Saint Peter's Church, Devizes

Welcome to the website for the St. Peter's Church in Devizes, Wiltshire.
We are a Forward in Faith Church in the Anglican Diocese of Salisbury.  Episcopal oversight is given by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet. We are active members of Churches Together in Devizes (formerly the Devizes Partnership of Churches).  We support the Prayer Book Society in its promoting the use of the traditional Book of Common Prayer.

Firmly established in the Catholic tradition of the Church of England, St Peter's Church has witnessed to the Christian faith and served the people of the Devizes area since 1866. The church is in the town's western outskirts on the Bath Road, near the famous Caen Hill Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal.





 Service / Event
Sunday  ,                21 August
Trinity 13
 8:00 am St Peter's  Low Mass (BCP)
10:00 am St Peter's  Sung Mass
 3:30 pm St Peter's  Family Service
Wednesday ,          24 August
St. Bartholomew, Apostle
  7:00 pm     St Peter's Low Mass
Saturday  ,             27 August
St. Monica
   5:00 pm St Peter's  Evening Prayer (BCP)
Sunday  ,                28 August
Trinity 14
 8:00 am St Peter's  Low Mass (BCP)
10:00 am St Peter's  Sung Mass


To arrange Baptisms or Marriages, please contact Fr. Vincent Perricone (501481)


Advance Notices  

Devizes Foodbank Requests Volunteer Support  

 Peter Brearley has approached Churches Together in Devizes to seek volunteer support for the posts listed below.
The Devizes Foodbank is a Christian charity and part of the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network. It works with supporters and beneficiaries regardless of their faith or lack of faith. As a result of the growth in its activities throughout the Kennet area and the retirement of some long-standing volunteers it is now seeking people for the following roles:

•Trustees to join the Board of Trustees to provide strategic direction and use their skills and knowledge to ensure that it meets its responsibilities as it seeks to expand its operations. They will have a desire to help people in crisis through dealing with food poverty. People with communication/IT skills and experience in fund-raising activities will be particularly welcome.

•Volunteer Administrators. Ideally they will have a knowledge of using spreadsheets and simple databases. Training will be provided.

Anyone wanting more information or considering the above position(s) should contact Peter Brearley (Chair of Trustees) on 01380 738070 or at


Sunday 21 August to Sunday 28  The Edington Festival of Music within the Liturgy.  Details of this year's programme of music can now be found at

Monday 5th September 7:00pm At At Edington Priory Church
Licensing of The Rev’d. Andrew Sinclair
As Rector of Bratton, Edington & Imber, Erlestoke and Coulston

Wednesday 7th September 10:00am - 4:00pm At Edington Priory Church (BA13 4QJ) The Big Sing
Do join us for this most enjoyable, fun day of learningGospel Singingwith Jo Sercombe. Those who have attended one of Jo’s workshops before will know how engaging this day will be. It focuses the mind, and you forget everything else - an excellent ‘wellbeing’ event! Please book online or contact me:
The Revd Tina Draycott, email:
Tel: 01722 411944 Mob. 07747 033585 Fax: 01722 411990

Saturday 10th September Ride and Stride Sponsored cycle, walk or horse-ride around Wiltshire’s Churches and Chapels to raise money for tour own church and the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust.
For more information and sponsorship forms see Elizabeth Dobson.
Also on the 10th: Devizes Heritage Open Day 10:00-5:00.

Saturday 17th September 6:00pm At Saint John The Baptist, Chirton, Devizes SN10 3QS
Last of the 2016 Chirton Concerts: Music for Awhile
Maggie Faultless and Music for Awhile return to Chirton
with music by JS Bach and Family.
Tickets are 15 in Advance, 17.50 on the door, 5 for children and are available from or 01380 840760.
Full details at .

Saturday 1st October St. Peter’s Harvest Supper at the Crown Centre

Saturday 8th October  St. Andrew’s Church - Churches Together Harvest Supper

Saturday 15th October St. Peter’s Devizes - Chippenham Male Voice Choir (more info to follow closer to date)



The Flower Festival - A Blooming Success!
Under the heading 'Flower festival is a delight at church'  the Devizes Gazette & Herald of 7 July reports our Churchwarden, David Purchas, as saying,
 I went in on Wednesday with my wife and the first impression was how fantastic it looked .  We have had quite a good reception from it also, people have been wandering in to look at the flowers but have also been finding out a lot of history  behind the church.

