St.Stephens Church



There are many references to the origins of the Church in Winsham. One refers to the possibility of the See of Bath and Wells in 909 AD. We know that there have been vicars of Winsham since 1321. A board in the church lists them from Robert de Veele de Well in 1321 to 1989 when Brian Ralph Sutton was appointed.

In 1921 the parish of Cricket St Thomas came under the care of the vicar of Winsham although remaining a separate parish. 1982 saw the formation of a joint benefice with the 
parish of Thorncombe added from the Salisbury diocese. The Winsham Vicarage was sold and the vicar for the benefice lived in Thorncombe until the retirement of the Reverend Brian Sutton in 1998. A Team ministry based on Chard was planned and the Reverend Canon A.E.H. Rutter came out of retirement and assisted, in a part-time capacity, with the care of the former benefice.

The Team was launched in 1999 with the Reverend Stephen Kivett, Rector of St. Mary's, Chard, as Team Rector. When a Team Vicar is appointed at Furnham, Chard, he will have responsibility for Thorncombe, Winsham and Cricket St Thomas.

Canon Rutter retired for a second time when the Reverend Ernest Chivers was licensed to serve in the Team ministry on a part-time basis. He now lives in Thorncombe Vicarage, does some parochial work and conducts Sunday Services. The choir of St Stephen's leads the singing at morning services. At present the choirmaster, Tony Meech, would welcome more regular members but whenever there is a festival or special occasion their numbers are swelled by other members of the parish. When there is a fifth Sunday in the month the service on that day alternates between Thorncombe and Winsham. This helps both choirs and gives great pleasure.

The first service in this Millennium Year was the New Year's Day Special Order of Service followed by the National ringing of the bells at midday. Refreshments were served by the Winsham 2000 committee.

All the church festivals have been observed with services at Easter, including a family service on Good Friday. Winsham schoolchildren brought many donations to the church following their own Harvest Service in school. The church was beautifully decorated with flowers, garden produce and many cans of crops from overseas. Christmas is a particularly busy time with the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Mother's Union Crib Service on Christmas Eve and the Children's Society Christingle Service. All these as well as a well attended service on Christmas Day.

The British Legion Remembrance Day was attended by the Winsham Coronation Band who played before and after the service and accompanied the hymns.

The church looked its best in July for the Flower Festival. Farming in all its aspects, past and present, was represented and gave much food for thought to the many people who visited the church and a great feeling of co-operation to all the village organisations which took part.

The Parish Registers show that there have been six baptisms, one marriage and five funerals.
St Stephens Parochial Church Council

Revd. Canon A.E.H. Rutter 

Revd. M.S. (Stephen) Kivett 

Revd. E.A.J. Chivers 


St.Stephen's Parochial Church Council

Back Row L to R: C Sweetland, E Jones, T Meech, D Kershaw, P Howell, H Fowler, P Pargiter, A Rose,
J Peacock (churchwarden)
Front Row L to R: D Pine, P Barratt (Churchwarden), G Grabham, J Stone, R Barratt. 

The P.C.C. has had many subjects to consider this year. One of the main ones is the introduction of Common Worship. From Advent Sunday 2000 this will be the order of service to be used in all churches and will replace the Alternative Service Book which has been in use since 1980. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer can still be used and the Family Service Book will be retained.

In four years time all public buildings will be required to allow access for disabled people. The steps by the pulpit will need handrails. An architect has been asked to submit designs. This work will add considerably to the P.C.C.'s financial commitments.

The P.C.C. has been asked whether, perhaps, the Village Bier could find a home in the church. A decision will be made next year.

Fundraising for good causes included serving cooked breakfasts and then hot dogs all day on the pavement outside the Lych gate on Street Fair Day, a Lent Lunch and the Christmas Bazaar, and the Harvest Supper. An opportunity for the Parish to support St Stephen's was the Gift day. All of these events were very well supported.

A footnote - To everyone's delight the swallows returned, after missing last year, and reared two broods of young.

St Stephen's Missionary Group

The St Stephen's Missionary group is an interdenominational group which was started in early 1960 by Mrs Blackley, Mr Withers and the Reverend Fairweather.Meetings were first held at Leigh House, then at the Vicarage in Winsham. The Misses Hunt were also great supporters for many years.

At the start the group supported overseas missions, as Mrs Blackley had been a missionary. Funds were raised by holding Cream Teas, Fetes, Coffee Mornings etc. There were many members and the group was very well supported.

Noreen White took over from Mrs Blackley as Secretary. On Noreen's death, Maggie Jeavons took on the role. The present Secretary, Margaret Long, took over in 1992.

Membership has gone down over the years, the few left still raise money and still support six charities each year as well as any emergencies that come along.

The Charities supported are;
Church Missionary Society Sight Savers International
Mission to Seamen Church Pastoral Aid Society
South American Missionary Society Home Farm Trust

We have meetings with speakers during the Winter months, also outings to places of interest.

The present committee are;

Chairman: Tony Meech Vice Chairman: Mona Tierney
Secretary: Margaret Long Treasurer: Edie Jones
Jean Thompson, Dora Pine, Pam May and Pam Hammett.

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This page revised 01 May 2009