Our Parishes

      Around the Parishes and Deanery


With our rural setting, community is at the heart of Rimpton. We have 2 hubs in the village - the church and the village hall - both of which are held in high regard, active in hosting diverse community events, and enjoy a good mutual working relationship. The village hall, actually a badminton hall with 2 village teams, hosts at least one community event every month, ranging from coffee mornings to quiz nights, craft fairs, barn dances, a monthly ‘pop-up pub’ and talks from residents on subjects as diverse as the War in Afghanistan to Climate Change.

The Harvest Supper, hosted by the church and the Christmas party following our candle-lit Carol Service are annual highlights, and ad hoc events such as the Jubilee and the Coronation are always celebrated in style with great enthusiasm and gusto. This year too we are re-instigating the much loved, traditional Village Fete which is very much a whole village affair. A large playing field and well-equipped children’s play area adjoins the hall and the village walking groups enjoy venturing out on the many footpaths.

We also have a ‘pub-restaurant’, ‘The White Post’, on the very outskirts of the village, located on the Somerset/Dorset boundary and best known in the past for each end of its bar enjoying different ‘last call’ times!

The longstanding ‘Rimpton Relief in Need’ charity makes small grants available to any village resident in need, and in recent years has offered small bursaries to youngsters for educational purposes.

Church Life and Ministry

The church is a much-loved feature of the village, both by the regular congregation and the wider community - be it for the beauty and heritage of the building itself, loved ones christened, married and/or buried in the churchyard or for what it represents as the hub of a close-knit, rural community. The church is open every day during daylight hours as a place of sanctuary and private prayer, facilitated by a high proportion of the village volunteering for the ‘church opening & locking’ rota.

Sunday services, invariably followed by coffee and catch-up, average 20-25 people, approximately 10% of the village, plus some from across the benefice, and occasional services such as Remembrance (there is a significant retired military presence here) and the Carol service are always full. A small but faithful Morning Prayer group from the wider benefice meet every Wednesday, and an active and growing Home Group meet fortnightly for prayer, fellowship and bible study.

We are a broad church catering for the whole community, with fairly traditional style of worship following Common Worship. Our aim is look upward and outward, incorporating speakers and fund raising for local charities such as Yeovil Street Pastors, Sherborne Food bank, the Children’s Society, Mind and the RNLI. As well as a sacred place of worship, the church also celebrates the wonder of God’s gifts through various musical and artistic events, including our Benefice ‘Ad Hoc Singers’, organ recitals and flower festivals; the annual carol singing followed by mulled wine and mince pies and the Palm Sunday procession through the village, complete with donkey/pony, are popular acts of witness.

Pastoral care is very much in the DNA of the village too, with many church and non-church goers ‘looking out for each other’ and stepping up as the need arises. This was especially visible during Lockdown when so many offered help and support, be it shopping, transport, or a friendly voice on the phone.

PCC Officers & Church Membership

We have a full complement of wardens, treasurer, secretary, a deanery synod representative, sidesmen, safe-guarding officer and PCC members. Church Electoral Roll – 47


Due to prolonged time in vacancy, reduced service offering and therefore reduced overall revenue, the Parish Share for the year was not paid in full and a reduced payment was made. Payment of the Parish Share in full would have resulted in a shortfall in the year and a further reduction in overall assets. As of January 2024, services have been reduced still further so church income will continue to fall. A continuation of the reduced Parish Share is therefore prudent

St Mary the Virgin, Rimpton, our building and churchyard

Our beautiful Grade I ancient church lies in a tranquil setting on the eastern edge of the village with fine views towards Cadbury Castle to the east. The lower part of the tower dates from the second half of the 13thcentury, with major alterations to the tower and the nave around 1500 AD and the north transept added in the 19th century. A well-maintained village church, in need of a relatively small amount of internal plasterwork and painting.

The churchyard is open and is also well maintained regularly by a gardener who is paid mainly by the parish council (civic).


Mudford, the largest village in the benefice, lies on a busy A-road, very close to Yeovil, but it retains a largely rural character, especially in the surrounding hamlets. At present, the population is stable, although there are plans afoot for two large developments on the outskirts where the parish boundary meets the Yeovil conurbation.

There is a popular pub and a small complex of business units. Sadly, the village shop has closed. We have a large well-kept recreation ground and a small but attractive and characterful Village Hall, housed in a Victorian school building, which has been modernised and upgraded. There is a good sense of community, with a range of regular activities, as well as occasional large-scale events, although there is perhaps more on offer for older people than for working folk and families. The Parish Council, Village Hall Committee and Church work closely together and there is considerable overlap of personnel, for example the Chair of the Village Hall Committee is on the PCC, and one of the churchwardens serves on the Parish Council.

Church Life and Ministry

Our congregation is tiny and elderly, but we have a range of skills and talents that we endeavour to use in the service of God and of our neighbours. There is a church bookstall at the popular village café and church members assist with and support village events. We also visit, shop for, and give lifts to older, sick and disabled folk … but we are also conscious that there are many local people we never meet.

