Church News and Information


23 March 2020

Dear all

Events are moving so fast it has been difficult to keep you all up to date.

Sadly all services in the church have been abandoned until further notice.  However, St. Peter’s church and churchyard will remain open every day for people to have access for private prayer.

We have also taken the difficult decision to cancel the plant sale planned for 23rd May.  This function is one of our best fund raisers and a chance to meet socially with friends, neighbours and welcome others to the village. We are sorry to announce this news but we needed to make a decision before too much time and effort had been expended growing flowers and veg for sale.   However, Vanessa and I, plus others, will probably have plants ready from time to time that you are welcome to have, in exchange for a donation to the church.

We will send round lists when ready. If you want us to start some seeds for you, please ask.

Anne and I have a selection of homemade marmalade for sale; plain orange, orange plus apple and ginger and orange with prize winning somerset cider.  All at £3.00 a jar to church funds.

If you are worried about leaving home or are having to self isolate and you need food or supplies, please contact me or one of the emergency aid group being assembled. We will find someone to help you.

Best wishes and please keep safe and well.


Village caroling Christmas Eve 2019

Shepton Montague Church Plant Sale Raffle – 25 May 2019

This note is to register in public our thanks for the support we received from local traders and individuals who gave us such good prizes for the raffle which formed part of the Plant Sale.

Many of those who bought tickets (£1 for a strip of five) said how useful and attractive the prizes were. I list the businesses (and their prizes) here so that people can use their services knowing that they do give back to the community.

Please mention to them that you are aware of their support!

S Morris Ltd, Concrete Products (Pimm’s hamper)

Bruton Motor Services Ltd (free MOT test)

The Montague Inn (£25 voucher)

Phillips Tyres, Castle Cary (£25 fuel voucher)

The Bakehouse Restaurant, Castle Cary (£20 voucher)

At The Chapel, Bruton (£20 voucher for restaurant, bakery or winestore)

Godminster Farm (cheese and chutney)

With thanks also to the 100 or so people who bought tickets!

Mike Bowman


I have been asked by many people, what is happening at the church?  The observant among you will be aware that the tower is clad with scaffolding and builders are busy.

In our last Quinquennial survey of the church in 2015 and in the previous survey in 2010, we were warned that the roof of the tower was showing signs of degradation, the asbestos tiles were beginning to flake and break up and the pointing to the tower was in need of repair.  The last major pointing was undertaken in the 1960’s after the fire.

The architect lists all findings in order of priority and the priority of the roof and walls was moving up the list.  The top items were tackled and sorted between 2016 – 2017, some jobs done by PCC members and a builder was employed to do more demanding tasks.  Having cleared all the jobs high on the priority lists we, as a PCC, decided the time was right to do the repairs to the tower roof and walls.

A survey was carried out to classify the asbestos, ecologists have surveyed for bat activity, with 3 species identified, the architect, Nicola Paxton, drew up a schedule of works, appropriate permissions were sought and granted from the Diocese and tenders were invited for the work.  These steps seemed to take ages, we started the process in November 2017.  However, in late September 2018 we selected our preferred builders, Minerva Stone, and they started work in late October.  The scaffolding is likely to remain until late January, possibly into February depending on the weather.

Today I was shown over the works by Andy, the boss.  The roof tiles have been removed and the new rubber membrane already fitted.  Areas of damaged stone have been removed and new stone is being fashioned on site to replace the damaged areas.  Much of the pointing has been removed from the West and South faces of the tower and most of the west face has been re-pointed.  The attention to the detail of stone repair and selection of the right mortar; colour and consistency is truly inspiring.  All the crew I have met are keen and enthusiastic about the job they are doing.  If you would like to know more, I am sure they would be happy to talk if they have time.

All this work comes at a price.  The anticipated costs are around £87,000.  Much of this will be met from reserves that the PCC have built up over the past few years and a large chunk will be met by a grant from Shepton Montague Church Trust.  Grant applications have been lodged with Somerset Church Trust and All Churches Trust Ltd and the majority of the £14,000 VAT will be reclaimed through the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme.

