The Ilchester District Churches make up the Benefice of Ilchester with Northover, Limington, and Yeovilton with Podimire. We are some 6 miles north of Yeovil in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. The villages circle HMS Heron, the Royal Navy Air Station at Yeovilton.
Ilchester has along history. Not only is it the ancient Roman town of Lindiniae, but earlier evidence of an important Iron Age site has been found. St. Mary Major Church is the last of 7 churches and chapels that once existed in the town. It has a 13th Century tower with a ring of five bells, a Jacobean pulpit with rich carving and behind the pulpit there are fragments of 12th Century wall painting. The town still has pubs and a few business, a large Primary school and several active childrens' groups.
Limington is a small attractive village of just 94 dwellings and incorporates the hamlet of Draycott. St. Mary’s Church is Grade I listed, with a tower arch of the 13th Century and footings of Norman origin. There may have been a small Saxon church on the site. Many interesting features include the Chantry chapel, built in the 1320s of local hamstone with a unique stone ceiling and roof. A previous Rector was Thomas Wolsey, appointed in 1500, later to become Cardinal Wolsey.
In 1988 St Bartholomew’s Church, Yeovilton was in such a poor state of repair that it was declared redundant and closed as a parish church. In 1993 St. Bartholomew’s was sold to a Trust and became the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church. The church is ministered to by Royal Naval Chaplains and their congregation extend a very warm welcome to all comers at their services.
St Peter’s Church is today the parish church for both Podimore and Yeovilton villages. It is described as a ‘little gem’ from the 13th C which has never been spoilt by over-restoration. It has many interesting features and retains a beautiful simplicity and is much loved and well maintained by the villagers. The tower was carefully restored in 2016 thanks in no small part to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Sunday attendances may be small but come the Christmas village carols and the church is filled with over 150 villagers.
Rev Bruce Faulkner
Jim Green Ilchester warden