Proceeds from the Festival will be donated to Julia's House Children's Hospice.   The fund-raising manager for Julia's House, Ian Wadley, is recorded in the Gazette article as being specially grateful, as only 5% of its running costs come from the government. 

The photos below show just some of the different aspects of St Peter's  referred to  by David Purchas:
- the locations within the church used in the regular worship with the church adorned with beautiful flowers
- the buildings in the surrounding area which have shaped the history of the parish, depicted in flowers.

... The Church Entrance
Passers-by could not fail to notice that there was something special happening in church, with notices, a banner and extra flowers outside.
On opening the door, we see the welcoming face of Anne Girvan, stood by the most impressive exhibit,  a three-metre replica of a typical barge that would ply its trade on the canal.  The replica was built by Anne's husband John with the help of Elizabeth Dobson's husband,  Ray. 

...Places on the Christian pilgrim's journey through life in the Church













Inside the main door is the Font where new members begin their pilgrimage in the Church, and beside it is a bridal gown.  The High Altar and the Lady Chapel also have beautiful flowers.  St. Peter's statue is not only bedecked with flowers but has a fisherman's net draped over it.  The window is one of three depicting different colours of vestments used.  The church organ has a display of its history with large musical symbols and  nearby a display of the history of the Choir.



...The  Mayor of Devizes Came to Open the Festival

The Mayor of Devizes, Jane Burton, kindly came to open officially the Festival and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Anne Girvan.  She told us that in her first term of office she was not presented with any bouquets but in this term she has already had three.

She is also shown kneeling down in front of a display celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday.  What has attracted her attention is the model of one of Her Majesty's corgis made in flowers. 







...History of Parish Life













Above may be seen some exhibits  showing trades and industries from around the parish, many from the unique collection of John Girvan.  The first is from the Royal Wiltshire Militia Barracks, which used to stand on what is now High Lawn.   From the side of the Canal the next pictures show the Devizes Brick and Tile Company, and the Blacksmith Farrier.  There are two pictures depicting the Schools which developed in and around the Church.  Two other pictures show exhibits from the Fun Fair created by local Farmer Henry Jennings.  Then there are exhibits depicting the Brewing industry in the area.

There is much more in the Guide produced for the Festival.- cover depicted on the left.  A PDF version can be downloaded by clicking the picture on the left. 



An Overview of the Whole Display

The group of floral arrangers on the left - Anne Girvan, Sue Bailey, Ann Reeves and John Girvan are having their picture taken by the Gazette & Herald photographer - camera in the top right.  The resulting photograph can be seen in the article on page 10 of the Gazette & Herald of 7th July, 2016. [The published photograph shows how skilfully positioned the camera is placed to include the whole group and also the view over the barge and down the nave of the church.]


Ann Reeves and Sue Bailey look down towards the back of the church, at the exhibits - including additional trees loaned by Townsends.  After all their hard work in putting these displays together, including much burning of the midnight oil, they should feel a great sense of satisfaction at their work.


The Flower Festival at St Peter's - Not Just a 'Four-Day Wonder'
Beautiful flowers in and around the church are by no means a new feature of St Peter's. The picture below was from a 2012 group photo of the flower arrangers, led - as in this year's Flower Festival -  by Anne Girvan (3rd from right). We regularly see inside the church bouquets of flowers which  have a  distinct 'Wow Factor' (like the one next to Anne Girvan in this photo) . Outside our church the grounds have regularly won awards in the annual Devizes in Bloom Competition. On a table near the  front door of the church award certificates from the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 are displayed (... there is currently no room to add any more certificates on this table).  

The first of these certificates, shown on the left, is for the Devizes in Bloom 2008 award. The award is in the Trustee Savings Bank Silver Trophy competition for the 'Best Display in Church or Chapel Grounds'.  The name of St. Peter's was also inscribed on the trophy.

