St. Vigor’s and St. John’s Churches
Welcome to the Anglican churches of St. John’s Chilcompton and St. Vigor’s Stratton-on-the-Fosse. Our desire is to continue to grow and develop as disciples of Jesus and to see people of all ages get to know Jesus as their saviour and friend and to discover the gifts God has given them. We run church services, church groups, community groups and events throughout the year. We offer a warm welcome to all.
Our parishes nestle in the foothills of the Mendips, some 12 miles south west of Bath and 8 miles north east of Wells, towards the north east end of the Diocese of Bath & Wells. There is a history of farming, coal mining, railways and more recently haulage, manufacturing, technology and commerce in the area.
Our parishes joined together to form the benefice in the 1980s. In the 1990’s there were two significant building projects. Firstly, the new joint school of St. Vigor and St. John, located on the southern edge of Chilcompton, bordering Stratton-on-the-Fosse, significantly enhanced the relationship of our churches and the congregation of St. John’s built a splendid new church hall. Subsequently, the benefice has grown into a community of faith. Altough currently closed, St John’s Church Hall is an important focal point of our benefice with a wide community involvement. Both churches embrace and support the community groups that are led and run at St. John’s, including Pastoral Care, Mission Focus, Lunch Club, The Memory Café and Tea & Toast.
St. John The Baptist Church in Chilcompton, known as St. John’s, was built in the 15th century. It is a Grade II listed building. The earliest church on the site was recorded in 1188 when it was given to Wells Cathedral. The perpendicular embattled two stage tower dates from around 1460 and our church is one of only four in the Diocese of Bath and Wells to have 12 bells. The oldest date from 1623, and three of them were a gift from Charles II, whose effigy can be seen in a niche on the south side of the tower. The nave and aisles were completed in 1839 by Jesse Gane and the chancel and flanking chapels in 1897, as part of a Victorian restoration, by Frederick Bligh Bond. An enclosed modern structure links it to the adjoining parish hall.
The June 2014 Quinquennial Inspection Report had identified urgent south transept roof repairs and renewal of lead covering, parapet and walling stone repairs, and plaster repairs. Failing pointing was letting in rainwater and there were also problems with severe frost damage and with the north porch roof. The church was placed on the Heritage at Risk Register in September 2014 and repairs took place between January and July of 2016. Much work was carried out on the parapets and roof. The outside and inside of the vestry, chancel and what was the area for the organ were re-pointed, the organ having been removed in November 2015. The total cost of the work was £146,000, paid for by grants, a VAT refund and fantastic support from the congregation, who over a 3-year plan raised £31,000. Please take a moment to visit our giving page.
The historic Grade I Listed church of St. Vigor’s in Stratton on the Fosse is one of only two churches in England named after Saint Vigor, a French bishop and Christian missionary. The church has been at the heart of the community dating back to the 12th Century, and has had many additions and changes in its history. Rare amongst small rural churches, it has a number of fine wall monuments. Many are dedicated to the Long, Knatchbull and Salmon families, who are entwined with both local and national events from being Knighted by Oliver Cromwell, to being in the militia that had to quell the riots of the Shepton Mallet weavers of 1758; through to marrying into the Mountbatten family.
However, many of these monuments are in need of repair and conservation. It is envisaged that this work will form part of a wider vision under consideration that will enable this history to be re-illuminated for the church and village community, sympathetically adapting the church for the current and future needs. As a first step toward creating a community space, the historic pipe organ has been relocated to Portugal. Please take a moment to visit our giving page.
Page last updated 24th November 2021