Primark Is Not The Only Saving Place

St Bartholomew’s or St Bart’s as it’s known to everyone in the village, is what one could call a working church; at the back is a functional fitted kitchen surrounded by plastic chairs and tables and on the far side is a small children’s play area filled with discarded and donated toys. church 002 At one time this glorious old church steeped in history would have been a bedrock for the whole community; however, its crumbling walls now need a cash injection of £45,000 just for essential repairs if it is to survive.

Many a sunny afternoon you can see villagers, on nodding acquaintance with each other sat on one of the benches sharing a smile and a memory or two. Courting couples over the years have sought stolen kisses under the yew trees which also provide a haven for a variety of wildlife. church 003 The coffee mornings that offer welcome company for several of the lonely old folk where they go to hear another voice other than their own. The choir and organ practises that fill the air with familiar hymns reminding us of our own childhoods.

Others like me enjoy the solitude of the church when it’s empty and when a quiet moment can soothe a troubled heart.

All the young local girls who dream of a fairy-tale wedding imagine saying their vows under the rainbow hues of the beautiful stained glass 004 The nativity plays performed by the local school children and the harvest festival services. For our family the most precious memory is that of the traditional carol services when the church is adorned in garlands of holly & mistletoe in the glow of myrrh altar candles and family is the best gift of all on that Holy of all Nights.

So if you had to put a price on this sense of community and if you did would it be £45,000 or would it be beyond priceless?

Well you didn’t expect me to finish without leaving you with a smile, so I hope you enjoy this clip of a Vicar of Dibley episode written by the brilliant Richard Curtis featuring Dawn French, a comedy hero of mine and the service held for animals

38 thoughts on “Primark Is Not The Only Saving Place

  1. It’a perfect country churchyard…Irish youth don’t tend to canoodle within viewing distance of churches…straight to hell!
    Incidentally Isn’t it funny that The Vicar of Dibley still shows on US public TV. Don’t know why but found it odd. Maybe because you’d be hard pushed to find it on basic channels at home nowadays…


    • Most of my American blogging friends tell me they love the old British sitcoms and I have to say Vicar of Dibley was one of my faves, gentle old-fashioned comedy. Was trying to find you on Twitter? Well done you on your newspaper article; am inhaling deeply hoping some of your glamour rubs off on me a bit like pixie dust!


      • Hmmmm Twitter… Don’t think that one’s for me. Still putting off creating a LinkedIn profile. In this pick n mix of social media, I like to think I’m still in control and not the other way round….Wishful thinking!:-)


  2. I always think it must be nice to be part of a small community like this. We have nearby villages that seem to have the same kind of feel to them. Hope you find it a good source of support, Dallas. 🙂


      • My husband grew up in a small farm town and left 2 weeks after high school graduation to a city of 4+million (my home town). And now we are back to living in a small German village of 900 people (smaller than his home town). There are good and bad things about living in small villages. It’s good that everyone knows you. And it’s bad that everyone can know your business, too. However, I think I will take the community that comes from a small place, especially since we have children now.


  3. I am a lover of the Vicar of Dibley, too, Dallas. A friend of mine says I look just like Dawn French in this series.
    I know how beloved many old churches are with their stone, stained glas, carved wood and high heating bills. Ours in Ottawa isn’t yet 100 y.o., but we have spent over $700,000 on the building in the past 10 or so years. Meanwhile, the congregation has shrunk, we have no young people (birth to 50) and there are people in our neighbourhood who are hungry and need shelter. WWJD? I think He urge us to sell the blasted things, get energy efficient spaces and serve the basic needs of people. In Canada, a forward thinking evangelist would set up chapels in hockey arenas. That’s where a lot of families with young children can be found on a Sunday morning.


    • Love the hockey arena idea; think it’d have to be on a soccer pitch to attract those kind of huge audiences here. Our church doesn’t have any valuable relics but I like to think we are all caretakers of our heritage and if we don’t look after historical places like these what will have for our children and grandchildren. Incidentally, if your friends think you look like Dawn French, you must be one glamorous fox as so is she and funny as to boot; in fact, the complete package


  4. Loved watching The Vicar…when it aired here on our PBS station. Actually loved all of the Brit coms that came on but that’s neither here nor there. Is there currently a fund raiser going on for the church repairs?


  5. What a beautiful and quaint little church. We don’t really have stone churches here (well I’m sure there are a few, somebody else will have to confirm), everything is mostly wood. We also don’t usually have cemeteries in the churchyard. I know that’s more typical in England and France (and other countries, I’m sure).

    Has your town raised any money to try to fix the church?


      • That was another film written by Richard Curtis, a really talented man. The church committee is made up of locals so the fundraising is quite gentle as we’re not as savvy as the gurus that assist the main charities. Maybe we ought to start auctioning my Dad’s homemade wine!


  6. A few years back, I was speaking with the vicar/minister of St Andrews Wesley Church, which is located in the downtown centre of Vancouver. He said that he had presided over services where animals were blessed much like this Vicar of Dibley episode. They even had horses in the aisle. I wish I had been there, just to see how they managed the traffic situation. But you gave me the next best thing tonight. It is around midnight in Vancouver – what a wonderful way to end my day. I love animals so I have two quotes – just because they are so wonderful….

    “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
    ― Mark Twain

    “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
    ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


  7. What a lovely church! What a lovely community. I wonder, how well your community raise the money to preserve it? Do you have the opportunity to apply for historical preservation funds? I do hope so.


  8. What a beautiful looking church, just the sort of place I would seek out myself for a bit of quiet contemplation. I hope they can raise the necessary funds. Is it open to visitors during the week? Most of the churches I’ve tried to get into in recent years (in Scotland, at least) have been closed on a weekday, which is not how it used to be. I’m always chuffed when I find one with open doors.


  9. Do hope that the necessary funds are raised to preserve this lovely old church. You are very fortunate to still experience a community focussed way of life. Loved the VOD clip 🙂


  10. A bit of a change of pace for you, but then the smile from Dibley was a nice touch. I’ve been out or touch for a solid week or more with a miserable cold, so a bit behind in reading and responding. Hope you and yours are all doing well!


  11. Vicar of Dibley – my all time favorite comedy series.; Just brilliant.
    I think you have painted a true picture of a little village … fare more peaceful then Emmerdale. *smile – £45.000 to get the church all fixed up – don’t you pay tax to the Church of England???


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