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Fonthill Bishop is 14 miles/22 km. east of Salisbury, one in a line of villages on the northern slopes of the Nadder valley. At its south end the Nadder divides Fonthill Bishop from Fonthill Gifford and a well defined ridge is its boundary with Tisbury and Chilmark. Elsewhere the boundaries ignore relief. In the early 19th century that to the west with Berwick St. Leonard was straightened by exchanges confirmed in the Berwick St. Leonard inclosure award of 1840. (quoted from British History Online)
The parish of Fonthill Bishop with Berwick St Leonard, one mile off the A303, is set within the land of the Fonthill Estate, and stretches along the B3089; half a mile away is the tiny hamlet of Berwick St Leonard where the small church, now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, is used once a year. Both villages are a mixture of estate-owned residential and commercial properties plus small numbers of privately-owned houses.
Residents number approximately 120 people of various ages, and the population remains relatively static.
The former village post office is now part of a successful licensed Bistro and B&B. We no longer have a school, shop or a public house. The estate-owned Reading Room cum village hall is regularly used by local residents and others.
Fonthill Bishop Church of ALL SAINTS is built of rubble with ashlar dressings and has a chancel, central tower with transepts, and nave with south porch. There is no feature which can be ascribed with certainty to a period earlier than the 13th century; but the walls of the nave appear to be older than the crossing arch which may have been made into its eastern end. The chancel, although much rebuilt, retains a mid-13th-century character and the transepts were built later in that century. The only later addition is the 15th-century porch which was built when both doorways and the west window were renewed. The chancel was rebuilt in 1871 and the remainder of the fabric was extensively restored in 1879 under the direction of T. H. Wyatt. (quoted from British History Online)
There are 25 names on the electoral roll, including five from neighbouring parishes. The PCC meets quarterly and has 6 members. We use the Authorised Version of the Bible and the 1662 Prayer Book at three services a month, Evensong, Holy Communion and Mattins; plus special services for Mothering Sunday, Easter Day, a Christmas Carol service, Harvest and Patronal Festivals and an annual service at Berwick St Leonard. Average church attendance is seven, apart from the special services.
The village has had a mixture of events over the years, some generating income for the church. The very successful annual scratch Messiah sadly outgrew the church. A church-led Harvest Supper is to be reinstituted in 2017.
For British History Online see http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol11/pp77-82
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