St. Petrock’s Church


St Petrock’s Church pages are regularly updated. Please see the the full list of drop down options for more information which in normal non-Covid times has weekly services and a variety of other events taking place in this beautiful mediaeval church. As of November 2020, the church is only open for private prayer by arrangement with either Churchwarden John Gratton (01643 841490) or Churchwarden Marion Jeffrey (01643 841500). Do contact us and we will be pleased to arrange access for you.

It is a source of great regret that with our newly warm and dry church, with an accessible toilet and brand new servery, that the weekly services and community events we would normally be welcoming and encouraging, are at this moment unable to take place owing to coronavirus. Please do contact us if you require any help or assistance from us.

For full details about the activities and other information relating to St Petrock’s and to our sister church, All Saints’ in Wootton Courtenay, in paper form, please refer to The Dunkery Tidings which is a monthly publication available at an annual subscription of £4 or for 40p per copy. Phone Jenny Gratton on 01643 841490.

A few copies remain of this special hardback book produced to illustrate a variety of activities undertaken by St. Petrock’s volunteers over the last two years. Priced £20, all profits go towards church funds. Contact Marion Jeffrey (01643 841500)
NCT supported our fundraising for an accessible toilet and small servery with a wonderful £10,000 grant in August 2019 towards the total amount required of £46,077. Thank you to everyone who supports NCT and our village church.
We were delighted to have achieved the total necessary to go ahead with this important development by December 2019 and work has now been completed by September 2020
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We reached an important moment in the life of our village church and community asset – St Petrock’s Church – in 2018-2020

With valuable National Lottery Heritage Fund support secured in October 2018, the PCC was able to complete much-needed roof repairs to the south aisle roof and the vestry roof by October 2019. A delay to the work was unavoidable whilst the issue of whether there were bats in the roof spaces was thoroughly investigated and resolved by a series of ecological investigations. These concluded that there was no evidence of bat habitat in the roof areas in need of urgent repair. Meanwhile the PCC was engaged in promoting and leading a variety of heritage engagement activities in St Petrock’s and the village of Timberscombe which had been facilitated through funding from the NLHF and all Lottery Players, but still only possible with the help of a fabulous range of local volunteers who offered enthusiasm, positivity, expertise and masses of practical support. We thanked them all and celebrated completion of the heritage activities with a wonderful party, and indeed for all the community to enjoy, in Janaury 2020.

The PCC was grateful to receive helpful targeted guidance from the NLHF to make sure the application for funding was as well presented as possible. There was no doubt about the importance and necessity of the repair to the roof of the church, but at a time when there is strong competition for funding assistance, it was crucial to make a compelling case for community engagement in a restored church building.

There are limited funding opportunities from major grant-awarding bodies who welcome applications from places of worship and it was important that this was successful. With funding support secured the PCC knew that the benefit to our community would endure for a very long time.

The PCC had also been working hard on a distinct and separate project since June 2017 to raise funds to provide an accessible toilet and servery in the church. A National Churches Trust Opinion Poll compiled September 2018 showed that almost a quarter of British people said they would be more inclined to visit a church as a leisure activity or tourist attraction if there were better visitor-friendly facilities such as accessible toilets. There was no doubt that this was the right way forward and would prove to be a huge asset to our village. Of course, without a watertight roof there would have been little point in pursuing this objective. Fundraising for the toilet and servery continued and the final 10% of funding was achieved just before Christmas 2019; a tremendous achievement. St Petrock’s would be fully prepared to face the future as a secure, modern and welcoming community asset with work completed in 2020.

We can be proud of what we have achieved as a church and a community over the last few years. Some examples include:

  1. An Oral History project with local volunteers trained by the Oral History Society over 2 days to interview local Exmoor voices and help preserve a portrait of life in our rural Exmoor community for the future to be available at the Somerset Heritage Centre.
  2. A Timberscombe Cooks! village heritage recipe book which is so much more. With anecdotes, photographs of contributors and local events, this was the result of over 70 entries and carefully put together by a team of volunteers who did such a great job the 100 copies sold out in an hour when the book was launched in Timberscombe in October 2019. A second re-print had almost sold out by January 2020 which is quite a testament to the quality and production standard achieved by the volunteers.
  3. A St Petrock’s History Group has been running successfully for a year now with a variety of local topics for lectures and talks and well supported with 50 members. New subjects and speakers are always welcomed. Please look at the History Group page for a record of previous talks and forthcoming events.
  4. Our local school children have learnt about the childrens’ author and Methodist Minister Rev JP Martin who lived in Timberscombe until 1968 and each now has a copy of one of his cult ‘Uncle’ books.
  5. A recent photography session for the children meant they could explore and record key artefacts in the church and churchyard to enhance their heritage awareness.
  6. A new Village Heritage pamphlet is now available so we can explore our village and make it easily accessible to walkers and tourists.
  7. A new  walking map, beautifully written by Churchwarden John Gratton and his wife Jenny, has been produced which links the six churches forming The Dunster Benefice.
  8. An updated and improved St Petrock’s Church pamphlet is now available, assisted by a fantastic act of generosity from a volunteer archaeological historian who provided clear well researched information, much of it new. He used a History Group invitation to prepare a pilot study for the Somerset Churches Project.

There is always more to be done, but this has been a very busy period and very rewarding for all the volunteers who have taken part. We thank you all for reading this and for all that you do and will do for our community.

Please contact Marion Jeffrey on 841500, John Gratton 841490, Marion Moncrieff 841318 or any member of the PCC. Thank you.