Sharing Stories of Church and Army

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Apr, 2019 05:40 PM

A new book that looks in detail at Wiltshire past and present shows life is often characterised as being about 'Church and Army.'

Sharing Stories of Church and Army

Lord Lt Sarah Rose Troughton, Devizes Deputy Mayor Judy Rose, Canon Gwyneth Evans, Fanny Charles and Gay Pirrie-Weir, Col Jamie Balls, Wiltshire Community Foundation's Rosemary Macdonald, High Sheriff of Wiltshire Mrs Nicky Alberry. Photo by Len Copland

'Deepest Wiltshire' tells stories of life, folklore, history, food, and craft, across the county and was published last week.

The writers, experienced journalists Fanny Charles and Gay Pirrie-Weir, toured the county inviting people to share what the county means to them, among them Bishop Nicholas.

Along the way they discovered that in many ways life in Wiltshire could be characterised as being about Church and Army.

The idea of 'Church' is conveyed through interviews with Bishop Nicholas, Maria Shepherdson who is Rector of the Upper Kennet benefice, and with a number of people who live in the Cathedral Close, as well as in short pieces about particularly interesting church buildings.

Maria shares her experience of addressing issues of hidden poverty in an area that is assumed to be well-off. Churches in the Benefice support foodbanks, provide sleeping bags and clothing for people who are homeless, as well as running an appeal each year to provide funds for people in crisis.

"When I came here I realised that there were two very different forms of rural poverty... There are old families who have lived here for generations but the new generation is never going to be able to buy or even rent here. There are also people who have been hit by the financial crisis – they are often hidden and struggling," she said.

Proceeds from the sale of 'Deepest Wiltshire' will be shared between Wiltshire Community Foundation, SSAFA Wiltshire, and Wiltshire Air Ambulance. The book costs £25 and is available from the Cathedral, Church House in Salisbury, as well as some independent bookshops and online at www.deepestbooks.com.

The book was launched in Devizes with the unveiling done by the Revd Canon Gwyneth Evans, one of the people who contributed to the section on life in the Cathedral Close.

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