It’s a dramatic and magnificent looking building, but how much do you really know about St George’s Church?

Far more than just a landmark, this is a building with connections to St Paul’s Cathedral and a history littered with piracy and murder.

Perched above Portland’s windswept cliffs, the church is described as ‘vast and solitary’ by the Churches Conservation Trust, which looks after it.

It was built in the 18th Century and consecrated in 1766, being at one time, the only parish church for the whole of Portland. The church was the creation of mason Thomas Gilbert, whose grandfather supplied the Portland stone used to build St Paul’s Cathedral.

Murder victims, those who died in the Titanic and a teenager killed in a bombing raid in the Second World War are among those buried in the graveyard.

Mary Way and William Lano were shot and killed by a press gang in 1803 and an assistant warder at Portland Prison, Joseph Trevitt, was murdered by a convict in 1869.

In 2001 the Dorset Echo reported the touching story of how pensioner Harold Walbridge found the final resting place of his brother George after more than 60 years.

George was killed aged just 16 when the Luftwaffe attacked Portland’s Royal Navy base in 1940. Mr Walbridge never knew where his brother was buried, until a family member traced their ancestry, using records kept at St George’s Church to find the grave. George was buried in a plot alongside two other civilian victims of the bombing, Frank Milford, 45, and James Hoskins, 18.

What to find out more? A Christmas Candlelit Service of Nine Lessons and Carols is being held at St George’s Church from 7pm tomorrow, Monday, December 3.

It’s free to attend but donations for the Churches Conservation Trust are welcome.