St Margaret Spaxton
Description of parish
Welcome to the ecclesiastical parish of Spaxton with Charlynch which lies 5 miles west of Bridgwater and is located on the north-eastern slopes of the Quantock Hills. The village of Spaxton is in two main parts divided by a short stretch of undeveloped farmland in between. The eastern end is known as Four Forks, and houses the post office, garage and village pub. To the north of this area along the rural Charlynch Road lies the hamlet of Charlynch, with its redundant church, now privately owned. The west end of Spaxton houses the church, village hall, the community shop and the Church of England Primary School.
Official opening of Spaxton Community Stores
Housing is a mix of old and new, with no large estates. There are several sets of houses which are council or housing association owned, as well as 4 almshouses administered by a board of trustees. The Rectory is currently occupied by our Benefice Associate Vicar. Other houses and farms are scattered within the parish.
The population of Spaxton is approximately 900 of mixed ages, and it is generally not thought to be a wealthy population. The school, recently awarded ‘outstanding’ status by OFSTED, has 80 pupils reflecting a large number of families within the parish. The village hall is well used and has within its boundaries a children’s playground and 2 sports fields. There are many active organisations within the village.
St Margaret’s Church
St Margaret’s church has ancient foundations, was substantially rebuilt in the 15th century, and is a grade 1 listed building. It is particularly known for its ancient carved bench-ends. It is in good order and facilities have been improved in the last few years. Selling the church rooms, which could no longer be maintained by the congregation, provided the funds for the installation of a kitchen and a disabled toilet. Being the largest church building in the benefice, seating 170, and with these extra facilities, it is used as the church of choice for combined benefice services. The sound system has recently been updated. The church is open every day for visitors and private worship. The churchyard is closed for burials, but the cemetery opposite the church is still open and maintained by the church. However, this is nearly full and will be closed in the next few years.
Monies remaining from the church rooms sale are restricted funds. The PCC has bought a piece of land which is suitable for a church car park, and these funds may be used for this project. Parking for benefice services, funerals, weddings etc is severely limited at present.
The organisation Friends of Spaxton Church is committed to raising money for building repair and special projects. It is currently working on a scheme to provide a new memorial garden.
There is extra attendance at festivals, and some extra occasional worshippers. Most of the congregation is actively involved in other village organisations. Spaxton’s small congregation is dedicated to its church and reaches out to others in their community and that of the wider benefice especially in times of sickness and need. The church produces a welcome booklet for new residents and it is delivered personally by church members. Details of church services and a letter from the clergy is put into the Community Newsletter which is published bi-monthly within the village and is delivered free to every home.
Over the past few years the congregation has been willing to experiment and experience some of the diversity of common worship, celebrating festivals throughout the church year. We are generally open to new ideas and traditions. We use a hymnal with success when no organist is available. However, the small organ has recently been refurbished and is in a good state of repair. It is frequently used by visiting organists for weddings, funerals and benefice services. After every service we serve coffee, tea and biscuits, enjoying a social time together with any visitors or new members. During lent, the lent group in the Rectory was well attended and links grew between Spaxton and Goathurst communities.
Other church events
Spaxton church has good links with the primaryschool, having a governor from the PCC and other voluntary helpers. Clergy provide weekly assemblies in the school. Each month a whole school service is held in the church at the end of the school day. It is taken by a member of the clergy and is well attended by parents and the Sunday congregation. Refreshments are served to the children at the end.The school also uses the church for its Easter, Leaving, and Christmas services.
In December a Christmas Tree Festival is held which has become a popular event in the village. We have around 20 trees lit and decorated by various organisations within the village and other churches around the benefice.
We have held a few concerts in the past, and the hope is that we can hold more in the future when a car park is established.
St Margaret’s donates to the Deanery Mission Project which is chosen by the Deanery Synod and is changed annually. Collections at Easter and Christmas are given to nominated charities, and there is opportunity for people to donate to a charity when visiting the Christmas tree festival.
The churchwarden and other members of the PCC are on the Cooke’s Almshouses board of trustees.