Strike up the band!
Our Harvest Festival
Bells so ap-peeling
About Gussage All Saints Church
THIS fine early 14th century church stands prominently on the northern slope of a shallow chalk valley above the water course after which the villages in the valley are named. Gussage is Anglo-Saxon for "the place where the stream dries up".
Flint and stone dressings were used for the church exterior. The tower, built in three stages, is decorated with flint bands, the upper stone stage being added in the 15th century. Entry to the belfry ringing chamber is at the west base of the tower through an ancient oak door leading to a narrow spiral stone stairway.
There are five bells, three of which are pre-Reformation. Although there are local ringers visiting ringers are welcome by appointment. At present the village has a SOB story (Save Our Bells) with around £40,000 needed to bring the bells and their workings up to standard having had no serious maintenance for more than 100 years.
The church interior underwent substantial restoration in 1864 when the architect Ewan Christian removed the original chancel to the north wall, now framing the organ.
The present chancel arch was constructed by Dorchester builder John Hicks who extended the "cusped" motif, such a feature of the 14th century nave window decoration, to the woodwork above the chancel arch under the roof ribs down both sides of the nave.
There is a fine stained glass window while the organ was one of Walker's earliest dating back to the 18th century and with a connection to Westminster Abbey.
A fuller history is available within the church.