St Andrew's, Blagdon
Church Street, Blagdon. BS40 7SJ
St. Andrew’s is a Grade II* listed building,The interior comprises a fine lofty nave and the oak raftered roofs rise to form a clerestory. Oak pews with carved pew-ends, pulpit, carved oak chancel, tower arch and chapel screens and fine stained glass windows grace this lovely building.
A brief history
There has been a succession of churches on the same site as St Andrew’s since Saxon times. The tower is amongst the tallest of the great Somerset towers and dates from the 15th Century. The nave and chancel were rebuilt in the early 20th Century after the previous building started to subside. During the next 100 years the memorial chapel and the choir screen were the only major modifications to the interior until 2013 when work began to install toilets, a servery, a mezzanine floor in the tower room and to remove pews at the back of the church to create a flexible space for community use. The structural work was completed in 2015.
Historically, the church has two claims to fame. The Rev. Augustus Toplady was curate at Blagdon when, in 1763, he wrote the hymn “Rock of Ages”, traditionally believed to be after he sheltered in nearby Burrington Coombe after being caught in a thunderstorm. Later at the turn of the century the "Blagdon Controversy" was an important influence on the development of national education policy when Hannah More was forced by the opposition of the local curate to close the Sunday School she had set up in the village to educate the children of local labourers.
An Active Church
While St. Andrew’s offers traditional worship it also holds a monthly Contemplative Prayer Group that offers a short reflection, music, silent prayer and a delicious supper. It is attended by a small but faithful group. A monthly mid-week Taizé Holy Communion service is also held.
Our Family Service Team enjoys producing innovative Café Church services to a regular group of enthusiastic followers. The informal service format is receiving excellent feedback.
A complete guide to worship at St Andrew's can be found on our Services page.
The popular pre-school group Prayers & Bears meet every Tuesday term time at St. Andrew’s for singing, stories, socialising and snacks. A collection of volunteers ensures this group runs smoothly.
Set in an idyllic location, our church is a popular choice for weddings and consequently has developed a good working relationship with Coombe Lodge, a local wedding reception and events venue.
St. Andrew’s celebrated 15 weddings in 2015, 18 in 2016 and 18 are booked for 2017. The Wedding Ministry Team has increased in number to 8 people who under the guidance of our volunteer wedding administrator attentively assist at the rehearsals and on the wedding day. We are all very pleased to welcome the couples who do not live in the Benefice but come to form a connection and to share in our worship with us. Please visit our Weddings page for more information about booking your wedding.
Our active Church Choir provides tuneful leadership in our services and an essential element to the many weddings that take place in our churches. The Choir also sing at charity concerts and around the Christmas tree at the late night shopping event.
Tower Illuminations at St Andrew's
You can arrange for the tower of St Andrew's church to be lit to mark an anniversary or special occasion. There is a small fee of £3.00 per night. If you would like to arrange for the tower to be lit, please follow the link below:
Our enthusiastic Bell Ringers meet for practice on Tuesday evenings and ring for Sunday services when numbers are sufficient. They are a popular presence at weddings although experienced ringers are often brought in from outside the Benefice.
Produced by volunteers and published by St Andrews PCC, the local Parish Magazine aims to serve the community of Blagdon in partnership with other denominations and local organisations. Published 10 times a year (excluding January and August) it is a useful guide of events and news in and around Blagdon. To subscribe to the Parish Magazine, click here.
St Andrew's and the Community
In 2016, St. Andrew’s won the first Marsh Awards for Innovative Projects and received a prize of £1000. The project created a community area with toilets, a kitchen and a mezzanine floor inside the church allowing it to be used in many new ways.
Blagdon LivingWell is the organisation that promotes and coordinates the use of these new facilities. It is administered by St. Andrew’s together with members of the wider community. The newly renovated frequently hosts community groups for social gatherings, meetings, talks, exhibitions and concerts.
Monday Mix is a weekly group for the more mature but still young-at-heart offering table games, crafts and chat over tea and cake.
The popular WiFi Wednesday encourages non-tech savvy individuals to socialise whilst receiving help getting online and utilising today’s technology.
In addition, the LivingWell committee organises excursions to local places of interest such as Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucester and Highgrove House as well as seasonal shopping trips.
After an inspirational talk on living with and caring for people with dementia from Dr Jennifer Bute, the LivingWell committee continually strives to implement the recommendations made to benefit those in need within the community.
Other community activities include Coffee Stop which is held once a month in the village club. It provides a happy social time for many village residents – particularly those who live alone. For some this is the only link with church life.
HelpLine is a volunteer group that finds drivers to transport people to medical appointments - an essential service in a semi-rural community. They also store and loan out disability equipment to those in need in the community. Often this is a short-term loan or to accommodate visiting friends and family.
With donation boxes located in St. Andrew’s Church and the local shop, volunteers regularly deliver locally donated food to the Food Bank in Weston-Super-Mare.
St Hugh's, Charterhouse
Charterhouse on Mendip. BS40 7XR
The construction of St Hugh’s church began in 1908 at the instigation of Revd Menzies Lambrick. He had first worked amongst the agricultural community living at Charterhouse while he was curate at Cheddar. When he was offered the living at Blagdon he accepted on condition that he could maintain his mission with the inhabitants of Charterhouse. He was instrumental in Charterhouse becoming part of Blagdon parish in 1913. The austere exterior of the church belies the beauty of the interior, designed by W D Caroe in the Arts and Crafts style. The church is built on land originally owned by the Carthusian monks of Witham Priory, hence its link with St Hugh who was Abbot there before becoming Bishop of Lincoln.
The church building and its surrounds are in good condition and well maintained. The kitchen and hallway have recently been redecorated. As the building is situated on the Mendip Hills, the exterior is exposed to the elements and needs regular care and is due to be re-painted soon.
St. Hugh's is open on Sunday afternoons during the summer for visitors to drop in and explore the church.