (eldest brother) was unable to attend owing to illness.

Included among those present in the church were Archdeacon Smith and the Rev. Raymond A. Bond (former vicars), Mrs. M. de B. Scott, Mrs. F. S. Horan, Mrs. Raymond A. Bond, Mrs. Fenwick-Owen, Captain J. Docrwa Rogers, Mr. Walter E. Candy (agent to the Encombe Estate), and Mr. E. A. Hixson, together with many estate employees and villagers.

The large number of wreaths included tributes from the bellringers, choirmen, boys and girls, and sidesmen of St. James’ Church, Kingston, Mr. W. E. Candy (agent), and Messrs. Hixson, Loxton, Gale, and Marsh (senior employees), Estate and farm employees, Kingston ex-Service men and Kingston Women’s Institute.

FLORAL TRIBUTES.

The beautiful floral tokens included the following:- In ever-loving memory of my darling Husband, from his sorrowing Wife; Cecil and Ron (sons); Charlotte and family; Bessie and family; Jennie and Ernest; Lou and George (Canada); Mabel and Will and Phillip; Walt, Gert, and Marjorie; Alf, Rose, Fred, and Iris; Bob, Bet, Grace, and Betty; Art, Irene, Olive (nephew and nieces); Annie, Agnes, and family, Charlie, Kath, Michael; Lot, George, Nance, Ern and Rose, and Amy (cousins); Alice (sister-in-law); Ben, Fred, and Frank (brother-in-law and nephews); Walt and Ern (brother-in-law and sister); Bert and family (brother-in-law and sister); Vicar and Mrs. Scott; Rev. Raymond and Mrs. Bond and Miss Margaret; Mr. and Mrs. A. Cooper and family; Mr. and Mrs. W. Stickland; ”Eldon Arms,” Kingston; Mr. and Mrs. F. Tatchell; Mrs. Allen, Corfe Castle; Mr. and Mrs. P. Damer and Nellie; Mrs. N. Phillips; Mr. and Mrs. D. Barnes; Rhoda and Will; Ronald and Hubert; Jack.

Mrs. Dorey and family sincerely thank the many friends who have expressed sympathy and sent floral tributes in their bereavement.

NATIVE OF THE VILLAGE.

The late Mr. Dorey passed away at his home, 3, West-street, Kingston on Tuesday, after a fairly long period of ill-health, although his last illness was of short duration. Aged 51 years, he was a native of the village, and throughout the whole of his working life had been employed on the Encombe Estate. As far as the communal spirit of the village was concerned Mr. Dorey was one of the greatest stalwarts. His greatest interest was in the church, which he served faithfully for 44 years, as choirboy from the age of seven and upwards of 30 years as organist and choirmaster. He also lent a hand at bell-ringing, and at times he rang regularly for fairly long periods, in spite of the calls made upon his time by other church duties. As a tribute to his memory the bells were rung half-muffled following the committal on Saturday afternoon.

A KEEN MUSICIAN.

A keen musician deceased could play a number of instruments and for many years was one of the leading members of the Kingston Village Band. He was also interested in the many social functions which have produced such a happy village life at Kingston, and he was ever ready to lend a hand in whatever direction the call was made. Only a fortnight before his death he took part in a play in the village hall, while it may be recalled that just 12 months before his passing – on December 26th 1937 – he was one of the Kingston Players taking part in Thos. Hardy’s “The Three Strangers,” broadcast by the B.B.C.

Mr. Dorey leaves a widow and two sons aged 13 and 9, with whom much sympathy is felt.

Western Gazette, Friday 6 January 1939

 

1938: Dorset R.A.F. Crash

Disaster in Coastal Fog – Three Men Killed near Corfe Castle – Aircraft in Flames

The three occupants of an R.A.F. aeroplane, a Fairy Swordfish, bound from Gosport to Roborough, near Plymouth, on Friday afternoon, were killed when the machine, after hitting some trees, crashed in a coastal fog, near Encombe House, the Dorsetshire residence of the Hon. Sir Ernest S. Scott, K.C.M.G., M.V.O. Hearing the noise of the crash, Sir Ernest went to the scene with some of his employees, but was unable to render assistance owing to the flames which burst from the wreckage.

The dead men were Pilot-Officer Frederick Edgar Williams, Corporal Cyril John Coles, and Leading-Aircraftsman David Samuel Hurrell.

Eye-Witness’s Story

Mr. E. Hixon [Hixson], of the Encombe Estate Office, who, with others, heard the crash and rushed to the spot in a motor-car, told a representative of this paper that the ‘plane was flying in the fog over the coast line at 2.45 p.m. and must have hit some tree on the road to Swyre Head, just outside the village of Kingston, near Corfe Castle. When he arrived the aeroplane was in flames. “There were three men in it, but we could not get near them owing to the great heat. I think the men must have been killed when the plane crashed.” The aeroplane had rolled down through the trees and then down the hill-side in the vale. An overcoat of R.A.F. blue, was thrown out of the aeroplane, and in the pocket was a handkerchief bearing the name ‘Williams, Gosport.’”

The bodies were subsequently removed to the mortuary at the Poor-law Institution, at Wareham, pending the inquest on Tuesday by the Coroner for East Dorset (Mr. R. N. Neville-Jones).

“Flying Too Low”

Coroner and Cause of Accident.

