Shepton Mallet Benefice Churches
To know Jesus and to make Him known
The town is situated 19 miles south of Bath, 5 miles from Wells, and lies on the south side of the Mendip Hills. It has good road connections to Bristol and Yeovil as well as other nearby towns. The nearest mainline railway station is 8 miles away at Castle Cary.
Shepton Mallet is a small rural town and civil parish in the Mendip District of Somerset; the Mendip Hills lie to the north. Shepton lies on the route of the Fosse Way, the principal Roman road into the south west of England. In medieval times, the wool trade was important to the town's economy, although this declined in the 18th century to be replaced by other industries such as brewing; the town continues to be a major centre for the production of cider.
Current population is around 10,400 including distinct communities from Portugal and Eastern Europe. There has been considerable recent investment in the town and there is an air of optimism about its future.
The Parish Church of Shepton Mallet has existed on its present site for more than a thousand years, developing from simple origins to the present fine building. Originally Saxon it has been enhanced with Medieval and Victorian changes. Of particular note are the wagon roof dating back to 1450 and the pulpit, dated 1550, carved out of one piece of Doulting stone. In 2000, a fine stained glass window commemorating the Millennium was installed.
The church is a light and airy building, with a large stained glass window on its west front. It can seat more than 450 people mainly in solid oak pews, some of which have been removed in recent years to allow easier access to the children's and prayer corners.
A project to restore the eight bells, clock and tower chambers was completed in 2008 and nave floodlighting has just been installed to illuminate the famous carvings of the wagon roof.
The church stands in a closed churchyard, however on the east side is a recently extended and refurbished garden of remembrance for the interment of cremated remains.
The church is recorded in Simon Jenkins' book England's Thousand Best Churches.