...keeping Somerset's churches & chapels alive

Our latest Newsletter has just been published. In this issue we focus on Ride+Stride 2020 and launch our 25th Anniversary celebrations. Plus the latest instalment of the Chairman's A-Z of Somerset Churches.

The Trustees Report and Accounts for the Year Ending 30 June 2020 have been published.

Ecclesiastical launches 12 Days Of Giving. Nominate your church to win £1,000.

The Chairman’s A – Z of Somerset Churches

Trust Chairman, Axel Palmer, has set himself an objective of visiting a range of churches and chapels across Somerset to compile his own A – Z!

Axel reports:

“I thought as part of Ride+Stride it would be interesting to visit a variety of parishes and communities, broadly along the lines of completing my own alphabetical list – clearly, some letters require a little ingenuity!


So far, it has indeed been “interesting”! Only this week, wandering around the outside of a church (looking at the architecture, condition etc) someone watching thought I might be a drug dealer! That’s a first for me! So, note to self to dress more appropriately and looking like ‘Wurzel Gummedge’ can convey the wrong impression! (I have already had minor surgery - haircut!)


Another vignette was venturing over to Exmoor on a filthy day, driving around narrow, twisting lanes (just like Mendip!) with absolutely no traffic! I parked on a lane outside a church (obviously blocking) and then ‘out of nowhere’ came one of those huge campervans. On going back to move my car, the passenger said “this is where she was murdered you know!” Oddly enough, no, I didn’t!


East to West in Somerset

My latest trip was to walk all the way from East to West - which I managed in about 30 minutes!


East Harptree is a little village on the northern side of Mendip, dominated by Harptree Court and St Laurence, a fine twelfth century parish church.
East Harptree, St Laurence
Beside the church is a footpath to West Harptree – ditto twelfth century St Mary’s, Tilly Manor and opposite Gournay Court (residence of a cabinet minister!). An enjoyable two-hour walk across fields and around the lanes via Widcombe and Coley (and carefully negotiating my way past cows!).”

That’s letter E then!



How can you contribute to our fundraising?

The money we raise goes to keep Somerset’s churches and chapels alive, so you can help by joining in Ride+Stride. The good news is that all it takes is a couple of clicks. Axel will brave the cold, wet, mud etc and you can obtain that warm glow of assisting by staying at home and smiling!


Click here for the following: Books for Sale, Annual ReportsTrustees Annual Reports and Accounts, Press Releases, Church Card Archive, Churches and Chapels Visited by DateChurches and Chapels visited by Location, Policies and Procedures

Our Patron Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Grand Designs says:

“Our churches are literally our historic and cultural touchstones – in our landscapes, built environment, family histories and our communities. They embody faith, beauty, craftsmanship and collective memory. So we should cherish them.”

Links Page

The Somerset Historic Environment Record is part of the much larger South West Heritage Trust website. Our Links Page has links to this website and over twenty other organisations concerned with religious and historic buildings.

Virtual Church Crawls

Our Treasurer, Tony Davies and William Newsom, our Photographer in Chief have been suffering withdrawal symptoms during the current lockdown, being unable to go on any of our planned Church Crawls. Unable to contain themselves any longer, they have produced a virtual church crawl. This, the first of what they hope will be many features St Mary Magdalene Langridge. Click here to watch the video.

Hot Off The Press!
Our New Year 2021 Newsletter

Axel Palmer, our Chairman has been up all night typing away in order to bring you our New Year 2021 Newsletter. This edition features Ride+Stride 2020. In spite of the problems faced with coronavirus we raised almost £13,000, up on the previous year.
Click here to read the Newsletter.

Roof Alarm Grants Still Available

We are pleased to announce that grants for roof alarms are now available direct from Allchurches Trust. Allchurches are offering grants of up to £2,500 subject to a maximum of 50% of the cost of the installation. Systems must have the approval of the church insurers and be subject to a five year maintenance contract. 

APPLY NOW by clicking on this link to Allchurches website where you will find an Application Form.

Annual Report and Accounts 2019-2020

Our Accounts for the year ending 30 June 2020 are now available.
Click here for the full report.

A Welcome from the Chairman

Welcome to our website. We are an independent, non-denominational trust raising money for the repair and improvement of churches and chapels open for Christian worship in the historic county of Somerset. The Trust, founded in 1996 under the name Friends of Somerset Churches and Chapels, exists to encourage interest and the involvement of all members of the community in the magnificent heritage of our fine religious buildings. Already, since its founding, the Trust has made grants of almost £700,000 to over 300 churches and chapels in Somerset. I hope to meet you at one of our church crawls. If you need any information about our activities or how to apply for a grant do please get in touch. All the information you need is on our contacts page.
 Dr Axel Palmer Chairman

Grant Applications and Closing Date

We welcome applications from churches and chapels of all denominations for grants towards repairs and improvements to enable wider community use subject to our grant terms and conditions. Applicants who are not already members of the trust must become members for at least three years in order for a grant to be paid. Grant applications must normally be received one calendar month before the date of the trustees meeting at which the application will be considered. In view of the current coronavirus situation we are unable to visit churches to undertake assessments, but please continue to submit applications. We are planning  a trustees meeting in January so please  submit applications for grants by 18th December for consideration at that meeting.
Click here for more information on Grant Applications.

See Where We've Been on our Church Crawls!

A complete list is now available of every church and chapel we have ever visited since the trust was formed in 1996. You can search by the date of the first visit or alphabetically. Click on the links below to go straight to the lists. If there is somewhere we have missed where you would like to visit then do let us know.

Churches and Chapels visited by date of first visit.
Alphabetical list of churches and chapels visited.

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