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News & Updates

Here’s what we get up to at St Mary’s. Activities, news, notices – lots to interest and inform. You can also take a look at our weekly newsletter, the Today sheet (pdf) and current and past issues of our Together magazine.

Michael Portillo and the Great Railway Journeys ~ May 2012


On Tuesday, last week, we had some very special visitors. Michael Portillo and the film crew from the BBC’s “Great Railway Journeys” spent a morning with us.

For those who have seen the programme, Michael travels the country following an early travel guide written by Bradshaw. When Bradshaw came to Taunton, he was really impressed by our Church and wrote more on St. Mary’s than he did on some cites and cathedrals! Strangely he did not name it in the book and just gave the date when it was built (1508). Michael stood on the roof and felt the tower sway when the bells were rung. It is believed that this episode (and we feature in approximately half of it) will be broadcast in the first week of January on a Wednesday evening.  It will be very interesting to watch.

Rod Corke and Michael Portillo – May 22, 2012


Food Bank’s First Food Collection ~ May 2012


The first supermarket food collection to supply food for Taunton Foodbank will be held in ASDA, Creech Barrow Road on Saturday 26 May 2012 from 10am to 5pm.

Taunton Foodbank hopes to open its distribution centre at the United Reformed Church, Paul Street, Taunton on Friday 6 July 2012 from 12.00 noon until 2pm. The distribution centre will then be open for two hours on Mondays and Fridays each week.

Food parcels will be provided to those who are in need on the receipt of a voucher which has been issued by a front line agency.


The Bells of St Mary’s Project ~ May 2012


I am sure you would have glanced up many times and marvelled at the iconic architectural tower of St Mary’s church which in many respects symbolises Taunton as the county town of Somerset. The tower is, of course, the largest, tallest and most magnificent of any parish church in the South West of England or debatably the whole of the UK.

Having considered the towers architectural merits and marvelled at the building skills of our forbears, we perhaps need to recognise the purpose and function of this enormous structure which in simplistic terms is a housing in which Taunton’s most expensive musical instrument is installed, raised to an enormous height so that the sound of pealing bells could be heard across the length and breadth of the parish.

The musical instrument to which I refer is of course St Mary’s tune playing Carillon consisting of fifteen bells, the heaviest of which is one and a half tons, covering one and a half octaves with three semitones and sequenced via electro/pneumatic hammers to play a variety of tunes which I am sure have become well known to the local residents. Twelve of the bells serve a dual purpose and are hung in an enormous cast iron frame to enable them to be rung traditionally “full circle” and as such are the heaviest ring of twelve bells in Somerset.


Church Lighting ~ March 2012


We are reeling from the shock that the estimate for the current church lighting is £100,000. We are actively seeking ways of reducing this and looking into applying for grants. This figure is more than we have in reserve! We have no choice but to have it done. The current system is failing. Please pray about this.

Bishops’ Visitation ~ 10th May 2012


A big service is being planned for May 10th at St. Mary Magdalene’s. Usually Church Wardens are inducted to their office at the Archdeacons Visitation. This is held in a church in the Deanery. This year it will be a Bishops’ Visitation, involve the whole Archdeanery and the Suffragan and Diocesan bishops, and be held here.

We are expecting a full church and we have been asked to provide tea, coffee , cake and fruit. This is a mammoth task and Margaret Caddick is building a team to help deliver this. If you feel you could volunteer please see Margaret.