The parish church, St Mary's stands in the ground of the manor house. There has been a church on the site since 1337, but the mediæval church is long gone. The current church is built in the style of a family chapel, though a public church, seating just 30 souls. It was built in 1857 to a design by J L Pearson of London, better known as the designer of Truro Cathedral.
The church is in the Early Decorated Gothic style, and has been remarked upon as being one of the most beautiful in the county. It was built at the expense of the lord of the manor, R C Hildyard Esq, and he laid the foundation stone in 1857.
According to the list of Catherston rectors in 'Hutchins History of Dorset' the first rector of the Mediæval Chapel of St Mary as it was then called, was Adam Payn in 1337, of the Payn family who held the manor of Catherston from the time of King Edward I.
About the village
The village's Tudor-style manor house was built in 1887. Part of an earlier, mediæval manor house belonging to the Wadham family of Catherston, a cadet branch of the family that founded Wadham College, Oxford, remains beside the later house.
- 'Hutchins History of Dorset'
- Roland Gant (1980). Dorset Villages. Robert Hale Ltd. pp. 118–9. ISBN 0 7091 8135 3.