The Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church Brief History

St. Bartholomew’s Church RNAS Yeovilton

The Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm at Yeovilton) has enjoyed a close friendship with the parish church of St. Bartholomew considering the fact that 1940 with the commissioning of RNAS Yeovilton (HMS Heron). During 1940-42 fifteen victims of air injuries have been buried within the churchyard earlier than the hole of the Naval Cemetery on its southern boundary in 1942. In 1988, an awful lot of the church structure having come to be dangerous, it was made redundant. It become then that the frequently discussed concept of the usage of St. Bartholomew’s because the Anglican Church for RNAS Yeovilton turned into put into movement. The Royal Navy seized the possibility and purchased the ‘task-lot’ for ¬£1 in 1992. This triggered a sequence of country wide and international appeals to restore the church to its former glory beneath the guardianship of the newly fashioned Trustees.

An Order in Council signed through the Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother formally sealed this method. St. Bart’s, (because it has come to be affectionately acknowledged) exceeded from the nearby Diocese of Bath and Wells to anticipate the mantle of the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church – successfully a personal church housing the Fleet Air Arm Roll of Honour and a becoming focal point for those misplaced in struggle and different activities. On Martinmas 1993, after much recovery work, it turned into dedicated to be used as such. Its attraction is world-extensive and many traffic are struck by using the beauty and upkeep of the area. St. Bart’s is primarily used for worship and this makes a profound distinction between a dwelling network and a dead monument. Historically it might be argued that St. Bart’s is the oldest of all navy church buildings, having its roots in Saxon instances.

Like all historical buildings, the roots lie in deep history, however St. Bart’s has undergone a few major adjustments in its long life. In many approaches, it’s far an honest place, allowing the tourist to glimpse some of its historic historical past. Its trade of ownership has not most effective allowed the church to conform in a new manner, but has additionally enabled a completely crucial constructing to be stored which otherwise would had been misplaced. Sympathetically cared for, a few of the functions have been saved from destruction and overlook.

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The Saxon church on this web page became rebuilt by way of the Normans and the earliest tangible evidence of this Norman church, which became destroyed by way of fire, can nonetheless be seen; fragments of these in advance church buildings, turned red via the warmth of the fireplace, may be visible across the church walls with some pleasant examples of carved moulding set into the outside south chapel wall. The nave of the prevailing church changed into built in the overdue thirteenth century and the chancel inside the early 14th century with the tower being introduced in 1486 by using Richard Swanne, the Rector and also architect to Bishop Beckyngton. In 1872 the south wall was in large part rebuilt and the south sacristy (now the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Chapel) introduced. Medieval functions can still be seen which includes the fifteenth century octagonal font, the piscina showing a exceptional example of local carving, carved heads both facet of the Chancel wall and unique wooden bosses displayed on the wagon roof. The north porch consists of a water stoup and two lighting fixtures; the single mild probable fashioned a part of the Norman church whilst the double mild is of Saxon origin. St Bart’s has a rarely seen stone altar and bread oven with outside chimney; many churches had their stone altars destroyed after the reformation but this one was cautiously hidden away for almost five hundred years.

The Royal Navy bears the responsibility of repair beneath the rent, and in go back enjoys a lease-free church. The Trustees are very pleased with their achievements and inspire as many humans as viable to return and spot for themselves. With this in mind, a Custodian is hired to welcome our site visitors, hold the Fleet Air Arm memorial books and also to preserve a completely firm hand at the country of the building. We are surely greater lucky than most, in that upkeep are finished effectively and efficaciously. St. Bart’s has captured the imagination of many and it remains a gem of a place. For the bereaved it is an area of cognizance, for the Fleet Air Arm it’s far the area to have a good time baptisms, weddings and funerals but extra than that, it has an top notch feel of the Holy and that’s what draws such a lot of human beings again.

The act of maintenance is to stability the needs of a contemporary community with a sympathetic eye to the unique imaginative and prescient of the medieval developers. Every age need to make contributions something if the building is to be alive and active and used for the reason for which it become designed. An inspired addition to St. Bart’s has been the inclusion of a stained glass window manufactured from quality English glass for the east light, changing some dreary a hundred 12 months vintage over-leaded home windows, missing in color or imagination. The Chancel is now full of a blaze of coloured mild that the medieval developers would have understood. This new window, created by way of neighborhood craftsman, John Yeo to have fun the Millennium, is known as ‘Resurrection Light.’

