...keeping Somerset's churches & chapels alive

The Allchurches Trust Roof Alarm Grant has been increased and extended to 31st December 2020. We can now give up £2,500 towards installing as alarm.

At The National Churches Trust “Local Treasures - People and Places” awards ceremony on 15th November 2019 Graham Harris of Leigh on Mendip was presented with an award for “his dedication and service to his church, community and for encouraging visitors and helping the Somerset Churches Trust through the East Mendips Churches Heritage Trail”. Our Treasurer, Tony Davies was there. Read his full report of the event by clicking on the headline.

William Newsom, trustee and organiser of the crawl welcomes Julian Orbach crawl leader at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm. Click on the heading for a full report of the day.

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Our Autumn Talk 2019

Our programme of events is now finished for 2019. We are currently working on our events for 2020.Our final event of 2019 was the Autumn Talk at Wells Museum on 1 November.

Before the talk, our Chairman, Dr Axel Palmer presents William Constantine with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to Ride+Stride. William raised over £6,000 cycling for Ride+Stride over many years.

A busy evening for our chairman, now seen here presenting Dr Tim Connor, our guest speaker with a copy of Hugh Playfair's book "Jewels of Somerset". Dr Connor gave us a fascinating and also most amusing insight into the church tombs and monuments of Somerset.

Notes from William's Travels
The first in an occasional series

William Newsom one of our trustees is on a mission to visit every church in Somerset. He is reporting back when he comes across anything unusual. There is always something new to discover in churches and William's first unusual find are mass dials. Sometimes known as scratch dials, these date from the time before clocks, and were a means of knowing when the next mass was to be said.  Effectively simple sundials, they are to be found scratched on the south facing wall of a church and are circular, usually about a foot wide, with a hole in the middle into which was fixed a wooden peg projecting out at right angles and various lines radiating out from the centre. As the sun traversed the sky the peg cast a shadow indicating the time at which services were held. Many churches in Somerset dating from the 15th century and earlier have them.  The church of Holy Trinity, Newton St Loe has two alongside the south porch.

The church of St Bartholomew’s, Ubly has one in the north porch which is in the wrong place as it was moved from the south wall when a major restoration was carried out in the 19
th century.


Allchurches Trust have increased the amount they will give towards the cost of installing a roof alarm. We can now give up to a maximum of £2,500. With metal prices on the rise theft of lead is more than likely to increase. Make the most of this one off opportunity to protect your church. Apply now before it's too late.

• Better cover for lead theft from Ecclesiastical Insurance.
• You can still apply if an alarm is being installed but not yet paid for.
• Must be installed by an approved installer and main- tained for at least 5 years.
• Application is easy! Download a form from our website:, complete, and send to our Grants Secretary:
Anthony Sutcliffe, Corner Well House, Barton Road, Butleigh, Glastonbury BA6 8TL.
If you would like any more information, please contact him: tel: 01458 851324, mobile: 07785 225565, email: anthony.

Download an Application Form here

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. The next closing date will be  
27th March 2020 for the trustees meeting on   25th April 2020.   
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.


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.

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