Beautiful flowers are a regular feature to be found in St.  Peter's Church all year round.




... And What did St. Peter Have to Say About Flowers?
Behind Anne Girvan in the above group photo of the flower arrangers is the figure of St. Peter in his usual place, which is overlooking the lectern Bible.  The Bible has two short Epistles written by St. Peter.
The first chapter of his first Epistle ends with the verses:    

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.
And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 
1 Peter 1:22-25 (KJV)

It is this "word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever"  that ensures that we do not fade as the flowers do - this is ensured by the resurrection of Jesus,  as St. Peter says in the earlier verses:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 
1 Peter 1:3-5 (KJV)

The first of these verses inspired the anthem 'Blessed be the God and Father' by Samuel Sebastian Wesley,  A performance of this anthem was recorded by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir.  To hear this performance on You Tube click this link here ;

The word of the Lord which endures for ever has been proclaimed here in our church for 150 years in a building which has been lovingly maintained to house this great truth.



Glastonbury Pilgrimage - Saturday 9th July 2016

A driver for the usual minibus could not be arranged for the Glastonbury Pilgrimage this year and it was up to individuals to arrange transport in their own cars.   Following so closely on the Flower Festival there were not as many pilgrims as usual from St Peter's.  There  were, however, some,  and Simon Bees was there to record the event from sunrise to sunset. In the photos that he took - shown below - two other pilgrims from St Peter's can be identified:















































Simon, Super Server of the Sacrament

Our accomplished  Altar Server, Simon Bees,  has served many senior members of the clergy at St Peter's.  He has served a number of Bishops here, and recently the Archdeacon of Sarum complimented him on his performance as MC on his visit to St Peter's. 

More recently he reached the summit of the Anglican hierarchy when he served Archbishop Rowan Williams who was the Celebrant and Preacher at the Thanksgiving Mass of the noted theologian Fr Ken Leech in St Paul's Bow Common, London.  Simon and the Archbishop are at the right hand end of the picture above.

Congratulations, Simon We are privileged to have you as a member of our church. 



Derek Richings RIP

Members of the congregation of St Peter's were sorry to hear of the passing of a good and faithful member of their church, Derek Richings.  He died peacefully on 6th June 2016 surrounded by his family. 

The above picture was taken on 23 April 2013 at a farewell party for Fr Peter and Comfort in gratitude for their seven-and-half years of dedicated service at our church.  The sign that Derek is holding is one that was painted by his son, who worked on the painting of pub signs for Wadworth's brewery.  From donations collected by the congregation, Fr  Peter built a small chapel in the garden of his house in Salisbury.  This sign was designed to hang over the chapel doorway and is painted  in the same style as the landlords' details  over a pub doorway. 

Derek had a pleasant and modest manner.  He did a lot of good work for for the church, much of which was not seen by other members of the congregation, for instance he worked on the repainting of the walls in the church porch when the church was closed..

He and his wife Jean were a familiar sight in their pew near the back of the church, and would often carry up the elements together to  the Altar during the Mass.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jean and all the family.  


Remembrance Sunday 2015
In front of St Peter's is a War Memorial that often goes unnoticed. An article under the heading 'Remembering the Dead' our November Parish Paper explained the background to this Memorial.  It was erected in 1920 - a year before the town's main Memorial in Long Street.  The designer was the distinguished church architect, Sir Ninian Comper.  

The names of those from our parish who died in the First World War are carved on the memorial, and the smaller number who died in the Second World War are also mentioned.