Graphic stories of the disaster were told the Coroner by witnesses and the jury, of whom Mr. S. W. Roshier was foreman, returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

The Coroner, reviewing the evidence, observed for some reason or other the aeroplane was flying very much too low round the Purbeck Hills, and one of the probable reasons for that was that there was a good deal of low cloud about, and the pilot, having lost sight of the ground, came down to see if he could see it again, and in doing so, unfortunately, came down too low and had the very great misfortune to strike some trees. Had he been a very few feet further up he would have missed them altogether and got out to sea quite safely.

How Men were Identified

Leading Aircraftsman Gwyn Lewis, of the R.A.F., stationed at Gosport, identified Pilot-Officer Williams (aged 21 and single) by his flying overalls, and Corporal Coles (married, aged 32) by his name on a piece of his trousers, which was not burned. Hurrell was aged 21 and single.

Squadron-Leader John Goodenough Elton, commanding the R.A.F.  training squadron at Gosport, stated Mr. Williams was a pupil on torpedo training course, and was on a cross-country training flight to Roborough, which witness had authorised. Williams had had just over 200 hours flying as a pilot, and he was considered one of the best pilots, being qualified in all respects. The two passengers were both members of the training squadron and on a pilot course.

Flying Low Regulations

Coroner: What are the regulations about flying low?

Witness: In the normal course of events a pilot is not supposed to fly lower than 1,000 feet, but he is occasionally forced lower by the weather.

The Coroner: The visibility in places was very good apparently that afternoon, but over the Purbeck Hills and the particular spot where he crashed there was fog.

Witness observed it was supposition, but he thought probably the aeroplane was flying under a cloud and keeping sight of the ground, which a pilot would often do. “They should actually keep up high and wait until they came out of it,” added witness.

The Coroner pointed out that this was the second fatality which had occurred in his district within the last few months due to almost exactly the same cause – fog and low flying, and there was an instruction the pilot should keep up.

Witness: Pilots are definitely instructed not to fly low when they get in bad weather, but remain at a safe height and turn round and trace their way back into the fair weather again. The machine was completely equipped with instruments which showed its height.

The Coroner: What it really amounts to was inexperience and he was doing what he ought not to do – a dangerous procedure? – Yes.

Witness: Oh, yes. In this particular case I instructed the pilot to return if the weather deteriorated after leaving Gosport, where it was quite fine. There were special orders about low flying.

The Coroner: Which are honoured in the breach apparently.

Eye-Witnesses’ Stories

Stories of the disaster were told by witnesses – Misses Bessie Beatrice Marsh, of Orchard Hill Farm, Kingston, Mr Ernest Albert Hixon [Hixson] of Rabling-road, Swanage, a clerk employed at the Encombe Estate Office, Kingston, and Mrs. Alice Pamela Sampson [Sansom], of Encombe.

Mrs. Marsh said her husband remarked, “He is going to hit the house,” it was flying so low – within another foot it would have touched the chimney. There was a very thick mist and she was only just able to make out the outline of the ‘plane as it passed straight over the house. A few seconds later she heard a loud crash in the direction the ‘plane had gone, followed by a loud bang or explosion. She went in a lorry with her husband and found the machine in flames. It had torn right through Polar Wood and was burning fiercely on the hill-side – the sea side of the wood – just below.

Mr. Hixon [Hixson] stated there was a very thick fog. He heard the roar of a ‘plane which seemed directly over-head and apparently travelling at a very fast speed. Next he heard a crash of splintering wood.

From her upstairs window, Mrs. Sampson [Sansom] said she saw the ‘plane fall in flames half-way down the hillside, and she observed an object – what it was she did not know – roll down the hill.

Replying to Mr. R. C. Hockey, Air Ministry Inspector of Accidents, witness said she could not quite remember but she was under the impression the aeroplane hit the hillside before bursting into flames.

P.C. Cutler produced the overcoat of an R.A.F. officer, singed but not badly burnt., which he said he found near where the ‘plane crashed. Parts of the aeroplane were scattered all over the hillside, and trees in polar Wood had had their tops cut off by the plane. Later, with the assistance of other policemen, he recovered the bodies from the wreckage.

The Coroner, on behalf of himself and the jury, expressed to the relatives of deceased, the sympathy which they all felt for them in this “most unfortunate tragedy.” – Inspector G. E. Burt, on behalf on the police, associated himself with these remarks.

Western Gazette, 25 March 1938

1938: Three Killed in R.A.F. Accident

Crash near Corfe Castle

The three occupants of an R.A.F. aeroplane from Gosport were killed yesterday when the machine crashed on a hillside near Corfe Castle, Dorset.

They were: Pilot Officer F. E. Williams; No. 335,888, Corporal C. J. Coles;  and No. 526,069, Leading Aircraftman D. S. Hurrell.

The accident occurred in thick fog. The aeroplane just missed some farm cottages, tore through a small wood, came to rest 200 yards down the hillside, and burst into flames. The engine was torn from the fuselage and came to rest at the bottom of a valley, 300 yards from the wreckage of the fuselage.

Mrs. Marsh, an occupant of one of the cottages, said she saw the aeroplane come out of the fog. It narrowly missed the house and disappeared. She then heard it crash through the wood, and there was a loud explosion.

Sir Ernest Scott, who lives at Encombe House, Corfe Castle, said the aeroplane crashed about 500 yards from his home. He heard the crash and went to the scene with some of his men. There was a thick fog at the time, and it appeared that the machine, which had been flying along the top of the hill, had struck a number of trees in a wood and then fallen down the hillside. The tops of about a dozen trees were cut off.

The Times, Saturday 19 March 1938