St Mary's Church, Donhead St. Mary

Donhead St Mary ChurchSt. Mary's Church was built by the 12th century. The architecture of the church covers the 12th to 13th centuries, with 19th century restoration. It is built of dressed limestone with a tiled roof. The gabled porch is 14th century. All of the chapel and aisle windows are square-headed and the three stage west tower is 15th century. The nave has a five bay wagon roof and a 19th century Perpendicular style screen filling the arch. The north arcade has three double chamfered arches and there is a restored late medieval lean-to roof in the aisle. The chancel contains a 13th century style east window and a 19th century wooden pointed barrel-vaulted roof.

Sunday Services

The normal monthly pattern of Sunday services in the Church is as follows:

  • First Sunday of the month: BCP Matins at 11.00 am
  • Second Sunday of the month: Evensong at 6.00 pm
  • Third Sunday of the month: BCP Communion at 8.30 am
  • Fourth Sunday of the month: Sung Eucharist at 9.30 am

The dates and times of forthcoming services in the Church can be found in the right-hand margin of this page, and on the Calendar page of this web site.

How to Find the Church

For information on how the find the Church, click here.


Ride & Stride 2019

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Ride and Stride conjures up images of 19th century gentlemen in top hats astride a 2 wheeled contraption, frightening the ladies as, legs flailing, they hurtle by. But in 2019 it was an ideal opportunity to visit some of Wiltshire’s most beautiful churches and to raise money for the upkeep and maintenance of our historic churches across the county.

On Saturday 14 September 2019, 2 groups of intrepid walkers enjoyed the pleasant sunny day, setting off from Charlton St John’s. One group strolled down Back Horsehill and across to Donhead St Andrew, where they were welcomed by refreshments of tea and cakes and an opportunity to look at the newly refurbished building ahead of its grand re-opening in October. It was then across the fields and through the Donhead Apple orchard to climb up to St Mary’s, with its lovely views over the valleys. Here Neville & Linda Pughe had left out fruit juices and biscuits in the porch for visiting walkers. Suitably refreshed, they returned to St John’s, having walked some 4 miles.The only adventure was at a marshy bit of field, when the humans got wet feet but the dog skirted it and kept dry!

The second group went further afield. They struck out initially along the lanes to St Mary’s, and after a fruit juice and biscuit, called in at the Village Hall to hear about the new Fitness classes. Then they carried on to St Leonard’s church in Semley for juice and biscuits, followed by coffee from the Semley Shop. Thus fortified, they continued up the lane to Sedgehill, enjoying the peace and quiet. Time here for a picnic lunch before returning through Semley and over Barker’s Hill to St Andrew’s, before concluding a walk of 11 miles.

Thank you to all our sponsors. We raised a total £445; well done! Half the money goes to the Historic Churches Trust, who provide grants to churches, and half goes to our churches. Also, we would like to thank all those who refreshed us on the day, leaving out drinks and biscuits to help ourselves.

Christopher Sykes


St. Mary’s and St. John’s Churches Appeal

St Mary's ChurchDonhead St. Mary is fortunate to have a beautiful 11th century church which is the only Grade 1 listed building in the parish. In Charlton, St John's is a 19th century church and Grade 2 listed building. Together, they have been serving our community for centuries.

In April 2012 we launched an appeal to meet the cost of major repair works and to provide additional and much needed regular income. The Diocesan architect's five-yearly survey identified repairs costing in the region of £75,000, equivalent to £15,000 over each of the next five years. Our existing sources of revenue such as collections, the parish fête and other fund raising events are insufficient to cover this. Indeed they are taken up entirely by other outgoings such as heating, lighting, insurance, routine maintenance and our contribution to the rector's stipend and Benefice running costs. Additional funds are required specifically for maintaining the fabric of St. John's and St. Mary's.

Our challenge has been compounded by the theft of lead from the roof of St. Mary's. In April 2012, lead was stripped from the south aisle roof, allowing rainwater to enter and damage the plasterwork. Then in October 2012, lead was stolen from the north chapel roof too. Permission was obtained from the Diocese, English Heritage and the Local Planning Authority to replace the lead with terne-coated stainless steel, which is cheaper than lead and hopefully less attractive to metal thieves. However, even after anticipated insurance claims, we are left with a significant shortfall.

St John's Line DrawingSo this is what we are doing...

  • The PCC has written to all households in the parish, explaining our predicament and asking for support. Many generous one-off donations have been received and these have enabled us to go ahead with urgent works to the roof of St. Mary's. However, further necessary works to both churches are on hold until a stable financial footing can be established.
  • An appeal has been made for recurring donations specifically to cover the fabric of the two buildings. If our target of raising £15,000 annually by recurring giving can be met, then normally recurring repairs to St. Mary's and St. John's can go ahead. Members of the PCC are attempting to talk to everyone known to have a connection with either of our two churches, and explaining why we need help. Initial response has been positive and it is proving to be a great opportunity to hear people's concerns and to be able to explain the mysteries of church funding! If you are approached by a PCC member, please don't give them a hard time!
  • We are urging more parishioners to step forward and organise fundraising events. These are a great way of bringing friendship and enjoyment to the task of fundraising, and they bring us together as a community. Examples to date include an art exhibition and sale, concerts and coffee mornings. If you have ideas for a fundraiser or need help to make it happen, please get in touch.

Many parishioners have been amazed to learn that there is no funding from within the Church of England, or from the state or local government. Even the fees which we are permitted to charge for private services such as weddings are notional and insufficient to contribute to the fabric of the church buildings. Funding really does have to come from us, the people who worship in these churches or who simply appreciate their presence as significant buildings with a vital role in our community.

Please join the growing band of friends who are assuring our two churches' future with regular giving. To make a donation, or if you would like a copy of the PCC's 'regular giving' leaflet or have an idea for a fundraising event, please telephone 01747 828192.  If you prefer, you can send an email via this web site to the PCC Treasurer  - click here to open the contact form for the Treasurer to send the email.

Thank you.

 

Andrew Vaughan