The Remembrance Day ceremony took place after the 10:00 am Mass on Sunday, 8th November.  It began with Fr Vincent reading out the names of all those who fell in both the First and Second World Wars, as shown in the picture on the left.  Holding the wreath is Squadron Leader Alan F. Frost who joined the RAF in 1940 and served as a fighter pilot throughout the war.  On D-Day he flew a Spitfire over the American landing beaches, where he observed the fierce fighting below. He is now a stalwart of St. Peter's congregation.
On the right of this picture is Fr Brian Tigwell with his wife Mary.  He was too young to serve in World War 2 but did National Service with the Royal Signals after the War. He was the previous Vicar of our parish from 1985 to 1999.  St Peter's flourished during his priesthood there.  Our Wikipedia article says of him:
Fr Brian increased the amount of money given to the poor and disadvantaged. He also forged a strong link between the church and the school, and attracted large congregations. He could especially connect to the children and was loved by the students of St Peter's School. Fr Brian also completely re-decorated the inside of the church, and installed a new electrical lighting system. He also served as Rural Dean of Devizes from 1993-1998. 
In retirement Fr Brian has helped at many churches -- fortunately for us, St Peter's is now one of them


Squadron Leader Frost  laid the wreath on the War Memorial and Fr Vincent censed it.

Squadron Leader Frost  recited the words of the poem For the Fallen:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.


At the end of the ceremony at the War Memorial the congregation processed back into the church for the singing of the National Anthem.  




The youngest member of the congregation at that ceremony was the child pictured left, who with a delightful smile charmed the members of the congregation.

Our November Parish Paper thanked Maureen Wood who organised the collection of boxes for the Children's Society.  With five boxes still to collect the total of 626.80 hag already exceeded last year's total.

This Paper also reported another big thank you that was given to our Sacristan, Doreen Riley, by the Centro da Mae orphanage in Madeira for a quantity of crocheted clothes and babies' blankets made by her.   Thanks also go to the ladies of St. Peter's, who supplied the wool to make the crochet blankets.











Wantage Retreat October 2015


The pilgrimages and retreats organised by Simon Bees at St. Peter's have always been inspirational and enjoyable; this October's in Wantage was no exception.  It was organised by Simon and led by Fr. Vincent. For the benefit of those who were unable to attend Simon has documented the inspiration that came from this retreat in verse and photagraphs, a copy of which may be  downloaded by clicking here.
John Betjeman was specially fond of Wantage and was a keen supporter of its Parish Church of Ss Peter & Paul.   Simon's account begins with an extract from Betjeman's poem  to the bells of Wantage::
Now with the bells through the apple bloom
Sunday-ly sounding
And the prayers of the nuns in their chapel gloom
Us all surrounding

In the October "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" the fruit of the apple tree is a recurring theme in Simon's account.  It includes a beautiful photograph of the fruit on apple tree -


Looking ahead to Christmas hymns Simon reminded us of the hymn 'Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree' with the words;

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

There are many renditions of this hymn on YouTube.  One is by the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge and can be found at:

This version is beatufully sung and the accompanying picture has red apples on a tree that is covered in frost.

Comments on this page included:

If was forced to choose one Christmas carol - and I would have to be forced - this would be it. I was astonished to learn that the setting by Elizabeth Poston is modern. In fact the words are not specifically related to Christmas, but are a simple metaphor of faith., Jesus Christ as an apple tree. Wonderful invention.

One of those Christmas Carols that's in a class of its own. I find it hard to put into words the sheer beauty and profound wonder it stirs within me. It is, well, out of this world!



Welcome to Our New Churchwarden

David Purchas has been one of the most steadfast and dedicated servants of St. Peter's in a number of roles over more than 20 years.  His roles have included being a Server, a School Governor, PCC  Member, the driver of the minibus on church outings and at Christmas time it was David, aided by his wife Jill, who did much of the decorations for the season. 

In April 2012 he was on a group photo of the then Churchwardens, shown on the right.  David was at that time a Deputy Churchwarden; the two Churchwardens with him are Ann Reeves and Jean Hosie who retired this year.  David was the popular choice to take on the role of Churchwarden after their retirement , and he was formally licensed at a ceremony that took place at St Mary's Marlborough on the evening of 11th June.  There were a large number of new Churchwardens from all round the diocese being licensed at the same time.   

The ceremony was led by the Archdeacon of Wiltshire, Ruth Worsley, who was accompanied by a legal lady wearing a barrister's wig from the Registry in Salisbury.   Revd Canon Andrew Studdert-Kennedy, the Team Rector welcomed the visitors to his church. 

