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St Bartholomew's Church

Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church

The Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church, the Spiritual Home of the Fleet Air Arm is approximately 2 miles from the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

The Church is normally open to visitors from 1.30pm - 3.30pm, Monday - Thursday. However, if you are making a special visit it is advisable to call 01935 455257 or email navyyeo-chaplaincyshared@mod.uk 

Holy Communion every Sunday at 10.30am.

For details of other seasonal services (Lent, Easter, Christmas etc), events, concerts and news please visit the The Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church website www.faamc.co.uk

For information regarding baptism, confirmation, marriage, funerals or memorial services contact the Chaplains at:
The Chaplaincy, RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, BA22 8HT.
01935 455257
navyyeo-chaplaincyshared@mod.uk

 

Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church Cemetery Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church Cemetery

Brief History
The Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm at Yeovilton) has enjoyed a close friendship with the parish church of St. Bartholomew since 1940 with the commissioning of RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron). During 1940-42 fifteen victims of air accidents were buried in the churchyard before the opening of the Naval Cemetery on its southern boundary in 1942. In 1988, much of the church structure having become unsafe, it was made redundant. It was then that the often discussed idea of using St. Bartholomew's as the Anglican Church for RNAS Yeovilton was put into action. The Royal Navy seized the opportunity and bought the 'job-lot' for £1 in 1992. This triggered a series of national and international appeals to restore the church to its former glory under the guardianship of the newly formed Trustees. An Order in Council signed by the Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother formally sealed this process. St. Bart's, (as it has come to be affectionately known) passed from the local Diocese of Bath and Wells to assume the mantle of the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church - effectively a private church housing the Fleet Air Arm Roll of Honour and a fitting focal point for those lost in conflict and other events.  On 11 November 1993, after much restoration work, it was dedicated for use as such.  Its appeal is world-wide and many visitors are struck by the beauty and upkeep of the place. St. Bart's is primarily used for worship and this makes a profound difference between a living community and a dead monument.  Historically it might be argued that St. Bart's is the oldest of all military church buildings, having its roots in Saxon times.
For further history click here...

Nave and Chancel of Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church Nave and Chancel of Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church

In the Chancel: On the south side is a 14th century piscina with a compound drain supported by a grotesque figure. The carved heads on the north and south walls were probably used to support a Lenten veil. On the south side, in the now sealed priest’s door is a small oven with external chimney used for baking the communion bread. The coloured glass in the east window dates from the second half of the 15th century and shows the initials and insignia of Richard Swanne.

In the Nave: On the North wall can be seen the sealed upper and lower doors of a staircase giving access to the Rood Screen which once stood across the east end of the nave. The octagonal font by the North entrance is 15th Century. The wagon roof, restored in 1871 and again in 1992/3 retains some original richly carved bosses. The west window contains some coloured glass from the 15th century showing the arms of Bishop Beckyngton (1443-65). The west door is thought to be 16th century.

Outside: On the tower there are several gargoyle heads, a holy water stoup by the west door and an empty niche on the north side which probably housed a statue of the patron saint. On the north wall of the nave note the wall bulge to accommodate the rood screen staircase. On the east wall over the window is a carved head probably the Virgin Mary. On the south wall note the carved head accommodating the chimney for the bread oven, and in the south chapel wall the inset stones from the first Norman church.

 

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