Building the Church
In the Dorset Council Chronicle for November 1827 a notice appeared speaking of plans to build a church, but nothing seems to have happened for about 3 years until April 1830, when a meeting was held in the George Inn at which Mr Ponsonby M.P. stated that £1600 was promised and that he would himself provide the site.
The foundation stone was laid by his son & daughter on 13th September 1830. The architect was Mr Edward Blore of London and the approximate cost was £3000 for the original brick building, seating 629 people.
St Mary’s Longfleet was consecrated by the Bishop of Bristol on Wednesday 25th September 1833
There were many changes to the layout and decoration of the original building over the next 80 years. In 1884, north and south porches were added at the west end and the tower was build with a steeple of 108 feet in height and a clock costing £100 added in 1893 as a memorial to the Rev J L Williams, vicar of the parish for 23 years.
Major work began in 1914 when the original brick nave was demolished and the present stone building joined up the chancel, tower and porches. While work was going on services were held in the Church room and school and on the 9th June 1915, the church was re-opened with it’s new look. The total cost of the work was £5593, with electric light being installed at a cost £36.12s.9d!
The old wooden pews were removed in 1998, making the church brighter and more adaptable, with new sound, projection and lighting systems installed in the early 21st century.