About Parish Pump

PARISH PUMP is produced by a host of terrific volunteers to keep each other (in this Land of the Twelve Churches) informed and (hopefuly!) entertained. Although it has thrived under several different production systems, there has always been a significant church presence in the magazine. This is partly because many of that 'host of terrific volunteers' have always been church members, and partly because in a rural area like ours (and quite separately from religious allegiance), the physical presence of our many church buildings has for centuries had a strong cultural and social influence on us all, and therefore on what we think we should be telling each other about. Churches, like village halls, schools, shops and pubs, have provided the cement and certainty in our village lives. One hopes that this may continue: we shall see...

On 28th June 1995, HM the Queen approved the formation of the Shill Valley & Broadshire Benefice to comprise the parishes of Alvescot, Black Bourton, Broadwell with Kelmscott, Broughton Poggs with Filkins, Holwell, Kencot, Langford, LIttle Faringdon, Shilton and Westwell.

Such an apparently gargantuan amalgamation of ten parishes with 12 churches, and a total of 15 villages and hamlets, prompted a correspondent to write mournfully to The Times that the Church of England must be in desperate straits.

Yet here we are nearly 25 years later, still with our 12 churches, varying from medieval to Victorian, standing proudly in our villages dotting the northern bank of the Upper Thames in West Oxfordshire.

If you enjoy reading PARISH PUMP, the magazine for the 'Land of the 12 Churches', do please consider donating £10 towards its costs (for details of how to pay, please email: editor@parishpump.net), and do please come and see us... We have not only the 12 beautiful churches to explore, but other great things to see and do (and great pubs to enjoy too.)

The Land of the Twelve Churches


  There have no doubt been church and village magazines since Caxton was a lad, but before these last few years of desk-top publishing, they were painstakingly typed and gestetnered or similar.

  One such was 'The Broadshire LInk' which, for a decade or so, detailed the goings-on in the villages that made up the Broadshire Benefice of parishes.

  In April 1985, a two page tail-piece appeared for the first time, a rag-bag of jokes and puzzles called... Yes you guessed it: 'The Parish Pump'.

  After the two benefices were amalgamated (see above), a new joint magazine replaced the Broadshire Link and the Shill Valley magazine, and the name chosen was... (Again you've guessed!) 'The Parish Pump'.

  The Vicar at the time, Fr Richard Harrison, thought that a successful community-based magazine would help weave the different 'strands of parish tradition and practice' into a new coherent and hopeful Benefice of Shill Valley & Broadshire.

  Successive editors, with their armies of essential contributors, distributors, and (of course) readers have sought to do just that, and the Parish Pump is still here!

Where we came from: here are three copies of The Broadshire LInk from 1985, including April's issue, which contains the very first mention of 'The Parish Pump'. It is interesting to see how things have changed and also, for that matter, stayed the same.

Just click on the title of which ever issue you would like to read...

The masthead of the very first 'Parish Pump' included as an 'extra' in the April 1985 issue of The Broadshire LInk.

To past editors and others... Ros A, Jane B, Gill C, Lin E, David G, Nick G, Ellie M, Karen S, Liz S (and anyone else I have missed out), and to all our correspondents, and to all our distributors and all our advertisers, and to all our readers... Thank you all.