We have a website and a monthly newsletter, and advertise events on posters, but there are gaps in our communications, and we are told people sometimes miss things because they do not know about them.

We try to do what God is calling us to do, seeking to respond when new opportunities arise, for example the Jubilee celebrations, both in the hall and at the church, saw people of all ages working together to pull off events that were attractive to all. However, we are conscious that, although our Christian beliefs and church membership are well known, talking about faith outside of church groups is rare, and we lack expertise in opening such conversations with non-church-going people.

We have some established worship initiatives, which are appreciated by people who do not normally attend church, such our All Souls Service remembering loved ones who have died.  All are welcome but we send invitations to recently bereaved families. Our Christmas Eve Christingle/Crib Service is exceptionally well-attended and puts Christ at the start of many families’ Christmas celebrations.

Above all, St Mary’s has a great reputation for friendliness; people stay for coffee and a chat after worship and our social events are generally popular and well-attended. Both wardens and the treasurer/secretary of the PCC make up our Lay Ministry Team which meets regularly to consider all aspects of ministry and mission, including organising the Home Study Group, which meets in public in the lounge of the local sheltered housing scheme. All are welcome to attend.

We are very keen to grow our work with children and families; prior to the pandemic we were enjoying some success with Family Fun Activity Days, which were mainly held in the Village Hall, but always incorporated story-time in church and some fun and games in the churchyard. More recently, we ran an afternoon on the theme of Church Detectives, looking for clues in the building, churchyard, and old registers, and linking our war memorials to a study of the whole armour of God. We would love to do more of this type of work.

There is a tradition of music within the church; we currently have a very fine organist playing for most of our services, the organ is very good, and the building is blessed with excellent acoustics.

Fundraising has been reduced and offerings are diminished. We are eating into our reserves. However, we continue to pay our parish share in full and make generous donations to a wide variety of charities and Christian organisations.

We have an electoral roll of 15. Average attendance at services was 12 last year but has grown recently because of people coming from other churches in the benefice.

We have a full complement on the PCC and are represented on the Deanery Synod and DMPG.

St. Mary’s Church, Mudford, our building and churchyard

Our beautiful building is a deeply spiritual space, but difficult to heat and not as flexible as we would wish. Our wonderful Jacobean pews restrict the styles of worship we can adopt. The building is expensive to run; the nave roof has been replaced, and the tower restored in the last fifteen years or so. Our most recent Quinquennial highlighted the need for serious repairs to the Chancel roof, and investigations into this are underway.


The village of Marston Magna is situated on the busy A359 about two miles south of Sparkford. It is near the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton, the market towns of Yeovil and Sherborne, these being the places where many of the residents are employed.

The main activity is agriculture and it supports a number of farms; other employment is recycling (mainly paper and cardboard), one public house, agricultural engineers and a residential home for the elderly. There are also some people who work from home.

The average age is relatively high as the local housing is too expensive for first time buyers and, apart from a primary school in a nearby village; it is quite a distance to any state schools. There is also a lack of local amenities. However, there are a shop/post office and an excellent medical centre in Queen Camel, one mile away; these serve several parishes across the rural area.

Church and community life and ministry

There is a strong community spirit, much of which is centred around a modern Village Hall which holds a very wide variety of activities which are well supported. Links with the church are good; it was members of the church, who established the Village Café, which continues to be held every Friday morning. It has proved popular with an average weekly attendance of twenty, which is gradually increasing. There are weekly and monthly classes and activities, including many social evenings, and also annual events such as the ever-popular fete and duck race, held in the recreation ground next to the hall. The village also has a tradition of making and displaying scarecrows in front of houses at certain times of the year.

Currently, services are held once a month and on special occasions, such as Good Friday, when a very meaningful Hour at the Cross takes place. A Christingle Service raises funds for the Children’s Society. There is also Carol Singing in the churchyard and a Christmas Eve Crib Service. Remembrance Sunday is celebrated either here or in Rimpton. Holy Communion for residents and staff is celebrated each month in Fir Villa Residential Home.

At present no churchwardens are in post, but the PCC continues to function, with a secretary, a treasurer, a safeguarding officer, who is also a Lay Reader, and the sole surviving member of a lay ministry team. Average attendance in church is about 15 and there are 35 on the electoral roll.

Financially, the church is running at a deficit, but is not yet using its reserves as it is relying on recent legacies. The Parish Share is paid in full.

St. Mary’s Church, Marston Magna, our building and churchyard

There has been a church in Marston Magna since Saxon times, part of the chancel and the font are Norman and the east window is c1230. With these exceptions the church was rebuilt in 1360 and during the fifteenth century the Lady Chapel was built and contains remains of old wall paintings. The tower is c1485 consisting of three storeys and contains a peal of six bells (which are rung for most services). The church seats approximately 100.

The churchyard is open and well-maintained. The church is open every day for visits and for private prayer. The church is beautifully illuminated at night.


