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St. Nicholas’ Church takes its responsibilities surrounding the safeguarding of children, young people, and adults who may be at risk very seriously, and works in partnership with the Diocese of Salisbury to ensure that we work in accordance with best practice at all times.

If you have any Safeguarding questions or concerns you can contact our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Revd. Pene Kennedy on 07952913374 email

Alternatively you can contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, on 07500 664800 or email

SAFEGUARDING – POLICY – July 2018 – Promoting a Safer Church -Jun 2017[3479]

About the Friends of St. Nicholas Church

The Friends of St Nicholas Church is an organisation established to raise funds for the repair and restoration of the church of St Nicholas, in Sydling St Nicholas.


In 2005 it had become apparent to the Parochial Church Council that, after the regular five-yearly architect’s inspection of our church building, repairs and restoration works were urgently required, the funding of which was beyond the scope of the income of the PCC.  It was therefore decided to set up an organisation, the Friends of St Nicholas Church, to seek support, both financial and in other ways, from the village as a whole in order to raise sufficient funds to be able to begin to address the building works required.

In March 2005 a sub-committee of the PCC was set up to act as the Friends Committee, and a letter was delivered to every house in the parish asking villagers to become members of the Friends organisation.  The response was tremendous; we now have over 150 members of the Friends, and have a regular income from members’ Bank Standing Orders of approximately £5,000 per annum.


Apart from the generous financial support from members by subscriptions or by Standing Order, funds have been raised by the Friends in many ways.  Several outstanding concerts have taken place in the church, amongst which we have been most grateful for the visits of Collegium Regale, the choral scholars of King’s College Cambridge, the La Nova Singers from Bournemouth, and the Serendipity music group.

Other fund-raising activities have included Coffee Mornings, the sale of models of the church gargoyles (thanks to the skill of Rev Richard Gregory), and a ‘Buy a Stained Glass Window Pane’ project.


We have applied for and have received most generous grants from the following grant-awarding charities:
The Dorset Historic Churches Trust
The National Historic Churches Trust
The Dulverton Trust
The Garfield Weston Foundation
The Hedley Foundation

Restoration Works

As a result of all these fund-raising initiatives and the generosity of so many people, including some very generous legacies, by the late summer of 2007 over £56,000 had been raised.  The PCC therefore applied for and was granted a Faculty by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Salisbury approving the proposed works of restoration and renovation to the church.  These works include the installation of a French drain in order to lower the water table in the churchyard to the north of the church, repair and re-leading of certain parts of the roof, repairs to the windows, works to the tower roof, re-pointing of exterior walls, and redecoration of the chancel.  Work  commenced during the month of November 2007.

Since these works were carried out, members of the Friends have continued to raise funds, and these will enable us to carry out a second round of restoration work, which it is hoped will commence in late 2019 or 2020.  We will continue to prioritise the exclusion of damp from the building, the continuing repair of windows not already restored, together with other urgent works.


The Friends are always keen to recruit new members, and we would therefore ask that, if you would like to become a member of the Friends of St Nicholas Church and help us to ensure that the church is passed on to the next generation in a good state of repair, you can complete the form below and return it to the Chairman of the Friends, Nigel Shaw, City Farmhouse, Sydling St Nicholas, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 9NX, or email him


About the Church

St Nicholas ChurchIn Sydling we are blessed with a beautiful and historic parish church.  It stands on the site of at least two previous buildings, ‘believed to date from the earliest Christian times in this part of our land’[1].  It carries on the tradition of extending a warm welcome to all who may wish to become involved with the life of the church in our village.

