North Curry Parish Church is a distinguished and well-maintained place of worship on a commanding position overlooking Curry Moor. It stands within a sizeable churchyard that is much used by walkers and visitors. The church is open between 9am until dusk each day. Its setting is magnificent with a wide view from the churchyard over the moors that provide the affectionate nickname ‘ The Cathedral of the Moors’.
The building dates from 1300 or so and replaces an earlier church on the site. The first vicar that we know was Richard De Tregoz in 1234, although ‘Charter 15’ from the Wells Cathedral Archives dated 1199 refers to North Curry Church. Through the centuries it has been both modified and repaired with a major restoration being carried out in the 1880s under Oldrid Scott. Recent works have included partial repair programme to the exterior stonework. Internally the building is in good order and receives regular care and cleaning from local church members whose efforts are much appreciated by our visitors and worshippers. A six-monthly check and cleaning of the accessible parts of the building means that problems can be detected and may remedied before they have a chance to develop. An active Fabric Committee provides reports and advice to the PCC on technical matters to do with the structure.
The churchyard, just over two acres (or just under one hectare) in total, is in two parts, the lower ‘new’ part has been in use since 1952. The upper ‘old’ part has gravestones that are centuries old, and is visited from time to time by those who wish to trace their ancestry. To help them, a plan of the graves, complete with the names of the occupants, has been prepared and can be found in the church porch. The whole of the churchyard is carefully managed to preserve the natural flora and fauna of the area.
The octagonal tower supports 8 bells, most of which date from 1811, although it is evident there were bells here for a long time before then – records go back to 1586. Bells are rung for the main morning service every Sunday. The present clock was installed in 1895 (replacing others which have existed since the 1500’s) and has been recently overhauled and improved with an electric winding mechanism, paid for by a grant from a millennium fund-raising project.
The North Curry Parish Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials date from 1539 and are almost complete. There is some discontinuity at the time of the Puritan domination in the 1600’s.
The church has an electoral roll of around 120 and Sunday congregations average around fifty. There is regular use by the village school for services and class visits and the summer brings a number of visitors who are glad to find the open door. There are funerals and weddings at which the building is often filled to capacity and from time to time there are concerts by local amateur groups and occasional professional performers. The church is an important part of the village scene and life and is well supported by the wider community when it comes to the inevitable fund-raising.