St. Mary's Church

There has been a church in the centre of the village and its life since before the start of the last millennium.

The first recorded church to have been built on the site was between the 8th & 9th centuries. The amounts of rents received by the Lord of the Manor (Henry de Ferrers) and a Parish Priest are recorded in the Domesday survey of lands in 1086, so a parish church must have been in place at that time.

A "new" church was built around the year 1100 and the main structure of our present church dates from the reign of Henry 111 (1216 - 1272). Many alterations have been made to the church fabric during the centuries to meet the needs of the villagers and the patrons of the day. These are well recorded in various books, and most can clearly be seen when visiting the church.

To the west of the churchyard is the Church School Room originally occupied by the "Rolleston Free Grammar School" founded in 1520 by Robert Sherborne, Bishop of Chichester. The present building was erected in 1638 and used as a school up to the building of the new primary school. Today the School Room is used for Sunday School, church and village functions and meetings.

The first recorded priest was mentioned in the Domesday book, and from the list of priests, a copy of which hangs in the church, it will be seen that there is continuity from 1528 to the present with some obvious gaps before that date. In all we had recorded 35 incumbents before our current Rector, Ian Whitehead.

At the start of this millennium Rolleston has a church to be proud of, being one of the finest in the County - we hope this can still be said in the year 3000.

John Marshall

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This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 5 April 2000