From the Rector June 2011
Its Anniversary time. St Margaret’s in Chippenham is officially 900 years old this year. The history of Chippenham tells us that the church was built, well started anyway, in 1111, so it’s time to celebrate. Its varied history has seen a thatched roof, two major fires, restoration throughout the centuries, celebrated and famous people, as well as the rest of us, baptised, married and buried here and the building stands as a constant and continuing witness to God’s love for us all. And that is timeless.
So we are celebrating. The Chippenham Olympics are past us and gone, and what a brilliant day. Thanks to everyone who made it work so well, and involve so many in the village.
And then in early April a concert, to be followed by a further concert on July 2nd in church, an evening of light music and entertainment by the Abbot Consort from Bury St Edmunds, and then on Sunday July 17th we shall celebrate St Margaret’s Day, with a festival service in the morning at which our new Bishop of Ely, the Rt Rev’d Stephen Conway, will come and preside in church for us, with a great party afterwards. You’ll have to keep an eye out for that latter venue. All the churches in our group will be with us on that day, so we are praying for a grand event to mark this anniversary, important time will soon be on its way, so do join us.
The church is here for all, is supported entirely by voluntary contributions, and tells us of those lasting values of love, joy, peace, justice and mercy, sometimes only fleetingly seen on our world. St Margaret of Antioch, in whose name the church is dedicated, was a favourite of the Knights Hospitallers (founded in the early llth century) who had an important Preceptory here in Chippenham.
It marked for them the centre of England for hospitality and remained open for three centuries until the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. Hospitality is a value for which the village is still famed far and wide today. An Anniversary Card with details of the events marking this.