Richard Neill: Tel: 01934-713566 Email - [email protected]
Curate: Sam Healey: Tel: 07561-697391
Reader: Michael Gelder
Sue Painter - Tel: 01934-712528
The church of Holy Trinity Blackford on the Isle of Wedmore is a unique building. There are very few Georgian chapels in our rural Somerset villages: this church is a gem. Holy Trinity is architecturally and socially important. The building is Grade II listed by English Heritage. The design is the work of Richard Carver (c1792-1862) who was County Surveyor to the Diocese of Bath and Wells. The church is an elegant representation of the early Gothic Revival style. It was built in 1820-1823 as a Chapel of Ease for the mediaeval parish of Blackford, and became a parish church in its own right in the twentieth century. Unusually for churches in Somerset, the main part of the church is octagonal. The original seating and standing layout catered for 300 by using raised galleries in the north and south transepts. These were removed as part of the Victorian re-ordering but access traces remain. The church now serves both the secular and non-secular village community needs.
A Village challenge
In 1999 the Parochial Church Council (PCC) was faced with a difficult decision. Years of modest maintenance and previous building errors had seriously affected the fabric of Holy Trinity. The repair bill was dauntingly high, and additionally the Church lacked basic facilities such as access for disabled people and even running water. There was little by way of funds in the bank.
But the church-orientated community, backed by the wider village decided that Blackford must have a church and together we set about the challenge.
And what a success story
In 2006 we had finished Phase I. We had by hook and crook raised over £130,000, with fantastic support from the whole village, the Diocese and anonymous donations, and we have:-
• Built a new Vestry with a lavatory, provided access for disabled,
• built a tea bar for our services and social events.
• hacked off hard cement render and replaced with breathable mortar
• and partially replaced and painted internal crumbling render.
We now need to finish the job! We have an amazing grant of £120,000 from English Heritage towards the next phase of repair works and work has started in June 2009 on the next £170,000 contract.