Welcome to the website for The Parish Church of St Mary The Virgin, Charlcombe, or St Mary’s for short. We are part of a United Benefice with St Stephen's, Lansdown.
Many people discover the delightful country church of St Mary’s by accident, but there is a map available for you via this link! The church is not visible from the road but comes into view as you walk up its drive, or wander through the quiet garden in front of it. Others chance upon St Mary’s whilst on a country ramble as it’s on a footpath close to Charlcombe Lane. For some it is simply ‘close to home’ being only 15 minutes walk from Larkhall, Richmond, Lansdown and Upper Camden.
You are always most welcome. In the tradition of monastic hospitality, inside you will find shelter and refreshment, silence and space, that have been a thousand years in the making. The church’s seclusion and great age add to the wonderful sense of peace and stillness – there is very often someone visiting either sitting quietly in the church, strumming a guitar in the garden or sunning themselves on a garden bench looking across the combe.
The congregation is vital and active, full of experience and generosity. Many of us walk to church hastened on by the bell ringing for 10 minutes before the start. By some standards we are not ‘high church’ but on Sunday mornings we use incense when possible and the clergy wear their robes and collars. Members of the congregation read the lessons and others lead the prayers of intercession. Behind the scenes many people do their bit in unsung ways, such as gardening, flower arranging, cleaning, administration and opening and closing the church each day.
Charlcombe is quite a dispersed parish and yet there is a lot of getting-together during the week and looking out for one another and for those in need of the food bank we support. We are generously supported by our ‘Friends‘ organisation and the church and its garden also provide a centre for the community as a whole. The facilities may be modest, in keeping with the age of the place, but when we need it, we also have the well-equipped hall of our partner church, St Stephen’s, Lansdown, the one with the colourfully illuminated tower at night.
Do feel that you can come and rest for a while and let the peace and kindness of God be in your heart and your home. The deep and rich history of St Mary’s, the oldest ecclesiastical building in Bath, dates back to 675 A.D - you can read about it on our history page, which includes an illustrated guidebook about the church.
Our services happen in church and on YouTube. Presently, the service online is available from 8am on Sundays and the service in church begins at 9am – if you were to miss that then the same clergy will be leading worship at St Stephen’s Church from 10.45!
Finally very many have found this to be a beautiful setting for a marriage ceremony, christening or funeral. Please contact the Church Office (details below).
We hope to see you soon!
Liz Thorne, Neil Latham,