St James the Great
This Church is a Festival Church and holds occasional services throughout the year.
Ocle Pychard is a community of 200 people. The church has an electoral roll of 30. Our biggest mission challenge is our ageing congregation. We only have one Churchwarden: sadly our other longstanding Churchwarden died in the summer of 2011 after being a member of the PCC for almost forty years and Churchwarden for almost as long. Over the last eighteen months we have lost three of our valued congregation who were also long serving PCC members.
Although we do not have any children regularly attending church, the local Guide company attended our 2011 Remembrance Day service. The Cubs took part in our Carol service in December. We want to welcome young families into our church again.
We are determined to maintain a pattern of services at St James. We have one Holy Communion services each month on the first Sunday and on the third Sunday we have Evensong We find it a struggle to pay our parish share but have always managed to do so thanks to our fund raising activities. These activities bring in money, and also strengthen our links with the community. Each month there is a whist drive held in Burley Gate Village Hall. We hold a quiz evening each year. In July, our Patronal Festival is held in and around the church. It involves cream teas and stalls in the afternoon, and a Songs of Praise service in the evening. Last year we also held two concerts in church and a fashion show at another venue. We try to use the church for activities other than services to encourage people to visit it.
Our beautiful church building, in its tranquil setting, is the most westerly of the churches in the Frome Valley Group. The original church may have been built in the latter part of the 12th century; its traces remain as the eastern part of the nave. The chancel and tower base are 14th century. The church was considerably restored in the 19th century. We are preparing for a renovation project including redecoration of the church, electrical work and new lighting.
This small but attractive church is medieval but of uncertain date, although thought to be around 13th or 14th century. Victorian alterations are evident but traces of the original features can be found, such as the doorway high up in the wall above the pulpit which would have led to the former rood loft across the chancel arch.
The tower is built half inside the nave and half out and is crowned by a copper covered spire, now a striking green in colour.