Our fund-raising activities, the Plant Sale and Fete will continue to help replenish reserves over the coming years.  We are also very grateful to a number of parishioners who make regular donations to the church through the gift aids scheme, whereby we can reclaim an additional 25% of any donation back from the government.  If you would like to set up a regular donation please contact me or one of the other PCC members.

We will be hosting a fund-raising evening in the new year, so please look out for the invitation and come to join us to celebrate the completed works.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Jeremy Collyer – Churchwarden                                                                           27 November 2018


The Church Commissioners have approved alterations to the Benefices of Evercreech and of Bruton, and from 1 July 2017 the Parish of Shepton Montague has become part of the newly created Benefice of Bruton, Brewham, Pitcombe and Shepton Montague. The Benefice of Bruton and District, of which we hitherto formed part, has been dissolved.  Fr Justin Bailey is appointed our Rector. Patronage is vested in the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

I shall put a copy of the formal notice on the church notice board; it also contains details of the new Benefice of Alham Vale.

Mike Bowman, PCC Secretary

Shepton Montague items for July/August 2018 edition of Dove


Saturday 25 August – Shepton Montague Village Fete: 2.30pm at Higher Farm (signed from Montague Inn. Parking available)


Blessed by glorious weather 165 people came to our small but perfectly formed Plant Sale, swelling church funds to the tune of almost £2000 – a very good start in our saving for repairs to the tower. The plants so generously grown and given for sale were in superb condition, and the initial wave of visitors (the queue gathered for some time before opening) was very energetic indeed, necessitating much effort by our fleet of wheelbarrows and their operators, carrying plants to customers’ cars! The Village Hall provided cream teas throughout the event which went down well and were of course useful in the context of improvements recently carried out to the Hall.

All that was achieved by team effort, a sense of mutual support and common purpose, which seems to permeate many aspects of life here. In another place one would have called this the critical success factor in much that we do. We enjoy the same at the village Fete, planned and managed without any formal committee structure, which as before takes place at Higher Farm on Saturday 25 August. Do pop in and see for yourself (there is parking)!

As a church community we now stride boldly into the era of the general data protection regulation. Not all we do is statutory, and therefore parishioners (and indeed others) who wish to be included in routine “what’s on at St Peter’s, Shepton Montague” emails should email and say so. It would be helpful if parishioners on the Church Electoral Roll (which is statutory) would also update their email addresses and preferences in that way, please. Mike Bowman

Dove – Dec 2016/Jan 2017 edition – Shepton Montague


Sun 18 Dec – 6.30pm Carol Service at St Peter’s, followed by light refreshments in the Village Hall.


Last month’s National Map Reading Week reminds us of the national treasure which our network of footpaths and bridleways represents. The whole of England is covered, including Shepton Montague where an increasing number of folk step out on circuits of the village or to the adjacent Monarch’s Way (and quite a map reading week that must have been for Charles II in 1651!) and other long distance paths nearby.

A greater feat of navigation took place at a time close to Christ’s birth when a number of distinguished foreigners proceeded to Bethlehem under the guidance of some form of astronomical event. They are thought to have been three in number, of Persian, Indian and Babylonian origin, and there is unsurprisingly a number of views as to the routes they took (although the biblical description “from the East” seems to be uncontroversial when seen from Shepton Montague). Whatever the historical detail, it is apparent that a number of non-Christian luminaries were driven by a feeling of something special taking place, and it is this specialness that we must surely seek to preserve in our communities at this time of year, whatever our beliefs.

In Shepton Montague that means a Carol Service on 18 December at 6.30pm, and our Christmas Day service at 9.30am. There will be carol singing around the village on Christmas Eve, finishing at the Montague Inn with even more robust singing (ADVERT: for which we are looking for a goodish quality upright piano; please call the undersigned on 813803).

