The Church of St Mary Magdalene, Melchbourne is a unique, Grade 1 listed church. It was originally built in the 12th century and was under the control of the Knights of St John, for whom Melchbourne was an important centre, until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540.
The church was rebuilt in the Georgian style in the 1770s when the north and south aisles were added, the roof raised and the interior plastered. Traces of the original church can still be seen on the exterior of the chancel.
Today the church remains an integral and valued part of the village. There are regular Sunday and midweek services and major festivals like Easter, Christmas, Harvest and Remembrance are all well supported.
The church is open to everybody and is used for a variety of events including christenings, weddings and funerals. All are welcome and if you would like to visit or want more information please contact a member of the Parochial Church Council (“PCC”) whose details are listed overleaf.
The ordinary running costs and maintenance of the church are paid for entirely by the village community. This is through a combination of fund-raising events (often held jointly with the Village Hall Committee) and individual donations. No money is received from the Church of England - not even the collections taken at services.
As many villagers give of their knowledge, skills and time, running costs are kept to a minimum and the typical annual spend is of the order of £3,800 comprising:
Roof alarm £800
Electricity & gas £200
Guttering & roof work £350
Architects fees £300
Safety inspections £150
General repairs £500
More significant maintenance is paid for through special fund raising. The PCC are very dependent on, and grateful for, donations from grant-giving bodies and individual donors.
The Stodden Churches comprise six parishes: Dean, Melchbourne, Pertenhall, Shelton, Swineshead and Yelden. Stodden is part of the diocese of St Albans in the Church of England.
Stodden has a single Rector, Stephen Holroyd, and he is supported by a joint parochial church council (“JPCC”) which is formed with representatives from each village. Together they are responsible for worship, ministry and mission in all the six villages.
Each village church within Stodden retains its own churchwardens and parochial church council (“PCC”) and they are responsible for looking after its church building. Each PCC is constituted as a charity with the PCC members as trustees.
Both the JPCC and the PCCs hold annual meetings and produce accounts. All residents are entitled to attend and vote at the meeting to elect the churchwardens. Details are displayed on church notice boards and more information is available on the Stodden website.