Church closes after 150 years

PUBLISHED: 11:28 24 September 2007 | UPDATED: 11:39 24 May 2010

A CHURCH in Wedmore closed because only two people attended services. The doors of Wedmore Baptist Church in Grants Lane were closed to parishioners after

A CHURCH in Wedmore closed because only two people attended services. The doors of Wedmore Baptist Church in Grants Lane were closed to parishioners after 150 years and now trustees are getting together to decide the future of the prominent, historical building.Former church committee secretary Christine Horley said: "We had quite a few elderly members and unfortunately they passed on and fewer and fewer people were attending church."In the end the only people attending were me and another person. Nobody else bothered. Then the preacher became ill and there didn't seem much point in staying open."A lot of people go to Bagley Baptist Church as they have livelier services which attract the young people."The village has had a church on the site since the 1600s and the building that stands there now was opened on October 13, 1857.In years gone by the church held jumble sale events and ran a Sunday school, but slowly these lost their popularity and people stopped going. Christine said: "At one point the church was the talk of the village and the jumble sales were known as the best in Wedmore."Services were held by Rev Kenneth Allen but the church was originally opened by Rev Clark, of Cheddar, after he started a campaign to replace the building when the old church fell into disrepair. The church, which closed in March, cost just £380 to build, a large sum when labourers in the village were earning three shillings a week. Now its trustee, the West of England Baptist Trust Company, will have to sift through historical documents to see what it is allowed to do with the building.Spokesman Geoffrey Starling said: "Our legal team is looking through large old parchments. Sometimes there are special requirements in the deeds which we have to honour. It could be the case that the documents say we will not be allowed to use the church for anything else other than Baptist services."The trustees will meet next month to decide what to do, but obviously the parchment takes a long time to read, so they may not have the legal statements in time for the meeting, so the decision may be pushed back. Selling would be a last resort.

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