March 2021 News

Lisa Overton, Secretary of the Friends of St Mary’s, provides our latest news round-up:

Welcome back, St Mary’s!

It is amazing how far the tower of the church is visible: our Carrek stonemasons commented on being able to see it right across the Sodbury Vale, from the M5, when it was shrouded in its scaffolding and white wrapping.

Now, it is settling happily back into the landscape, but it is well worth coming soon to see the excellent repair work that has been done:

  • new stone and mortar on the five bands of drip mouldings at each stage of the tower
  • careful repairs to the hunkypunks, gargoyles and crenellations at the top
photo of conservation team outside the church in rain
Carrek’s conservation work went on in all winter weathers

The work carried out by Carrek conservation is of the highest standard and the stonemasons have been so jolly, even when working in intense cold through this winter: we thank them and will miss them. Take a look at the Carrek Conservation website ( to learn about more of their remarkable projects.

And we must thank the brave scaffolders from Clarke who worked through snow, wind and rain to take down the mighty structure in the coldest weather, and kept smiling!


Along with the support of other donors and grant-giving bodies, this work has been achieved with a donation of £45,000 from the Friends of St Mary’s, raised over the last eight years, to the PCC who commissioned the project.


The Friends of St Mary’s, founded in 1980, exists to raise funds for the fabric and preservation of St Mary’s church, and is open to anyone to join (you don’t have to be a church-goer, though you would be very welcome!)

We have members from far afield who have particular affection for this special building and its history, and who value its place in the fabric of our village and community.

For details of membership, click here. 


At present we are unable to announce fundraising events for the Friends for 2021, but we have dates and activities in the pipeline and will reveal them as soon as Covid restrictions are lifted, and will put them on our website.


However we would appreciate some volunteers to help with a socially-distanced, open-air clean up of the churchyard from 10 am on Saturday 27th March. If you would like to help, please contact me – and bring trowels and rakes!


Due to lockdown, all services will be online this month, hosted on the Badminton Benefice’s YouTube account here.

7th – 10am – 3rd Sunday of Lent (from Didmarton)
14h – 10am – 4th Sunday of Lent/Mothering Sunday (from Leighterton)
21st – 10am – 5th Sunday of Lent (from Acton Turville)
28th – 10am – Palm Sunday (from Lasborough)

PLUS Midweek services on Zoom – every Wednesday at 9.30am
(Please contact the Vicar if you would like to attend)

(Photos © Lisa Overton 2021)

February 2021 News

Lisa Overton, Secretary of the Friends of St Mary’s, provides our latest news round-up:


We are at last seeing the church tower appearing from its strange white cladding and scaffolding and the excellent conservation done by Carrek of Bristol will be visible.


When Covid restrictions are lifted again, and spring is on its way, we hope to be able to gather to see all the improvements to the church, inside and out, which Colin’s photos show already. The new bells (should we call them ‘Applebells’?) are being tuned, the frame to hang them from prepared and before they are hoisted through the tower hatches, we hope the Bishop of Gloucester will come to bless them at a special service. So there is much to look forward to.


Many thanks to those kind supporters of hunkypunks and gargoyles who sent in donations for their conservation. We hope they will now be able to glare down on us and many future generations in Hawkesbury.


It’s that time of year again! We will be turning our attention to a good clear-up of the churchyard once the scaffolding comes down, and would appreciate some strong and energetic helpers when the time comes and Covid restrictions are eased. We need to clip and clear ivy, clean gulleys and gutters and weed paths. If you would like to help, please contact me.

With thanks to John Seager for allowing us to use his beautiful photograph of St Mary’s against the Milky Way, taken at three o’clock in the morning!


Due to lockdown, all services will be online this month, hosted on the Badminton Benefice’s YouTube account here.

6th – 10am – Presentation of Christ in the Temple (from Hawkesbury)
13th – 10am – Sunday before Lent (from Leighterton)
20th – 10am – 1st Sunday of Lent (from Oldbury)
27th – 10am – 2nd Sunday of Lent (from Badminton)

PLUS Midweek services on Zoom – every Wednesday at 9.30am
(Please contact the Vicar if you would like to attend)

A Hunky Punk Comes Home!

As part of the ongoing restoration works of the tower at St Mary’s Hawkesbury by specialist firm Carrek, this ancient hunky punk is seen here being returned to its original position.

Many years ago it had fallen to the ground, and fortunately some wise person stashed it away in the tower for safekeeping. It is good to see it restored to its rightful position at the top of the tower.

What’s a hunky punk?

It’s a grotesque Gothic carving similar to a gargoyle, but it’s purely for decorative purposes -unlike the gargoyle, which includes a water spout to direct rainwater away from the fabric of the building.