The village of Clunton is in the parish of Clunbury. St Mary’s Church was built in 1870 as a Chapel of Ease of St Swithin’s Church, Clunbury and is situated in the centre of the village on the B4368. Built of local stone in the decorated style, it consists of a continuous nave and chancel, with a small north porch and western bell gable, and very little surrounding ground. An earlier mediaeval church existed in Clunton, but its history and even its location are uncertain.
As a daughter church to Clunbury, our services are shared with St Swithin’s, with the venue alternating between our two churches on a monthly rota. There is one service each month held in St Mary's, Clunton. Common Worship Holy Communion one month and Evensong the next - usually lay-led.
The average attendance at these services is 12, and the majority of the congregation are retired. Up to 40 attend special services such as harvest, thanksgiving and the Christmas Carol Service. We enjoy group services with the other churches in the Benefice when there is a 5th Sunday in the month.
Maintenance and Repair
The church is well cared for with a rota in place for the weekly cleaning and provision of flowers. For festivals and special services, the church is decorated throughout by generous helpers. The small garden area at the front is tended regularly.
Fire extinguishers are checked and maintained annually. As required by our insurance, we have used Smart Water to mark the small amount of lead on the roof, the cross and the metal gates and railings.
In 2010, major repair works were undertaken on the roof and porch, funded almost entirely from the church funds. This has left our savings depleted and as yet we are unable to consider the required work to renew the heating systems.
Fundraising is vital to ensure the church stays functioning, but the events organised also provide popular social occasions and are well supported by the village. There are two coffee mornings each year, and other events have included cheese and wine evenings, garage sales, open gardens and BBQs. Every September a team of cyclists and walkers support the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust Ride and Stride and raise sponsorship to share between the Trust and our church.
In 2017 we started a 100 Club, which has proved popular and provides an income to the church of up to £600 pa.
The church is supported by regular giving through Gift Aided covenants, although these have decreased recently. A special collection at the Harvest Festival goes to a charity eg. Wateraid, Christian Aid , Severn Hospice.
So far, we have always managed to pay our Parish Share promptly and in full. Increasing utility and insurance costs are a concern, and it is difficult to warm the church in winter.
There are currently 22 on the electoral roll.
Churchwardens and Church Council
Our churchwardens are from St Swithin’s, Clunbury, but St Mary's has a Secretary, Treasurer/Gift Aid Officer and a Church Council with 6 members.
Our treasurer is the leader of an Open The Book team, that goes into Clunbury School twice a month. The children there enjoy the bible stories and love to be part of the dramatisation. At Easter and Christmas we hold Open the Book in the church and invite parents to attend.
Clunton residents are represented on the Parish Council, Parish Post team, South West Shropshire Gardening Club, and are the mainstay of the committee for the annual Purslow Sports, Show and Gymkhana. Clunton Scrumpers are a group who own fruit juicing equipment and local people can take along their apples or pears to the Village Hall on a specific weekend and take home fresh juice. A popular venture, and a welcome service to those with a lot of fruit trees.
Clunton, Clunbury and the school take part in Operation Christmas Child each year and send filled boxes through Samaritans Purse to under privileged children around the world.
Clunton is a close-knit community that enjoys all the social activities and works together to support the church, the village hall and the pub.