Church of St Mary The Virgin

The Parish church of Church of St Mary The Virgin

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Powerstock, Nettlecombe & West Milton

The village of Powerstock has always included separate settlements of which Nettlecombe (which is visible from Powerstock) and West Milton (which isn’t) are the biggest. West Milton used to have two churches, but only one tower and the two churchyards remain. All three villages are rural and full of character, strung along the lanes among the small hills and valleys of this area. There has been very little recent development. Powerstock and Nettlecombe have pubs. Powerstock retains a thriving primary school from which children go on to the secondaries in Beaminster or Bridport.

There are two or three large farms, several smallholdings and a farmyard which has been converted into workshops largely occupied by craft workers. Otherwise, apart from those who work from home, people commute to work in nearby towns. A substantial proportion of retired people, many still active, live in all three settlements and the congregation at United Benefice Eucharist reflects this.

The church at Powerstock, one of the biggest in the Benefice, is a remarkable combination of the Romanesque and the Victorian, set in a lovely churchyard. Congregations at the United Benefice service average between twenty and thirty. There are insufficient trained bell ringers so support from neighbouring parishes to announce services is welcomed.

The clearest impression of the integration of the church in the village can be gained at the Harvest Festival when the service is followed by a communal supper in the village hall (called the Hut). The Hut is a wooden clad building with a low profile nestled into a mound yet commanding a position overlooking the school playground. It is run as a much-loved charitable project for multiple uses by the local community.  At village functions shared tables, homely food, local drinks, as well as a good spread of ages and the mixture of church- goers and many others successfully brings the community together. Every other summer the same is achieved by the Fête, which is run by the PCC, but does involve a large proportion of the village, and its profits go mainly to local charities.  You can read more about the Hut at

Updated May 2023