THE Revd Christopher Bryan, Priest-in-Charge of Sherston Magna, in Wiltshire, which includes — the Guinness Book of Records states — the smallest parish church in the country, has said that a dispute over which is the smallest “in-service” church in the UK is “a storm in a tea-cup”.
The church stands on the site of the now-vanished village of Bremilham, which disappeared from maps in the 1600s. It measures about 11 by ten feet, and contains a font, a piano, and four chairs. It is licensed for baptisms and funerals, but the only regular service held there is at Rogationtide.
“On Rogation Sunday,” Mr Bryan said, “around 70 people turn up each year for a wonderful celebration. The church is surrounded by farm buildings. But only the vicar and organist fit inside, and everyone else sits on the grass outside.”
The church had been used for many years for storing turkeys, until new owners, the Collinses, moved into the neighbouring farm in the 1950s. Bindy Collins and her family cleaned out the church, put in windows, mended the roof, and asked the Bishop to bless it. She is responsible for its upkeep.
Bremilham’s claim to be the smallest church, however, has been disputed by St Trillo’s, in Rhos on Sea, north Wales, which holds services each Friday for eight to ten people. Historians believe that the tiny stone church, which measures about 11 by eight feet, dates from the 17th or 16th century, although its origins go back much further.
Letters from those making the case for the title appeared last month in The Daily Telegraph. Mr Bryan said: “It may be that Bremilham is the smallest church in England, and St Trillo’s the smallest in Britain. It also depends on how you define a church. But it is all a bit of a storm in a teacup.”