The Church today
Christians have been meeting in Colerne's parish church for more than eight centuries and continue to do so.
Everyone is welcome as we join with the worldwide Church to offer worship, praise and thanksgiving to God.
Our 9.30am services use today's language (Common Worship), while 8.00am Holy Communion and 6.00pm Evensong use the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
On the third Sunday of the month at 9.30am we have a special service when families and children are particularly welcome - it's ok to make a noise!
On the first Sunday of the month we also welcome families to All Age Communion, which - as its title suggests - is designed to appeal to a wide congregation.
The Rejoice and Praise service (RAPS), at 6.00pm on the second Sunday of the month, is informal worship with music.
The Church of England
Our church belongs to the Bristol Diocese of the Church of England.
The Church of England is the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Communion comprises more than 85 million members in 44 regional and national member churches around the globe in more than 160 countries.
The Diocese of Bristol
The Church of England
The Anglican Communion
The Church building
A brief history
The existing building dates from 1190-95. However, fragments of a Saxon stone cross associated with the last journey of St Aldhem to his burial in Malmesbury in 709, were found in the wall of the Church when it was restored in 1877. Originally the church was a plain rectangular building, the area of the three eastward bays of the Nave only. About 1240, Walter, the third Baron, added the South Aisle and the Chancel and around 1280 the North Aisle and Lady Chapel were added, together with a clerestory - a series of windows below the roof to give light to the Nave.
In 1384, William of Wykeham granted to the Warden and Scholars of New College, Oxford, the Manors of Colerne and Sterte and the advowson of the Church of Colerne, an involvement which persists to this day in the college's patronage of the living. About 1450 a major extension took place. The North Aisle and Nave were lengthened westward and the tower built. After two and a half centuries the Church had grown to the size we know today, except for the vestry which was added in 1877.
But improvements haven't stopped there: in 1997 the organ was replaced and a new loft built to house the pipes and in 2015 the congregation and village raised £100,000 to install a new hospitality area, a toilet and some rather lovely glass porch doors.
The Church Registers go back to 1560 (though incomplete). The Churchwarden’s account books start from 1692. All but the current registers are now kept at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham, SN15 3QN.
The bells are a ring of eight and were once regarded as ‘the sweetest in Wiltshire’. The earliest bears the date 1652 and was used as a fire warning until 1916. Five further bells are of the 18th Century (the pub nearest the church is called the "Six Bells") and two more were added in 1877 when the whole peal was re-hung on an oak frame: the bells were again restored in 1996.
The clock was built in 1685, probably by the village blacksmith. It has only the hour hand, like that of Westminster Abbey. There are only a small number of similar one handed clocks in England. The clock was restored in 1959, and again in 1968. The most recent restoration of the clock was carried out in 2008, when the large stone weights were replaced by autowinding gear and the clock face was also replaced.
The Friends of Colerne Church
Major projects like the restoration of the bells and the clock are only possible because of the dedicated work of the Friends of Colerne Church. You can read more about the Friends here.