Orchardleigh

Status: 
Open
Number of Burials: 
144
Number of Memorials: 
34
Access: 

There is a drive which runs through the 200 ha (500 acres) Orchardleigh estate from the northern end at Lullington to the A362 between Buckland Dinham and Frome. The entrances are gated and not always open. The estate includes a golf course and a hotel and is marketed as a venue for weddings and other events (see http://www.orchardleigh.net). On the main driveway, west of the golf clubhouse and the houses – Orchardleigh House and Elmhay Park - is a drive southwards to the church where there is parking for a dozen or so cars. There is a bridge onto the island where the church is.

The church is within the Orchardleigh estate on the edge of a lake and surrounded by a moat. It is part of the Beckington Benefice which comprises the parishes of Beckington, Berkley, Rodden, Lullington and Orchardleigh.

The church was built in the 13th century and was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott for the Rev William Arthur Duckworth in 1878, whose family held the estate in the period 1855-1986. It has since been designated a Grade I listed building.

The church has retained its sculptures and stained glass from the 14th and 15th centuries. Around 1800 Thomas Champneys of the Mostyn-Champneys Baronets who owned the estate had a moat dug around the church. From the Bath Chronicle of Thu 7 Sep 1797 p3: “We are now assured, that the Ancestors of Sir Thomas Champney have been resident at Orchardleigh, in this county, ever since the reign of Henry II. In the year 1156, Sir Amlan Champney, knt. paid a fine for the Manor of Orchardlei. The family came in with William the Conqueror, as appears by the Roll of Battle Abbey.”

From the Western Daily Press of Mon 30 Sep 1878 p6:

INTERESTING DISCOVERY.―During the progress of the restoration now being carried on at Orchardleigh church by the Rev. W. A. Duckworth, a 13th century pewter chalice of very low form was found. The chalice is of the kind formerly placed in the coffin where a priest was interred, and was most probably the chalice belonging to the founder of the church. It was doubled up, from the fact that the coffin had been smashed, but has been restored by Messrs Singer and Sons, of Frome, and is now in the possession of the Rev. J. B. Medley.

From the Western Daily Press of Thu 30 Dec 1926 p5:

Complimentary references to notable places or objects in this part of the country are always welcome, particularly in the localities dealt with. This week’s ‘Truth’ contains interesting mention of the combined rectories of Orchardleigh and Lullington, near Frome, to which the Rev. H. V. Johnson has been presented by Major. A. C. Duckworth. “Orchardleigh Church,” it states, “is romantically situated on an island in a large lake in Major Duckworth’s unusually spacious and beautiful park. It is a little late 13th century building, which has preserved much of its fine old glass and many other delightful details. . . . Orchardleigh parish consists mainly of Major Duckworth’s park, and if anywhere it is always afternoon it much surely be in these two villages, as comely as their names.”

Coverage in Index: 
1625-2002