One Family Parish
The Martyrs
The English Martyrs (Presbytery) 2 East Street, Chard, Somerset, TA20 1EP
The English Martyrs, St Joseph’s and St Peter’s

Parish of The English Martyrs

One Family Parish
Celebrating Our Centenary 2019
The Foundation Stone The   foundation   stone   of   the   present   church   of   the   English   Martyrs   was   laid   by   Canon   Lee   on   the   24th   September 1925.   The   completed   church   was   opened   and   solemly   blessed   less   than   a   year   later,   by   Bishop   Burton   on   the   feast of   St   Alban,   the   first   of   all   the   English   Martyrs,   22nd   June   1926.   From   that   date   Chard   became   a   parish   in   it's   own right,   having   been   until   then   a   part   of   the   Taunton   Parish   of   St   George. A   High   Mass   was   celebrated   on   that   occasion by   by   Canon   Cashman,   with   the   (later   to   become)   Rt   Rev   Mgr   Provost   Lles   later   preached   at   the   opening   of   St Joseph's   in   Ilminster   (22nd April   1953)   which   along   with   St   Peter's   in   Crewkerne   (opened   1935),   is   a   daughter   church of the Chard Parish. The Church and High Altar were consecrated on 27th September, 1966  by the Right Reverand Joseph E. Rudderham, Bishop of Clifton. His Deacon on that occasion was the Right Rev. Fr Mervyn Alexander DD then Chaplain at the University of Bristol, and later to become the Bishop of Clifton. The fallowing New Rite of Consecration of a Church was used. On   the   eve   of   the   Consecration   Day.   Relics   of   the   Martyrs,   which   are   to   be   enclosed   in   the   high   altar   are   sealed   by the   Bishop   in   a   reliquary,   together   with   incense   grains   and   an   attestation.   This   Reliquary   is   paced   in   a   special   chapel and   Matins   of   Martyrs   are   said   there.   On   the   Consecration   Day   the   church   doors   are   closed   and   and   the   church   itself empty   of   worshippers.   The   Bishop   vests   and   begins   the   ceremony   by   going   round   the   outside   of   the   building   and sprinkling   the   walls   with   Gregorian   Water.   This   Is   a   mixture   of   water,   salt,   ashes   and   wine   specially   blessed   for   the occasion.   When   he   reaches   the   main   door,   the   Bishop   knocks   with   his   pastoral   staff   and   asks   to   be   admitted.   The procession makes its way into the church, and the Bishop, clergy and people enter, the Litany of Saints is chanted.   The   names   of   the   Saints   in   whose   honour   the   church   is   dedicated,   and   of   the   Martyrs   whose   relics   are   to   be   placed in   the   altar   are   added   to   the   Litany,   The   Bishop   next   makes   a   ccircuit   of   the   inside   of   the   church,   sprinkling   its   walls with   Gregorian   Water   and   praying   that   God   will   hallow   it.   He   moves   round   the   high   altar   and   sprinkles   that   to   and traces   five   crosses   on   it   with   the   water.   Meanwhile   a   cross   some   nine   feet   long   is   prepared   in   ashes   in   front   of   the altar   rails.   On   this   the   Bishop   traces   first   the   Greek   and   then   the   Latin   alphabet   and   prays   that   this   church   may   truly be   the   house   of   God.   This   is   the   Act   of   Dedication.   The   Relics   of   the   Martyrs   are   now   borne   into   the   church   in procession   and   carried   to   the   sanctuary.   They   are   placed   in   the   cavity   prepared   in   the   centre   of   the   high   altar   and sealed   over   with   a   covering   of   stone   and   cement. The   Bishop   prays   that   we   we   may   be   helped   by   the   merits   of   these Martyrs. Twelve   crosses   carved   in   stone   have   already   been   placed   in   the   inside   walls   of   the   church. The   Bishop   goes to   each   of   these   and   anoints   it   with   the   holy   oil   of   Chrism.   He   also   anoints   the   jambs   of   the   main   door.   the   high   altar is   also   anointed   with   Chrism   at   the   corners   and   in   the   centre   and   on   the   joints   and   front.   Carved   crosses   mark   these anointings   and   on   them   are   placed   incense   and   wax   tapers.   These   are   lit   and   burn   the   incense,   a   symbol   of   prayer. The   Holy   Spirit   is   invoked   to   enkindle   his   love   in   our   hearts.   The   altar   is   cleansed   and   made   ready   for   the   solemn Mass of Dedication that follows immediately. This sets  the seal on the ceremony of consecration. This   day   will   be   remembered   each   year   and   celebrated   as   a   Feast,   so   that   generations   yet   unborn   will   come   on   this day and remember those who have struggled to build this church and give it to God. The above is taken from our Parish History, published by the late Len Bill 1995 and is available from a link on our Documents page