The building

A large part of the church dates from the fifteenth century, with the tower being the oldest part of the building.  It is remarkable for the fact that there is a fireplace in the porch, some beautiful memorials, many in memory of members of the Smith family who lived at Sydling Court, and an ancient font.  Unusually, there is very little stained glass in the church, probably because of the ravages of Cromwell’s soldiers, but what remains has been restored and mounted in a frame above the entrance to the tower.  We have been left with the most glorious view through the East window up to the hills above Sydling, a sight more glorious than any stained glass. One of the most interesting items in the church is the clock, which is faceless, and was built in the late sixteenth century, possibly by the local blacksmith.  It is the second oldest church clock in the diocese, only outdone by the clock in Salisbury Cathedral itself.

The people

Church Grounds

Our parish is part of the united benefice of Charminster and Stinsford and the Chalk Stream parishes of Bradford Peverell, Frampton, Stratton and Sydling St Nicholas.   We are delighted to welcome newcomers to our services, which should appeal to most tastes, from Morning Prayer,  Holy Communion which follows Common Worship, and Evensong which follows the Book of Common Prayer.

Our Vicar is the Rev Pene Kennedy, who can be contacted at Church House, 4 Meadow Bottom, Stratton, telephone 01305 251422, email

Our Benefice Administrator is Jean Garrard, who can be contacted on 01305 259083, email

Below is a monthly timetable of services in our church:

First Sunday of the month is Holy Communion at 9.30am

Second Sunday is Morning Prayer at 9:30am 

Third Sunday is Holy Communion at 9.30am

Fourth Sunday is Evening Prayer at 6.3opm

In addition we hold special services for Mothering Sunday and Harvest Festival, and an Open Air Service on the first Sunday in July.  We extend a warm welcome to everyone, young and old, to all our services.

The Parochial Church Council is responsible for the day-to-day running of the church and meets every other month.

Members of the PCC are listed below:

  • Mrs Angela Shaw (Churchwarden), City Farmhouse, Sydling St Nicholas, 01300 341593
  • Mr Charles Hodgson (Churchwarden), 3 Marrs Cross, Sydling St Nicholas, 01300 341386
  • Mr Charles Cordy
  • Mr Philip Hanson
  • Mrs Ros Hole
  • Mrs Wendy Jefferson
  • Mrs Suzanne Legg (Secretary)
  • Mrs Mary Penfold
  • Mrs Enid Pople
  • Mr Nigel Shaw
  • Mr Tim Stiles (Treasurer)

The Benefice publishes a magazine, the Chalk Stream, 10 times a year, which is delivered to all households in the village.  In it you will find details of forthcoming events, and many other interesting articles about our villages.


If you wish to make enquiries about Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals, please contact Rev Pene Kennedy

If you wish to find information on ancestors, please refer to the list of graves and gravestones compiled by the Dorset and Somerset Family History Society and held in the church.  For old parish registers of marriages and funerals, please apply to the Dorset History Centre (formerly the Dorset County Archives), Bridport Road, Dorchester, telephone 01305-250550. You may also find the Dorset OPC site useful.

The Church Organ

The Church Organ

Church Services


The monthly schedule for services at St Nicholas church is:

1st Sunday  – 9:30 Holy Communion (Common Worship)

2nd Sunday – 9:30 Morning prayer – a lay-led service

3rd Sunday –  9:30 Holy Communion (Common Worship)

4th Sunday –  18:30 Evening Prayer – a lay-led service according to BCP

5th Sunday –  11.00  United Benefice Service – rotating around the four churches in the Benefice (Bradford Peverell, Frampton, Stratton and Sydling St Nicholas)

Adopt a Gargoyle

Several of our 11 gargoyles are coming up for re-adoption and need loving carers.

You choose a name for your charge we will provide you with:

  • A personalised adoption certificate
  • A colour photo of your charge
  • A fact sheet on gargoyles

In adopting a gargoyle you are giving both a truly unique gift and providing much needed support to raise the funds required to preserve our beautiful village church.  In return for a year’s adoption of a Sydling gargoyle we ask for a minimum donation of £30 to church funds.

For more information please call Sally Cunningham on 01300 341092.

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Gallery Photos

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