St Michael and All Angels, Wayford

Welcome to the Parish church of Wayford.

We have services on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month and on the 5th Sunday join together for Benefice services.  For details click on the services click  on the homepage.

A short history of Wayford Church

The village of Wayford, inconspicuous on the hillside looking over the Axe Valley, has escaped the mainstream of English history. The first historical evidence of its existence is not until 1206, when it appears in the Curia Regia (or King’s Court) rolls as “Waiford”, though it probably existed when the Doomsday Book was compiled, but was reckoned as part of Crewkerne and  not mentioned.

The lancet windows suggest the 13th century as the date of the church. The octagonal font is 14th  century.

There are three marks by the door which are said to have been made by returning Crusader Knights.

The double piscine in the sanctuary is unusual. In the wooden turret, originally painted white, hang two bells. The chancel collapsed in 1846 and had to be rebuilt and in 1795 fire destroyed part of the vestry and east wall. The church was restored in 1902 by Mr Ingham Baker, who had recently come to live at the Manor and who added the north aisle, taking particular care to see that the new walls and supporting pillars were in keeping with the age of the building.

In the porch is a scratch dial, used before there were clocks to indicate the times of the services, but rendered useless when the porch was added in 1602. A gallery at the west end (the blocked windows can still be seen outside) was removed because, it was said, the children who  used it made such a noise!

Next to the church is the Old Tudor Manor of Wayford. The small building overlooking the churchyard was built as a priest’s house when Wayford was a chapel of Crewkerne. The first incumbent wasJohn de Offale, Rector in 1339. Near the north door is a complete list of incumbents up to the time when the Vicar of Crewkerne became Rector of Wayford in 1971.

Records show that in 1791 the parish consisted of the three tithings of Wayford, Oathill and Combe and that John Pinney of Broadwindsor was patron. He was related to Azariah Pinney of Bettiscombe who died in 1760 and whose “daily benefactions and universal benevolence to the poor” are commemorated on a tablet in the chancel. A second monument on the south wall records John Fredrick Pinney, died 1762, also of Bettiscomb and Member of Parliament for Bridport, as a man of “flowing courtesy to all men” and is worth reading.

Burials took place in the churchyard in Crewkerne until 1718 when the first recorded burial, that of Abigail Lumbard, took place in the churchyard here. Some years ago, coffins were discovered in a vault (now closed) under the church. The remains of steps can be seen outside near the porch.

The Manor was once the seat of the Daubney family, well known in the annals of the West Country, claiming descent from the standard bearer of William the Conqueror, William de Albini. Dr. Daubeney Turbeville, an eminent ocularist who died in 1696, left a charity of £5 per annum to be given to “such poor as did not receive alms” and another benefactor, Mrs Elizabeth Bragg, in 1791 bequeathed 50shillings annually “for the schooling of poor children in the parish”. Both charities are recorded on a board in the vestry and are still administered by the “Minister and churchwardens”.

The Baker family was responsible for the famous collection of rare rhododendrons and camellias in Wayford Woods, a few hundred yards further on through the village and open to the public.

Before you leave, say a prayer for yourself and for the people of this parish.

Offerings placed in the alms box help towards the church’s upkeep.

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