The fundamental changes made at some point of the preliminary renovations in 1992 were the removal of a transient plastic chancel screen, the antique organ and pulpit, repositioning of the font, the conversion of the south sacristy into the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Chapel and the availability of a brand new sacristy and bell ringing platform within the base of the tower. At the the front of this platform is a display screen bearing  glass engravings through Captain Chester Read supplied by the Telegraphists and Air Gunners Association and the HMS Victorious Reunion (1941-1945) Association.

The Memorial Chapel houses the Fleet Air Arm Roll of Honour listing all those who have died serving in or with the Fleet Air Arm. The Roll became devoted on November 10 1995. The Chapel is lit via a stained glass window given by HMS Daedalus to commemorate the determination of the church and consists of the crests of the Royal Naval Air Stations in commission at that time. The chapel is enclosed by using an all rightand glass display offered by using the New Zealand Fleet Air Arm Association. Its New Zealand crest was also engraved via Captain Chester Read.

Other foremost donations encompass the chandeliers and porch gates made at HMS Daedalus, the communion table and different wood fixtures made domestically, the embroidered kneelers, the timber gate at the street and the stone move of the Naval Chaplaincy Service atop the porch. Funds for the preservation venture were raised by means of donations from many sources such as individuals and the diverse Associations who’ve hyperlinks with St. Bartholomew’s. Later the same year the church commissioned a stone statue of our consumer Saint, Bartholomew, and this changed into mounted in its original inverted area of interest at the bottom of the tower. Also in 2001, the font become relined via type donation of the Eastbourne Fleet Air Arm Association in reminiscence of Major Cheesman. Details of all donations to the church are indexed in the Book of Benefactors, displayed in the Memorial Chapel.

St. Bart’s is one of the few navy churches to residence a totally great ring of six bells. The Treble bell, the modern day, turned into a present in 1993 from the Royal Naval Guild of Bellringers; the second one, from Roger Perdue of Closworth in 1628; the third of John Kingston of Bridgwater in 1820; the fourth made in Exeter is the oldest of 1435. Robert Wiseman is cited on the fifth in 1591 and the tenor was made by means of Petter’s of Yeovil in 1872. Petter founded a heavy business plant, which in the end have become Westlands, and sooner or later GKN Westland. The fourth bell, referred to as the Maria bell, bears the inscription ‘Protege Virgo Pia Quos Convoco Sancta Maria’ – ‘Holy Mary blessed Virgin, shield the ones whom I summon.’

It isn’t unusual to look a microcosm of church history inside the bells, for while they may be noisy for some, their element stays a thriller in a tower locked away for loads of years. St. Bart’s is not any exception. The bells and tower, which had been designed to permit the sound to hold across the fields, noticed some poor advice given in the 1990’s through a country wide heritage guide. To keep rotting beams, the bell frame was decreased with the aid of some 20 toes, and the sound has misplaced maximum of its medieval glory. Needless to say it’d now be highly-priced to repair the original vision. Improvements to the ringing chamber in 2000 covered removal of the antique ladder get admission to and commencing up a doorway onto the turret stairs.

The steps from the pavement to the porch have been eliminated and a new direction and maintaining wall had been laid. In 2001 an extension to the Naval Cemetery was bought with the aid of the Ministry of Defence, and landscaped thru the generosity of Sir Donald Gosling. The stone wayside shrine and armillary sphere have been delivered in 2002 by means of non-public donation. The vintage Queen’s Colour is laid up within the Memorial Chapel and inside the Chancel there are several memorial plaques, inclusive of one for the ones lost within the Falklands marketing campaign. At the rear of the Nave, in the front of the organ, is the memorial to the Palembang nine who died in Japanese hands in World War II.

During 2002 a brand new sanctuary lamp and baptismal ewer had been provided to the church by means of former participants of 809 and 835 NAS, respectively. Then on September 4th of the equal yr, the FAA Association’s vintage Colour turned into laid up inside the memorial chapel.

In 2009, to mark the one hundredth anniversary of Naval flying, a plaque devoted to the 4 winners of the Naval Aviation Victoria Cross turned into placed inside the Nave. Also a brand new chancel ground crafted from nearby Blue Lias stone become laid and the medieval stone altar, which have been preserved under the chancel floor, become restored to its rightful region.

Flying above the tower are the regular reminders of a hectic air station and like a beacon, the church calls people domestic, often from risky missions. The Royal Naval cemetery, fantastically maintained via HMS Heron and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, are a poignant reminder of what St. Bart’s is all approximately – commemorating the proud records of the men and women of the Fleet Air Arm.

I am employed because the Custodian of the Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church at RNAS Yeovilton. Known as St Bart’s, the church is open to visitors Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons from 1330 to 1545. Please visit the website for greater data: [http://faamc.Co.Uk

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