Recently at St Peter’s church we have seen some 10 or so children attending Sunday services with their parents. So there are many opportunities for something special in this small community this Christmas, whilst seeking to remain mindful of the difficulties of others Mike Bowman

Dove – Nov 2016 edition – Shepton Montague 


The Village Fete was very well attended, the weather having more or less sorted itself out by the time it started. There were lots of children this year, for whom there was plenty to do. All the stalls did brisk business, and good money was taken to support village facilities.

One of those, the Village Hall, was put to good use for the Harvest Supper, which took place after the church service and was attended by some 35 people. Anne and Jeremy Collyer kindly prepared for us a splendid feast, and local produce was sold. We are grateful to the bell-ringers, who do not omit St Peter’s from their campanological tour of the Benefice, and the harvest service was nicely heralded by that robust major third we are so familiar with. We also thank Fr Mark for his conduct of the service, with a traditional message tempered by the sharper edge of modern realities. The organist ventured to play a “new” (1948) tune for Now Thank We All Our God, to almost universal acclaim!

The summer has seen a major outbreak of sheddism in Higher Shepton, with beautiful results in stone and tile (underground car park to follow), log construction, steel, deep mahogany-coloured hardwood and simple pine. It’s a sign of a self-contained collective mindset, I suppose, necessary in the absence of anything resembling adequate broadband connectivity. But not to worry, we have two letter boxes to connect us to external realities. Mike Bowman

Every so often during the past two or three years the matter of the maintenance of local war memorials has made it the national news: memorials were often in a poor condition, and there was evidence that recent war dead were not being considered for inclusion. Our own review of St Peter’s church maintenance caused the PCC to have the memorial in the churchyard restored and the adjacent wall refurbished. We have now been told that the war memorial has been listed at Grade II – presumably as part of a national response to public concern. The English Heritage listing document expresses it as follows (summarised):

Shepton Montague war memorial, of rock-faced Doulting stone with a concrete base, erected c1920, with Second World War additions, is recommended for listing for the following principal reasons: historic interest – as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of a world events on this community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the 20th century; design – as an accomplished and well-realised war memorial; and group value – it forms a strong group with the church of St Peter and two other listed items. This evocative and sombre war memorial is of sufficient quality and historic importance to merit listing at Grade II.

The document further notes that the memorial is a sombre reminder of the human cost of world conflict. How right they are! This listing is a much-appreciated gesture.

On a similar theme we have recently found, in what appears to be its original hardwood frame, a hand-written Roll of Honour listing those villagers who served (not only those who died) in the First World War. We shall have it refurbished and made available for viewing.

Mike Bowman


The Church of St. Peter Building

The parish Church of Saint Peter has 13th century origins and has been designated as a Grade II listed building. It was seriously damaged by a fire in 1964 and restored two years later.

King James Bible  400th. anniversary

Published by Robert Barker, ‘printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty’, in 1611.

The media is excited with anniversaries, natural or man- made disasters or the life and death of renowned composers, but this coming 400th. anniversary has so far attracted little attention. Here is a reminder as this anniversary year now becomes imminent

The commissioning of this new translation of the bible in 1604 arose out of the great meeting in Hampton Court of the King and representatives of  the various sections of the Protestant churches  in England. It was intended to help to define the relationship between  the Monarch and his Church, to bring greater unity to the Church and to distinguish between it and the Catholic one of Rome.  The one new, uniform translation was to replace pre-existing ones, such as the Bishop’s bible, the Geneva and Tyndale’s. It was to be shaped by the learned authority of Oxford and Cambridge, revised by the bishops and finally approved by James himself.

Teams of translators were appointed, allocated a section of the bible to translate from the original Greek and Hebrew texts and rules to control their methods, the aim being to retain a natural harmony of style throughout. In this they were remarkably successful. The author of the preface wrote ‘translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light, it breaketh the shell so that we may eat the kernel ‘.

The translation lasted until the revision in Victorian times, published in 1885. Further revision took place after the Second World War to produce the New English Bible, the child of committees, translating panels, literary advisers and representatives.  It was deemed by T.S.Eliot at the time ‘to astonish in its combination of the vulgar, trivial and the pedantic’.

Roger Ketley