St. Mary - Drimpton - History
Solomon Caesar Malan

Malan was the son of a Swiss pastor, He was educated in England and displayed such ability in his youth that almost any career was open to him. He chose to become a Church of England clergyman. His peculiar talent was a marvellous gift of tongues; he spoke over 80 languages and wrote over 50 books. He specialized in ancient and eastern languages Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, Persian, Hindustani, even Chinese ! Nearly every summer he travelled on the Continent or in the Near East ; and as a result of his researches and reflections, he poured out a constant stream of magazine articles, pamphlets and books, on all manner of subjects, as well as using them as light relief in his sermons. He became vicar of Broadwindsor in 1845 and cause schools to be built at Drimpton and Blackdown and demolished and rebuilt Broadwindsor church. He wrote music and held a homeopathic surgery in his kitchen.

In 1863 he proposed a chapel of ease for Drimpton. There had been a Methodist Chapel in Netherhay since 1838 but Church of England folk had to travel to Broadwindsor for service although his curate, Rev Parham, lived in Drimpton. The building of a chapel of ease "to hold a congregation of 100" commenced in 1863 on land belonging to the John Gould charity. The money for the building of the chapel having been "solicited from friends and neighbours". Among those to give was his former fellow curate, Archbishop Trench of Dublin who forwarded a donation with the words "Poor Ireland sends £2 to rich England". The stone was given by Capt Spurway, a local landowner, but the building still cost £584, in today's money £34,000., and took 3 years to build and 7 years to pay for.

It was consecrated on 21st July 1867 by the Rt. Rev. Walter Hamilton Bishop of Salisbury. On that day there were two services; at the actual consecration service only those who had received invitations were allowed in the chapel, the rest of the villagers who wished to be present having to remain in the churchyard. At the evening service, so the story goes, 27 candidates came forward for baptism although only 18 were actually baptised that day. When built the chapel was in the parish of Broadwindsor; Drimpton became a separate parish in 1982 at which time St. Mary's became the Parish Church.