Residents to Return to St. John the Baptist Church After a Year of Safety Concerns


The St. John the Baptist Church's 20-foot pinnacle became dangerous due to a storm-force wind. After a year of safety concerns, residents can now return to the church.

Storm-force Winds at St. John the Baptist Church

According to West Somerset Free Press, it was discovered a year ago that storm-force winds had caused stones to fracture the base of one of the tower's four pinnacles, which might lead to the tower's collapse. Carhampton's vicar, the Rev Caroline Ralph, said, "We reluctantly had to close the church and rope off part of the churchyard to be on the safe side."

Since March of last year, church activities have been moved to the Carhampton village hall. The St. John the Baptist church has remained closed while architects and engineers plan repairs. These repairs include installing a balance weight to reduce the likelihood of future movement in the pinnacle.

As the potentially hazardous stonework has been demolished, the church can now be occupied again. As mentioned, when the damaged stone at the base of the pinnacle is replaced in April, the structure rebuilding will begin.

Moreover, they hoped that skilled stonemasons would start rebuilding the pinnacle by the end of the month. In the meantime, the church bells, which have been silent for a whole year, will be rung again, although this will be temporarily stopped while the construction work is being done.

In addition, Rev. Ralph mentioned that this is around the third or fourth time there have been issues with the pinnacles. This event occurred in 1956 and again in 2002. It was caused by storm damage rather than normal wear and tear. The necessary repairs would be covered by insurance. "The work will not stop us using the church; hopefully, services and other events will go on as usual. Everyone in the village is pleased to have the church back," he added.

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Brief History of Carhampton's St. John the Baptist Church

An article from the Hey Church stated St. John the Baptist is a Grade I listed Anglican church in Carhampton, Somerset, England. St. Carantoc, a Welsh monk who lived in the sixth century, was honored with the construction of the first church in the settlement, located east of the current building housing the church. Most of the church was constructed during the Perpendicular period of the fifteenth century; however, it was substantially reconstructed in 1862 and 1863, followed by additional work in the tower erected in 1868 and 1870 to add a vestry and rebuild the church. In the past, there was a small tower on top of it that was tiled. With some of the monuments and bells that belonged to the earlier church, the church still has its original wooden pulpit and a painted wooden screen, dating back to approximately 1500. The church is located within the benefice of Dunster, Carhampton, Withycombe w Roduish, Timberscombe, and Wootton Courtenay, a component of both the Exmoor deanery and the Taunton archdeanery.

The St John The Baptist, Carhampton, reportedly has six bells on its building. Ringers down through the years have rung the bells to announce the beginning of church services and happy and sad events. In 1928, the original bells were brought down, and the metal from the old bells was used to build a new ring of six bells. The oldest of the original bells dates back to 1612 and was cast in a separate century by a different founder than the other bells. Gillett & Johnson of Croydon undertook the project and re-hung the bells in the existing two-tier frame using new fittings. The bells were re-dedicated on September 22nd, 1929, by the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells. A different inscription is engraved on each of the bells. When the bells were remade, most were copies taken from the originals.

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