At certain points during the ceremony David and the other new Churchwardens had to stand to make their solemn vows.  Churchwardens are bound by certain Canon laws such as:
'The Canons of the Church of England state that churchwardens shall be foremost in representing the laity and in cooperating with the incumbent; they shall use their best endeavours by example and precept to encourage the parishioners in the practice of true religion and to promote unity and peace among them. '

David is shown standing to make these vows in the picture on the left.  Careful inspection will show that there are a number of other new Wardens also standing to make these vows. 

Fr. Vincent and six other members of St. Peter's congregation had accompanied David to the church.  At the end of the service a number came up to offer their congratulations and express their pleasure at his appointment -

A large number of visitors stayed behind afterward to enjoy the splendid buffet that had been prepared and the fellowship of those from other churches.




... And Welcome to Our New Vicar

On May 11th 2015, less than eight months after welcoming Fr. Vincent as our new Priest-in-Charge [see below] there was another similar ceremony to license him as the incumbent Vicar - the first Vicar that St. Peter's has had since the retirement of Fr. Brian Tigwell in 1999.  On this occasion not only the The Archdeacon of Wiltshire and the Rural Dean were present, but also not one but two 'flying bishops' - our own Bishop of Ebbsfleet plus the Bishop of Ramsbury, who on the previous day had done a sponsored abseil down the tower of St. Mary's church.  Fr. Vincent tolled the church bell to signify that he had taken up his office.  A social gathering to celebrate followed.    The congregation had found this an "inspirational" evening.

Welcome To Our New Priest-in-Charge

        Michaelmas Day, the Feast of St. Michael & All Angels
                 -  7:30 pm  29th September, 2014

A large congregation, including many who have not been regular members for some time, came for the licensing of the The Revd. Dr Vincent Perricone as our new Priest-in-Charge. 

In his opening remarks the Bishop of Salisbury, The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, spoke of the importance of St. Peter's and its Catholic witness.  He mentioned the former curate of St. Peter's, Father Wainwright, who became a distinguished priest at St. Peter's London Docks, a parish not far from Stepney, where he himself had served in his early career.  The Catholic witness had been dissipated in recent years, but now needs to be renewed, not just for the sake of St. Peter's but for the whole Church. In the future this witness will be more important than it has been in the past, and so this could be a special night. 

The Archdeacon of Wiltshire,  The Venerable Ruth Worsley, introduced Fr Vincent and, as the Patron's representative, presented him to the Bishop.  The congregation were asked if they welcomed Fr Vincent and responded with a firm "We do"; when asked if they would "share with Vincent in mission and pastoral care" - they responded with an equally firm "We will".   It was then Fr Vincent's turn to say that he was willing to accept the position.

There then followed a procession to the Font, the Chancel step and the Sanctuary accompanied by appropriate verses of hymns, and being met at each place by appropriate parish workers and ministers of the sacrament.

The Lesson from Matthew 14: 22-33 was read by the Archdeacon and our Bishop Jonathon Goodall preached the Sermon based on the words of this Gospel.

Fr. Vincent was welcomed as the new priest by the Rural Dean, Revd Jonathan Triffitt.  Fr Vincent's first official duty as priest was to announce the Notices for the coming week. 

After the ceremonies refreshments were provided with three types of cake that had been baked, accompanied by wine and soft drinks with the opportunity to chat to Fr. Vincent and his wife Jenny.  There was a general feeling that this had been an enjoyable and inspiring evening, which augured well for the future of St. Peter's.

... Fr Vincent Update

The November 2014 Parish Paper had a leading article headed 'A NEW ERA - New Priest's Installation'.  The article gives a description of the "impressive service" with the "tolling of the church bell by the Revd Dr Vincent Perricone signalled that he had started his ministry with us."  There was "a large and representative congregation" which included (in addition to those mentioned above) The Mayor of Devizes, Councillor Sarah Bridewell.  After the service ...

... "Fr Vincent, spoke of the "very warm welcome" he had received at St Peter's. "I'm beginning to get to know Devizes and the beautiful surrounding countryside - (which also means I'm getting lost frequently)." He added: "I hope to get to know all who live around the church. You are all in my daily prayers."