FACT Mission Statement

We are :
From various churches
Assisting and serving our communities
Christians working together
To make a difference

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Blessed virgin Mary, St John the Baptist and All Saints, Witham Friary

I'm on home turf today, with the church in my own village. This church is unusual in many ways, not least its age. Built originally in the 13th Century it was the lay brothers chapel for the Carthusian Friary from which the village takes its name. The lay brothers were an important part of the Carthusian order, not taking vows but living the monastic life. The monastery was built as part of Henry II's penance for his indirect killing of Thomas a Becket ( remember "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest ? ) and its most famous resident and first prior was St Hugh of Lincoln.

The Church was altered in 1828 and extended in 1875. The font is octagonal in style and dates from the Jacobean period. The Royal Arms dates from 1660. The striking feature on the outside is the tower, which probably might best be described as a carillon of 3 bells. The stained glass contains fragments of medieval glass. Inside there is a small pipe organ and the nave is 3 bays long with semi-circular chancel. There are also outside some spectacular buttresses.

Maybe this church wins the prize for the longest dedication of the FACT churches

Address : Witham Friary, Frome BA11 5HE

Photo : © Brendan Balhetchet LRPS

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