Chew Stoke

Status: 
Open
Number of Burials: 
3,057

From the Frome Times of Wed 17 Jun 1863 p2:

CHEW STOKE CHURCH is fast approaching completion, and is one of Mr. Norton’s best works. The fund, however, are still, it is said, more than a thousand pounds deficient.

From the Bristol Times and Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal of Wed 8 Aug 1863 p8:

The re-opening of Chew-Stoke Church is fixed for August 11. There is a deficiency of £700 to be made up. Sir Penny and Lackpenny may help each in his own way. Rich and poor are interested in the work.

From the Frome Times of Wed 19 Aug 1863 p3:

RE-OPENING OF CHEW STOKE CHURCH.―On Tuesday the inhabitants of the pretty village of Chew Stoke were early astir for the purpose of making preparations for the service which were to be held in their neat and attractive parish church consequent upon the work of restoration of the venerable structure having been brought to a successful termination. In the morning the sacred building was densely crowded. A large muster of clergy met at the rectory where they robed, and walked in procession to the church, entering at the west door. There the school children were marshalled and formed into two ranks, and as the clergy passed by they chanted the 122nd and 134th Psalms. Amongst the clergy present were the Right Rev. Lord Auckland, Bishop of Bath and Wells; the Ven. Archdeacon Browne, Weston-super-Mare; Rev. Prebendary Ommanney, Rural Dean, Chew Magna; Rev. Prebendary Milward, Paulton, &c. The Bishop preached in the morning, and, referring to the financial features of the work, his lordship said the expenditure amounted to £2429, of which £1000 had been subscribed by the Rector; £160 had been given by the Church laymen; and the societies had given, the London £50, and the Diocesan £60; but he was sorry to add that in spite of those donations a debt of £700 had been incurred, to diminish which their contributions would be applied. The offertory was taken at the close of the service, and £36 8s. 6d. received. The service was followed by a collation, after which service was again held in the church, when Archdeacon Browne preached, and in the evening tea was provided for a large number of friends.  We may state, in addition, that Mr. Crook presided at the organ, improved by Mr. Vowles, of Bristol; and the usual village choir was aided by some Bristol friends. The Bible and Church Prayer Books, for the desk and communion table, were presented by the rector’s grandchildren. The decorations were arranged by Miss H. King and Mr. J. Gardiner. During the morning service, after the second lesson, the youngest grandchild of the rector was baptised by the Bishop, with water brought from the river Jordan by a well-known missionary from the East. IN connexion with the interesting ceremony, the parishioners presented the Rev. rector with a set of clerical robes.

In 1884 there was a dispute over pew no. 3 in Chew Stoke Church. Two families claimed sole rights to use it. A letter from the Bishop of Bath & Wells stated that ‘no house in a parish has a right to a particular pew, unless by faculty’. The matter went to the Temple Cloud petty sessions where the magistrates imposed a fine of £2 10s  with £2 8s 6d costs on the main defendants who had been accused of ‘indecent behaviour’ by climbing over the back of pews to gain access to the pew denied to them. There was a threat of 2 months in gaol if the fines were not paid and that, should there be a reoccurrence, the penalty would be gaol and not a fine. (Western Daily Press Wed 5 Nov 1884 p7, Bristol Mercury Wed 5 Nov 1884 p3). The issue arose again in 1889 with an alleged assault by the previous defendants on the son of the Rector of Chew Stoke. The case ‘has excited a great deal of interest in the neighbourhood, this being evident from the crowded attendance at the court house (Bristol Mercury Sat Sep 1889 p19).

From the Taunton Courier of Wed 10 Sep 1913 p8:

2439. THE BEARDED LADY.―Up to the present eve the most mannish woman has not succeeded in growing a beard but we are told that when someone ventured to propose to St. Wilgefort, to whom one of the altars in Chew Stoke Church was dedicated, she resented it so hairily that she grew a beard to prevent anyone else repeating the offence, “and as a bearded lady she is always represented.” She also has an altar at St Mary-le-Port, Bristol. Some of our Suffragette friends would doubtless like to know more about this forgotten saint. When did she live, and has her “life” even been written?

(The legend of St Wilgefortis is supposed to have arisen in the 14th century. The feast-day is 20 July. There were a couple of replies concerning her in the Taunton Courier of Wed 23 May 1928 p12.)

The burial register has some annotations against entries in the 1730s indicating that the entry had been added from the private accounts made by the clerk. There is also a missing period and the register has ‘omission from 1742 to 1753 – 11 years’.

Documentation: 

At Somerset Heritage Centre:

  • D/P/chew.s 2/1/1 1672-1787 Baptisms 1663-1789 (gap 1739-1754); Marriages 1664-1742; Burials 1672-1787; burials in woollen noted, 1678-1731, together with the person making the affidavit to 1717 (gap 1742-1753).
  • D/P/chew.s 2/1/2 Baptisms and burials 1787-1812
  • D/P/chew.s 2/1/8 1813-1972
Location: 
St Andrew’s Church, Church Lane, Chew Stoke BS40 8TU
Coverage in Index: 
1762-2017