Saintbury Church sits half-way up the scarp slope of the Cotswolds, overlooking the Vale of Evesham. It is a prominent landmark, its spire marking it out very clearly. It is an ancient building with an amazing
peace; an atmosphere found only rarely. It is very reminiscent of the statement somebody made about Broadway Old Church:
If God's anywhere, He's surely here.
Gloucester Diocese rendered Saintbury Church redundant in 2008. The last Service there was held on Sunday September 21st 2008 and the bells were rung. The Church has an excellent ring of 8 bells, the recent history of which is a good story in itself. Nothing seems to have happened since the last Service. The Churches Conservation Trust (the charity that exists to maintain redundant churches as churches) was rumoured to be taking over the building, but that hasn't happened yet. Robert Chadburn asked the Vicar about the current position and this is what Robert reports:-
"I've been in touch with the Vicar, who says there has been no change of ownership as at the present time. There are apparently some "big meetings" taking place this year, which should decide its fate. While the hope and expectation is that it will be taken over by the Churches Conservation Trust there may be some requirements for some "local funding" in order for this to happen (I'm not sure what "local funding" means). All being well, the change-over should occur during 2010.
Meanwhile the bells are ringable, visiting bands do ring there from time to time, though nothing has been done by a local band since the end of 2008. It may be high time to organise something, say a quarter or even a peal, so that the bells' presence remains felt."
Robert Hall provided photos of the ringers at the last Service. They were: Robert, Sarah and Jenny Chadburn, David and Jane Hammond, Doug Bott, Phyllis Brazier, George Osborn, Peter McFadzeen, Mark Newbury, Mike Fairfax and Robert Hall.
We must hope the intended transfer to the CCT is concluded successfully, as this will give the church long-term security; and of course the bells, too. Perhaps the bells should be rung more often, just to tell everyone they are still there and fully ringable. (Saintbury is on the Saturday night practice list: 19th June.) Ed