Community and church life and ministry

Like most villages in the area, Chilton Cantelo has changed considerably over the last 40 years, when most of the inhabitants worked on the two farms or in the former Manor. Now, there are two smaller farms, one of which has a contracting business, and organic market garden, within the village. The remaining fields are used by farmers who live outside of the village. There is also a large soft fruit ‘Glasshouse Growing Concern’, staffed seasonally by Ukrainian people, who have been welcomed into our church and village life. After the Russian invasion we held special services, which were very well attended and much appreciated. Even now we have a dedicated window display for them.

The majority of villagers support the church and our aims. Indeed, there is a very good community spirit and goodwill for village/church events, such as coffee mornings, plant sales, concerts, garden parties and other enjoyable, fund-raising events, it is usually left to a small number of people to undertake the organisation. Most of the work is done by the small PCC and a few other supporters.

However, for the last 18 months most such events have been on hold, whilst we have been struggling to replace our existing electric ‘under pew’ heating system, following a certification failure.  Having no heating has affected our attendance at services and necessitated temporary closure of our village café which is normally held monthly in the church. This is sorely missed by all villagers who find comfort in meeting with the neighbours regularly. At long last, we have been granted permission to go ahead and install new pew heaters. Once this work is complete, we shall be able to resume our community events; this is important as the church is the only public space in the village.

The regular monthly worship attracts a mixed congregation from the village and outside, with an average of 12 with a much larger attendance at festivals. Occasionally the congregation adjourn to Higher Farm opposite, for refreshments, which have been appreciated more than ever since the problems with the heating began.

Most people from the village and indeed from elsewhere walk by and admire the wonderful old building and, although for reasons of their own they very seldom join us at our services, they like to know that their Church is there. We need to find more ways of getting them to come through the door, whether to services or other community events.

Chilton Bridge School for children with special needs is currently being established albeit in the early stages. We are hoping that they will take an interest in both the village and our church, as did the previous school.

There are four members of the PCC, including two wardens and a secretary/treasurer, but they all share the works amongst them. There are also four people on the electoral roll.

 Financially, our income just about covers the church’s regular running costs, and we pay as much towards the parish share as we can, albeit we struggle to meet the deadlines on occasions.  The previous private school contributed to the church which they used for assemblies and choir practices, but this is no longer the case, and we are suffering at losing their financial aid.

We appreciate being one of a five Church Benefice. We all seem to get on and, when there is a problem, we all rally round to solve it.

St. James, Chilton Cantelo, our building and churchyard

The church is dedicated to St James. Only the tower remains from the 14th century church, built in Norman style; the remainder of the church was rebuilt in 1864. The Provost of Eton, the Rev. Charles Goodford, undertook this as a tribute to his brother, the late rector. As far as possible he had everything inside the old building preserved and replaced in its original position. The architect was Sir Arthur Bloomfield and his assistant was Thomas Hardy - better known as an author. The tower houses a peal of 5 bells. The churchyard is open and is well maintained.


Community and church life and ministry

Ashington parish extends from the River Yeo in the east towards the village of Limington in the west and from Yeovilton (an active military base) in the north to Great Ashington Wood on the lane to Mudford Sock in the south. It has changed little over many years and has a very rural feel. There is a duck pond opposite the church. It is known for its Elizabethan manor house, which is listed (Grade 1), as is the church.

Dougie Allen, who is resident in the village, is warden and he is assisted by a treasurer, who has moved to Sherborne, but continues in post. Dougie maintains the church and churchyard. There are fairly regular visits by those with family members at rest in the churchyard, but they do not attend services.

Dougie oversaw the replacement of the roof in 2021 and hopes to complete the final part of a comprehensive restoration to the bellcote and our medieval bells, if a gap in funding of approx. £8,000 can be closed and time allows.

Sadly, there is very little interest in church matters in the small community. This has been the case for several years. People here don't seem to see and feel the relevance of God in their lives. No one from the Parish joined the Benefice service we had last year. Another Benefice service is planned for June of this year.

Unless money can be raised through donations or offerings at well-attended services, Dougie estimates that the money will run out in two to three years.

St. Vincent’s, Ashington, our building and churchyard

The church is dedicated to St Vincent. The nave dates from the early 16th Century and the present chancel was restored in 1878 replacing a chancel older than the nave. The furniture within the church dates from the Jacobean period with the pulpit dated 1637. The ancient register dates back to 1567. The church was without electricity until 2011. The churchyard is open and well-maintained.


Yeovil Deanery comprises four urban churches, surrounded by 18 small rural parishes

mainly in three multi-parish Benefices. The recent deployment plan means that in future

there will be 7.5 stipendiary priests across the Deanery.


The 2023 Deanery Mission Plan focuses on:

  • Local mission; particularly in new housing areas, establishing new forms of church, and

sharing resources across the Deanery to help each other with outreach.

  • Shared local ministry; identifying and developing the gifts of lay people, particularly in

the areas of worship, pastoral care and schools’ engagement, and working across the

Deanery to promote and enable this.

  • Oversight ministry; seeing stipendiary clergy as oversight ministers, supporting and

enabling local church leadership across the Deanery and across all parishes.


The Deanery leadership are looking at ways for the Deanery to work together, sharing

resources and training, and providing more mutual support. There is a small but

supportive Deanery chapter, which puts a high priority on the pastoral care of local clergy.