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Somerset, Wiltshire and Berkshire

August 1, 2012

On returning from Somerset I took the opportunity to visit a few churches on the way home. So here they are!

St. Peter & St. Paul, Shepton Mallet

Shepton Mallet

A fine, large church in this Somerset town. The church is open every day and the signs make this very clear. Inside there is a guide booklet to buy as well as a free one and some bookmarks ‘A momento from Shepton Mallet Church’. This is a good idea that a few churches have taken up.  There is a children’s area but it was all cleared away when I visited. In all fairness I think they were preparing for a funeral.

There is a wonderful roof here – well worth sitting and staring at. The visitors book was not dated so I couldn’t count it. I would give this church an Okay rating. It could do better with a little bit of thought.

St. Peter & St. Paul, Shepton Mallet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Saints. Westbury

All Saints, Westbury

This church is clearly signed that it is open to visitors on Saturdays, during the summer months, from 10-4pm. I happened to visit when there was a mid week communion on so it was open for that. A quiet and discrete visit ensued. Only 3 visitors had signed in the last month. It is an interesting church to visit. There is the Chapel of the Holy Name for quiet prayer but no leaflets or guides that I could see. It is perhaps a bit unfair to rate All Saints as my visit was necessarily brief, although I would probably go for an Okay.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Mary, St. Katherine’s and All Saints Edington

Edington

Wow, what a church in a brilliant setting. I went from Westbury along the B3098, which skirts the Vale of the White Horse. There are some lovely villages along here. Edington being one of them. This is very well signed off the main road. There is a even a picnic area opposite the church and visitors are invited to use it. Inside, there cards for sale, guides, postcards and a selection of items about the Christian faith. There is a small lending library – I have been surprised at how many of these I have come across. 17 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. One nice feature is some pictures of those who served in the armed forces during the Great War. Those who were killed had their details recorded. There is a children’s area all set up with some sheets to use.

World War 1 servicemen at Edington

There was a Bible left open. I met a friendly lady who was sorting out some flowers. She was obviously proud of her church and told me that it drew a surprisingly large congregation from quite an area because of it’s musical tradition. This is a church well worth visiting and I would rate it as very good.

 

All Saints, West Lavington

Whistler glass in the East window at All Saints, West Lavington

Another Vale of the White Horse church just along the road from Edington. This church is notable for the windows by Simon Whistler.  This is really rather special. Only 1 person had signed the visitors book in the last month! This church is worth visiting. There are some nice touches here. A guide leaflet (donations are invited for this). There is a book to look at all about Whistler’s glass work.

Archive chest

Another good idea is a wooden Jubilee archive box, with contributions invited. This is a simple country church in a lovely setting. There is a prayer book to enter prayers into as well. I would rate All Saints as Okay from a visitors point of view.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Michael and All Angels, Urchfont

Urchfont

Another fine Vale church. The sign outside simply says; ‘Welcome to our church – it is open every day’. Says it all really. Inside, I found a really nice idea. On the table by the door are two folders detailing the anniversaries those who had been married and baptised here. The other folder gives details of those who have died and who’s anniversary falls around now. Even more than this, there is a brief biography of each person which is both fitting and gives a real sense of the local communion of saints in Urchfont. There are also some local history books to look at. There are guide books, some free and some larger booklets to purchase.

Urchfont remembers

Also postcards and some laminated guides to walk around with. A prayer area is provided, with some books of prayers to help people get started. Some prayers can be entered in a book on a side altar which shows how this church treats it’s visitors seriously. I would give this a rating of good. Well worth a visit. Only 5 visitors in the book over the last month! More must discover this gem!

 

St. Mary the Virgin, Upavon

St. Mary’s, Upavon

This church is in the Vale of Pewsey, still in Wiltshire. The signs are very good and give a clear indication when the church is open. Only 2 visitors in the book! There are cards, postacrds and a walk leaflet available, as well as a guide. There is a prayer tree and a prayer area at a side altar which had been nicely done.

Prayers at St. Mary’s, Upavon

I would rate St. Mary’s as Okay for the visitor.

 

 

 

 

 

St. John the Baptist, Mildenhall

St. John the Baptist, Mildenhall

A church which seems to make all the guide books, and with good reason. A lovely, lovely church, inside and out.  It is down the end of a lane at the edge of the village. There are no signs outside at all! But inside there are prayer and verse cards available as a well as a guide. There are the ubiquitous paddle boards to carry around on your visit. 14 people had signed the visitors book in the last month, which is a bit of an improvement!

There are box pews here and some amazing children’s pews, surely a unique feature? The visitor can leave prayer requests in a box, safe in the knowledge that they will be prayed during the Sunday services.

There are several of these plaques displayed at Mildenhall

This is a highly recomended church to visit. I rate it as good for the visitor.

Interior of Mildenhall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Lawrence, Hungerford

Hungerford

In Berkshire. This church is open each day and worth a visit. There is a real sense of peace here. There are Jubilee New Testaments, some postcards, a guide book and some discover Hungerford leaflets to pick up. There is a children’s area set out and 15 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. A small library is available and there was a USPG display. A prayer board was well used and there are some booklets of prayers to use. A votive stand can be used for those who wish to light a candle.

Hungerford

I would rate this church as good.

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2 Comments
  1. Bill Bracher permalink

    The Patron saint of the Church in Upavon is “St Mary the Virgin” not St Mary, if that could be amended please. We were pleased to have a visit from you.
    Bill Bracher Churchwarden

  2. Naomi Bowen permalink

    Today’s broadcast of Choral Evensong (BBC Radio 3) came from Edington Priory (dedication: St Mary, St Katharine and All Saints) and will be repeated next Sunday at 4 pm. NRB 22/8/12

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