...keeping Somerset's churches & chapels alive

The number of participating churches is growing rapidly. 143 churches have now signed up to take part in Ride+Stride 2019. The current list is now available to download.

Bishops Peter and Ruth officially launch our 2019 Ride+Stride at The Bishop's Palace in Wells.

Clergy on Penny Farthings launch 2019 Ride+Stride

Fine Churches in NE Somerset
Start Date/Time:
17 August 2019 14:00
End Date/Time:
17 August 2019 17:00
Recurring Event:
One time event

Tour led by Julian Orbach, such an expert in the field of historic buildings that he needs no introduction. He wrote the latest (2014) Pevsner Guide of The Buildings of England for Somerset South and West.

Start at St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm BA11 3NZ, a small village church built in the 12thC that has a wall with early Norman herringbone stone courses, saddleback west tower of c1240 and an Elizabethan gallery approached from an external staircase (both the latter quite unusual). Also 17thC box pews, 14thC porch, 18thC north transept and a Norman font. On to St Mary, Orchardleigh BA11 2PH, in a secluded spot on an island in a lake, with no electricity, on a former estate, now a golf course. It has 13thC origins but is mostly 18thC. There is a stone screen dated 1879, Jacobean pulpit, Norman font, Royal Arms and other hatchments. There is a tribute to poet Sir Henry Newbolt (1862–1938), who was inspired by the story of a faithful dog called Azor, to whom there is a monument. Then toAll Saints, Lullington BA11 2PG, one of Robin Bush’s (author of Somerset, The Complete Guide) top churches in the county, notable in particular for its Norman north doorway and inside, its Norman tower arches. It also has a fantastic decorated font, elaborately carved stone capitals and ancient pulpit, 13thC south chapel and c1150 tapering tomb slab cover.

We finish at about 5pm at St George, Beckington BA11 6TD,with a 12thC west tower, lofty nave with clerestory and north and south aisles. There are several notable military memorials (1780, 1856, 1922 and 1940) as well as a 1485 brass of two figures, and three stone effigies dating from 1360–1400, and a monument to Samuel Daniel (died 1619), Poet Laureate. Tea here – donations please. Total drive between churches: 10.8 miles.

Book with William Newsom, email, tel: 01963 441533.

Our Next Event is on Saturday 14th September.

All the information you need is on our Ride+Stride page.


Click here to see the full programme for 2019.

Another Successful Annual Meeting

The Church Rooms at Stogursey were full to capacity as members enjoyed another action packed Annual Meeting on Saturday 27th April. Business reports were quickly concluded to allow time for the presentation of Awards for the Ride+Stride event held on 8th September 2018. 

Philip Skelhorn collected the award on behalf of Holy Trinity Sutton Montis for the church that raised the most money and Michael Auton (Ride+Stride Coordinator) collected the award on behalf of The Revd Jonathan Morris who was the individual raising the most in sponsorship.
A special award was given by our Chairman, Axel Palmer to Alasdair Green (aged four)  who was the youngest cyclist to take part, while Granny looks on approvingly. It was then over to Bob Croft, trustee and Somerset County Archaeologist to tell us about the history of Stoke Courcy now known as Stogursey.
This was followed by a visit to St Andrew's Church and then onto Fairfield House, home of Elizabeth, Lady Gass, DCVO a former Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset and one of our Patrons.
 Lady Gass gave us a conducted tour of her home followed by Bob Croft giving a brief overview of the archaeological investigations that have been undertaken on the site. The only complaint was that there was just so much of interest there was not enough time to take it all in.

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.


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.”

Ride+Stride 2019 All Set To Go!

All of the forms you need to take part in Ride+Stride 2019 are now available. Click here
 to go straight to the forms or on the Ride+Stride button above for full details. We have joined up with Virgin Money Giving so you can create your own webpage to raise sponsorship on line. We are asking churches to open their doors to raise money by putting on activities. Click here for fundraising ideas.

If you have not yet told us that you would like to take part click here for a Registration Form. Please complete to confirm if your church will be open with refreshments, if you will have walkers and/or riders taking part or you are putting on some other event and return to Michael Auton whose contact details are on the form.

The List of Participating Churches is now available to download.


At the Annual Meeting held on 27th April Trustees agreed to match the £1,000 from Allchurches Trust towards the cost of installing a roof alarm. 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.

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 13th September 2019 for the October 2019 trustees 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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