Lady Of Lydlinch


Set into the east wall in a glazed and barred recess in which there is a 14th century urn which, at one time, held the heart of the Lady of Lydlinch. She is said to have been the Lady of the Manor of West Parley, but on her marriage was compelled by her husband to live at Lydlinch near Sherborne. She said, however, that as her heart was in West Parley during her life she wished it to go there after her death. We do not know her name but we do know that she is supposed to have endowed this church with certain glebe and tithes of her lands, except that of Dudsbury, which she reserved for Lydlinch. Tradition always stated that the heart was buried under a circular stone 5ft 2inches (15.75 cms) outside the old west wall. This was carefully excavated on the 25th May 1895 and found three feet from the surface by the Revd. R.A.Chudleigh's workmen when enlarging the chancel. The urn was filled with earth, somewhat stony at the top but mostly fine below. Eight skulls and many bones were found buried round the urn and one skull had coins in the eye-sockets. In the churchyard to the south and under a beech tree you will notice a Table Tomb with its original railings. This is in memory of Ethelbert Elliott who lived at Parley Court and was churchwarden in the mid 19th century. 

Turning round and looking back at the Church, notice how the lower roof tiles are of stone. Where the boiler house and chimney now are, there used to be a south door which is just discernable from inside the church. If you walk towards the chimney and just as you approach it, look at the headstones close to it. These are some of the oldest headstones with shaped tops and cherub head decoration. The oldest appears to be that of Robert Thomas who died in February 1689. Quite a number relate to the Thomes family and date from the early 18th century; the name changes to Toms in the 1730s. Standing upright against the west side of the porch is a large flat stone bearing a cross in relief. This is thought to be a medieval coffin lid.

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