Four families have held the Manor of Chideock from the Norman Conquest until the late 1990’s (Mandeville, Chideock, Arundell and Weld). The Manor and estate were sold to the Coates family in 1996. The church remains in trust to the Weld family.
Chideock Castle was built by John de Chideocke in 1380. In the Middle Ages, it passed into the hands of the Arundells of Lanherne, a powerful West Country family who remained loyal to their faith when the old religion was banned. The Castle became a refuge for Catholic priests and a place where loyal Catholic villagers could go to Mass. During this time, seven Chideock men were martyred for their faith. When the Castle was destroyed in the Civil War, the Arundells left Chideock, but despite persecution, the local people kept the faith and worshipped in secret in the loft of a barn next to the present Manor House.
In 1802, Thomas Weld of Lulworth Castle, a relation of the Arundells and also a member of an old Catholic family, bought Chideock estate for his sixth son, Humphrey, who built the present Manor House and turned the barn into a modest chapel. In 1874, Humphrey’s son, Charles, transformed the latter into the beautiful Church we know today. The Church is dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs and to St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus.
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