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The rural parish of Chilmark, which includes the hamlet of Ridge, has a population of some 500. It lies south of the A303, astride the B3089, 12 miles West of Salisbury. The well-known quarry of Chilmark, which has provided stone for Salisbury and Chichester cathedrals as well as many local buildings, is now closed.
The beautiful church of St Margaret of Antioch, originating from the twelfth century, dominates the skyline. It has a well-supported PCC, and one of the churchwardens is also a Lay Pastoral Assistant. Services are held on four Sunday mornings a month: Mattins, Holy Communion, a Family Service including Holy Communion and a regular lay-led service. The congregation averages about twelve. There is regular bell-ringing and a choir, shared with Hindon. The church building is in goodstructural condition, but the burden of the Parish Share gives the PCC cause for concern.
Chilmark has an active Reading Room, a well-modernised C of E Aided primary school dating from 1860, and a pub, The Black Dog. The popular “Village Voice” newsletter is published ten times a year.
The post office and shop closed some years ago, but Tisbury, with a range of shops and a main-line station, is only two miles away. Chilmark is equidistant from Salisbury, Shaftesbury, and Warminster.
The village and its population can best be described as being diverse, active and supportive of the many activities which go on each year and which are typical of village life throughout Wiltshire but there is little employment opportunity locally. Many people work away from home and almost every family has a car.
The church and the school hold fêtes, a horticultural show is held each year and an annual opera is performed in a local barn. There is a thriving cricket club with its own ground and clubhouse, and functions held in the Reading Room include regular events such as meetings of the Social Stitchers and the Book Group . From time to time there are also quiz and other entertainment evenings.
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