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Today we were in Dorset at the delightful church of St John the Baptist in Symondsbury.

According to the Charter of Cerne Abbey in 987 the Symondsbury area had been known as ‘Aeschere’. However, following the Viking invasions, Symondsbury apparently took on a new name of ‘Sigismund’s Berg’ after a Viking chief named Sigismund saw a beacon at the top of Colmer’s Hill (‘berg’ being Norwegian for hill). Sigismund’s Berg merged over time into the name of Symondsbury.

Symondsbury is recorded in the Domesday Book as having 31 households, with the lord of the manor being Cerne Abbey, which was also the lord at the time of the Norman Conquest.

The parish church of St John the Baptist is in Early English style and cruciform shape, it has a nave, transepts, south porch and square tower with six small bells and a clock. In the north and south transept there are spyholes, known as squints, through which the congregation could see the priest at the altar. The stained glass in a memorial window in the church was designed around 1884 by William Lethaby, who later became Professor of Ornament & Design at the Royal College of Art

The registers date from 1558 and records show that the first rector arrived in 1325.  The church remains a popular venue for weddings, with the Symondsbury Estate Tithe Barn nearby.

As well as providing music as JAM Duo, today Jules was also playing the organ for three hymns during the course of the wedding. Surprisingly the organ at the church was in good order and had been recently tuned and so despite its looks, was quite pleasing to play.

Jules is always delighted to be asked to play the organ at weddings and has a fairly good track record as an organist having played for services at numerous Cathedrals around the UK including, Canterbury, Durham and York Minster.

Wedding Music

Pre Ceremony
One Day – Elbow
River flows into you
I don’t want to miss a thing – Aerosmith
Photograph – Ed Sheeran
Marry You – Bruno Mars

Bridal Entrance
Can’t help falling in love – Elvis

Angels – Robbie Williams
Sky full of stars – Coldplay

Here comes the sun- the Beetles

With the ceremony being held at 2pm there was plenty of time afterwards for us to have a wander around the local area. Heading down to the coast at West Bay we found a rather splendid little cafe for a spot of Dorset Apple Cake. For anyone who knows things about television, the coast and in particular the cliffs in West Bay is the setting for a lot of Broadchurch, which I am reliably informed is a popular televisual item!

We loved being part of Chloe and Chris’ wedding at St John the Baptist in Symondsbury. As church weddings go it was probably one of the nicest we have ever been involved in. We wish them both every happiness in their future married life together.

Dorset Apple Cake

Dorset apple cake is a traditional cake originating from the county of Dorset in England. The exact origins of the cake are uncertain, but it is believed to have been created in the 19th century, when apple orchards were plentiful in the area.

The cake was likely created as a way to use up surplus apples, which were a common crop in the region. The recipe for Dorset apple cake typically includes sliced apples, sugar, butter, and flour, along with baking powder and eggs. Some variations of the recipe also include cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices.

Over time, Dorset apple cake became a popular dessert in the region, and it is now considered a classic British cake. It is often served with cream, custard, or ice cream, and is a popular choice for afternoon tea or as a dessert after a meal.

In recent years, the cake has gained popularity outside of Dorset, and can now be found in bakeries and cafes throughout the UK and beyond. There are many variations of the recipe, and some modern versions may include additional ingredients such as nuts or dried fruit. However, the basic recipe for Dorset apple cake remains a simple and delicious way to use up seasonal apples.

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