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Christ Church

We are part of the Ledbury Team Ministry, our Vicar, Howard Mayell looks after other churches in the Cider Group.

Services are held every Sunday at 9.30am except for a fifth Sunday when a group service is held in one of our churches.

Morning prayers every Wednesday at 9.30am

The last Thursday of the month, we hold a Curious Blend Coffee Morning in the Village Memorial Hall between 10 & 12 am.

Details of all Church services and other events can be found in the parish events calendar and are shown in green.

Useful Numbers:

Team Vicar Rev Howard Mayell 27 Hazle Close, Ledbury 631530
Church Wardens Marion Jones Squires Mount, The Common 632563

Hugh Ransome-Williams Roseleigh, Floyd's Lane 633835
PCC Secretary Amanda Wright The Haven, Horse Road 633325
Treasurer Marilyn Gilmore
Jesmond, Horse Road
Friends of Christ Church Brian Speakman

Kathy Darwood

The church and cemetery is maintained by volunteers. We would welcome more helpers especially for the cemetery which has wonderful views to the west and a wildlife meadow founded by the late Peter Garnett.

Please contact Hugh Ransome-Williams (Church Warden) On 637316.

A History of Christ Church, Wellington Heath

Although there has been a settlement in Wellington Heath from the early Middle Ages there was no established church until the mid 19th century. Until then villagers had to walk to Ledbury or Coddington for any religious ceremonies.

By Victorian times the village had grown and had a reputation for fighting and drunkenness. Outsiders referred to the village, as ‘Hell on Earth’ and ‘Monkey Island’. This may be why a church and school were seen as a necessity by the chief landowner in the village, Thomas Heywood, who resided at Hope End Estate, (the former home of Edward Barrett, father of Elizabeth Barrett- Browning). There were also complaints from villagers about the distance they had to travel to attend church in Ledbury – especially in bad weather. The church was opened in 1841.

It was situated on a hill, not screened by trees, as it is today and it could be seen for miles around. It was described as a ‘ponderous, lofty barn’ and considered by some as the ugliest church in Herefordshire. The church cost £1000 and the parsonage £1200 with an annual endowment of £800. The 1851 census states that the average congregation was 100.

The original Church

In Wellington Heath the greatest influence on the church in the early years was the Rev. Frederick Salter Stooke-Vaughan. He became minister in 1871 and remained for 52 years, retiring in 1923 aged 78. He oversaw the extension of the church to accommodate the growing population. In 1878 transepts were added and a triple arched screen was erected. The cost of these extensions was £758. The extended church could seat 230 people. A new organ and turret were built and in 1899 a vestry was added, at a cost of £150

On 13th May 1944 a major disaster occurred, when a fire broke out, following repair work in the roof. Despite valiant efforts, the shortage of available water led to the collapse of the roof and the destruction of much of the interior. However the font did survive. It was not until some years after the war that the then vicar, the Rev. E. Henson, was able to attract sufficient funds to build a new church. It was to be a very different building that arose from the ashes of the fire of 1944. The new church took in the old north and south transepts and placed the altar in the north, whereas churches traditionally have the altar in the east. The seating capacity was reduced to around 70. The estimated cost was £2500; however, the eventual cost was over £7000. The church was completed in 1952 and dedicated by the Bishop of Hereford on 4th April that year.

An image of the church today is displayed at the top of this page. It is always open to visitors you are welcome to view the building, relax, sit and escape for a short while, from the pressures of everyday life.
Richard Lee-Buxton,
15 Aug 2014, 00:16