Shepton Beauchamp

In the heart of Cider Country

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November 2007 - Loved and Lost

Loved and Lost

Rev’d Geoff Wade

Children learn about death quite early in life, usually initially when a pet dies or perhaps when a grandparent “passes on”; sometimes they may lose a parent.

As a society we tend to keep death at a distance; the vast majority of people now die in hospitals, care homes or hospices (when the family may not be present); undertakers “take care” of the deceased’s body; solicitors take care of the Will; etc.

So for many people the death of a loved one involves quiet a lot of people and paperwork, and this often results in those who grieve having no obvious way to express their love and despair. Funeral services are supposed to allow some sign of emotion but generally mourners prefer to take the “stiff upper lip” approach.

However this is a relatively new way of behaving. Until quite recently most people died at home, perhaps even surrounded by their families and friends. The body would be washed and dressed by the women of the family and then laid in state in the parlour (in the towns and cities of the Midlands, this was the best room of the house, used on very rare occasions. Friends and family would come by to view the deceased and to pay there respects.

Then the coffin would be wheeled or carried through the streets to the nearest church for burial. In this situation the family were usually intimately involved at every stage and, because people died much younger than they do today, death was an ever present occurrence.

When I was a Hospice Chaplain, we decided that we wanted to give the bereaved a chance to mourn and remember, at a time after the funeral, when things were supposed to be “getting back to normal!” We believed that whilst close family still deeply and sometimes desperately, mourned the death of their loved one, their friends and more distant relations were getting on with life and so it appeared that the departed had been forgotten.

We thought that the grieving needed to be given an outlet, space to say out-loud “we haven’t forgotten you, we do remember and we still miss you”.

So we started having memorial services to which we invited the relatives back; we had a service of quiet and reflection; we read out their names; we all lit candles in their honour; we kept faith in their memory and love.

We plan to hold a service of this type at Shepton Church on Sunday 11th November at 5.00pm and everyone is invited; it is not just for Shepton villagers and it is not full of bells and incense! It is open to all and for everyone.

If someone you love has died (at any time not just recently) and you want to remember them, why not join us for half an hours quiet, reflection, prayer and memory, as we seek to honour and remember those whom we love, but see no more.

Fr Geoff

If you would like the name of your loved one read out during the service, please put their name on the list in Shepton Post Office or send it to the Vicar or use the private message box below.

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From the Registers

12th October 2007 Doreen Berry from Shepton Beauchamp

22nd September 2007 Joshua Gillard Dowlish Wake

14th October 2007 Harry Rowswell at Barrington

20th October 2007 Nancy Pattisson at Shepton Beauchamp

Life in the 1500’s

Here are some more facts about the 1500s…

The floors: only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt Poor”. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying “a thresh hold”.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old”.

What Love means – words from the mouth of babes

  • Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs. Chrissy - age 6
  • Love is what makes you smile when you're tired. Terri age 4
  • Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure the taste is OK. Danny - age 7

Friends of Manjushree Vidyapith

Friends of Manjushree Vidyapith school & orphanage Website:

Di Gallagher is at the school at the moment, so we hope that she will be able to give part 3 of her update in December’s Web.

The Parish of Dowlish Wake

Continuing our look at the “8 Parishes”

There has been a church on the same spot in Dowlish Wake since at least Saxon times, but the current building was put there by the Victorians who demolished the older structure but kept the tower. It stands in a dominant position overlooking the village and guarding the entrance to Dowlish from the north.

In common with a lot of ancient villages, the Church stands next-door to the Manor House. Inside the church there are Saxon stone artefacts from the old church at Moolham and there is a chapel dedicated to the Speke Family who have long associations with Dowlish and the surrounding villages.

Most prominent of this illustrious family was John Hanning Speke (1827 – 1864), an officer in the British Indian Army and an explorer who, along with Richard F Burton, discovered the source of the Nile. He is buried at Dowlish.

The village itself must be one of the prettiest in Somerset; it is the home of the famous and award-winning, Perry’s Cider; it has an artist’s studio and shop; and a well known pub, the New Inn. Some of the original village families remain one of which has four generations living in the village; but in common with all our parishes, the high price of housing means that getting onto the property ladder is very expensive.

There are a number of large and well-supported oganisations in Dowlish, amongst which is: the Church, Speke Hall, Festival Society, Playing Fields and Monday Croquette. These all thrive and provide a welcome focus for village life which is both fun and useful. Dowlish is well known for its sense of community spirit; it is a close knit village were the inhabitants look out for, and care about, each other.

The Church is much loved and supported by people of other religious denominations or none. The congregation genuinely seek to provide a place of quiet and reflection for everyone and religious services which might appeal to as wide a range of beliefs and needs as possible.

Whilst maintaining a Victorian building will never be easy, the Church Council works hard to raise money for the fabric and mission, and regularly raises separate funds for other charities (in the summer nearly £700 was raised for the Children’s Society).

The parish now includes the ancient benefice of Moolham, where the churchyard remains open; beautifully cared for and much loved. There was a church there until about the C16th, possibly made of wood. There are two traditions as to why the church disappeared but the churchyard remained. One has it that the church twice burned down and the parishioners thought this might be a sign, so they moved to the stone build Dowlish church. The other story is that when Moolham tried to rebuild their church, the folk from Ilminster kept stealing the building materials! I’ll say no more!!

2006 Expenditure:

  • Paid to the Diocese of Bath & Wells £7685
  • Vicar’s Expenses £828
  • Building Repairs £398
  • Graveyard Maintenance £644
  • Heat/Light/Insurance £1458
  • Misc Expenses £627
church/vicars_letters/november_2007.txt · Last modified: d/m/Y H:M (external edit)