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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Dorset Churches 1 -St Candida, Whitchurch Canonicorum

Old niche, modern sculpture of St Candida
This church was once the a place of pilgrimage centring on the Anglo Saxon shrine of St Candida. The shrine, a unique pre-Reformation survival is an unassuming, altar-like structure. It is pierced by three oval cavities where pilgrims would place their infected or injured limbs hoping for a cure. St Candida’s is the only such shrine to survive in England except for that of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey.
 The origins of St Candida are hazy, though repairs carried out in 1900 revealed the bones of a small women of about forty and the inscription,‘Here lie the bones of St White’. Continuity is maintained to this very day with the three niches filled with parishioners’ petitions for assistance from the saint.

The Shine of St Candida
The church also contains the richly carved Jacobean tomb of Sir John Jeffrey, an interesting mix of Classical style with Elizabethan folk art.

Tomb of Sir John Jeffrey
Sir George Somers, Lyme Regis’ most famous son also has a memorial. Sir George was into job creation, being both the discoverer and the governor of Bermuda. He was also partial to a bit of pork, he died from consuming a surfeit of pig. 
Outside lie the remains of two famous political animals; Bulgarian dissident, Georgi Markov, famously assassinated by a poisoned-tipped umbrella on Waterloo Bridge  as well as the resting place of political broadcaster and interviewer, Sir Robin Day, whose memorial reads; "In loving memory of Sir Robin Day-the Grand Inquisitor."

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