St Peter's Church

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The Church of St Peter stands in the centre of the village and has been part of our history since the middle ages. Services are held every Sunday and on special occasions. St Peters School regularly uses the Church, and the Ilton Village Carol Services fills the church every year.

There has been a church on the present site in Ilton since about 800 AD. Records from that time are insubstantial until a proper church register commences in 1642. The current building is early 14th century and is officially described as "an edifice of stone in the Early Decorated and Perpendicular style." By 1882 the Tower and its lead-case wooden spire with a clock was in a very dilapidated state and was dangerously leaning over a yard out of the perpendicular. Appeals to the Wyndham Estate, the largest employers in the village, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were met with only sympathy. It was the parishioners who funded the strengthening of the foundations, and the top part of the tower was rebuilt with brick in its present square shape.

St Peter's is one of only four churches in England to retain the medieval tradition of using "housling cloths" at the celebration of Holy Communion. The others are Westminster Abbey, Wimborne Minster, and Hexham Abbey. The word "housel" is Anglo Saxon, is used in the canons of King Edgar (960 AD) and by Spenser and Chaucer to mean "offering" or "obligation." The cloths were used to catch the crumbs of the blest bread when it was broken. We use them to shroud the sanctuary rails.

The brass effigy at the entrance to the choir vestry was erected to the memory of Nicolas Wadham who died in Merrifield House in December 1508. There are other fascinating brasses and effigies of the Wadham family in the church. The stained glass window in the south chancel was given by the parishioners to commemorate the major restoration of the church in 1860. A window on the south side of the nave is unique - it is of clear glass, beautifully engraved by Lawrence Whistler in memory of Henry Cecil Graham who died in 1957. It was commissioned by his wife who lived in the village until her death in 1984. Her relatives commissioned another window by Whistler in her memory. It is a pretty yet petit passion flower in the south transept window.

The church has to be locked for security reasons, but if you want to enter to pray, to have some quiet time, or just to view, then please contact a Church Warden who will be happy to help. They are also willing to give guided tours of the church - by arrangement.

Every week, prayers are said for those who live in the village. Over 200 village children have been baptised in the church since 1968 and each event has normally been the occasion to commence happy family parties.


Message from your vicar.

Although I live in Broadway, I am quite often in Ilton and can easily get over to see any one of you. There doesn't have to be a specific reason, but if you have just moved in, or would like a visit for any reason, please phone me (there is an answerphone if I am out). Similarly, I would be delighted to speak to anyone who is contemplating getting married, or having a member of the family baptised, or to anyone who would be interested in learning more about the Christian faith and perhaps in confirmation.

It would also be good to speak to anyone who is interested in caring for the church in any way, whether in practical matters, or in the work of the Parochial Church Council. Finally, the church is here in Ilton to serve all of those who live in Ilton, but it is not a job I can do on my own, and neither can I guess what your needs are So do make contact, either by letter or phone, or by coming along to one of the services, Sunday by Sunday.

I look forward to seeing you and hearing from you.
In the meantime, all good wishes and blessings to you from

Andrew.The Revd Dr Andrew Tatham
The Rectory, Broadway
ILMINSTER, TAl9 9RE
O146O 52559