Welcome to the parish church of St Nicholas, Wells-next-the-Sea
(Please bear with us as this website is currently under construction and some of the pages are not yet complete!)
Our parish is part of a benefice of four with Holkham, Warham & Wighton in the Diocese of Norwich and we are proud to be a partner in Churches Together in Wells and District. The church is on the southern edge of the town and is part of the vibrant community which is Wells-next-the-Sea.
You are welcome to join us for worship. We usually have worship in the Benefice on Sundays at 9.30am & 11.00am. Please check below for the venue and service type. During the restoration of St Nicholas Wells the Wednesday congregation will be joining our Methodist brothers and sisters for their 10.30 worship at the Methodist church. Sunday worship will continue at the church in the Chancel. Our buildings remain open at the times below.
SERVICES THIS WEEK:
Sunday 19th June
9.30am BCP Holy Communion Holkham St Withburga (service will be uploaded onto YouTube later in the day)
11.00am Holy Communion Wells St Nicholas
6.30pm Healing service Wells St Nicholas (also on Zoom. Contact Rev Brenda for Zoom invite)
Wednesday 22nd June
10.30am Prayer & Praise Wells Methodist Chapel, Theatre Road
Sunday 26th June
9.30am Holy Communion Wighton All Saints (service will be uploaded onto YouTube later in the day)
11.00am Holy Communion Wells St Nicholas (service will be uploaded onto YouTube later in the day)
6.30pm Celtic Worship Wells St Nicholas
Wednesday 29th June
10.30am Prayer & Praise Wells Methodist Chapel, Theatre Road
Our church buildings are open for private prayer at the following times:
- St Nicholas, Wells-next-the-Sea 10.00am-5.45pm daily
- Warham All Saints 10.00-5.45pm daily
- Holkham St Withburga 10.00am – 5.45m daily
- Wighton All Saints 10.00am – 5.45pm daily
Easter 2022 roundup
It was wonderful to be ‘back to normal’ this year after two rather different Easters (2020 online and 2021 without any of our usual visitors). It was a real pleasure to welcome Pilgrim Cross (formerly Student Cross) Wells leg back. They collected their cross from Wells and visited around the parishes. Meanwhile we had services across the parishes beginning with palm cross processions at Wighton and Wells and continuing with the retelling of the Easter narrative with a Maundy Thursday service with foot washing at Wells, Stations of the cross at Wighton and meditations at Wells on Good Friday and Easter Day celebrations at Holkham and Wells.
Christmas 2021 round-up
It was wonderful to have a full programme of services across the Benefice this year with our churches beautifully decorated for the season. We were able to sing in church so we had carol services in all of our churches and Wells had a Christingle service on Christmas Eve. Warham was decorated with Christmas Trees and the Messy Church tree was on display decorated with hand-made robins.
The Warham nativity figures went on tour to Wells and Burnham Market schools and at Wells the Christingle and nativity service was relayed to the classes from the head-teacher’s office.
We also had Mary and Joseph travelling from house to house in Wells during December. Known as Posada, the figures spend a night in each home and are delivered by their host to the next destination, finally ending up back in church on Christmas Eve. At Wighton we had candle-lit carols and readings and then Holy Communion on Christmas Eve.
At Holkham the church was beautifully decorated for the carol service at which there was some great singing. But it is always lovely to move into Holkham Hall on Christmas Day with the chapel adorned by the lovely half life-size nativity. But by far the most unusual event of the season was the Canine Carol Service which I conducted from the steps of Holkham Hall with a ‘congregation’ of fifty-plus dogs and their humans. What fun!
Messy Church is back
November 13th 2021
Messy church has resumed on the 2nd Saturday of each month 10.30am – 12.30pm and had its first session on November 13th with a theme of remembering. Both children and grown-ups enjoyed craft activities relating to Remembrance Day and other things we remember. The Messy Church remembrance wreath is now on display in the St Nicholas remembrance corner.
All Souls service at St Nicholas
November 2nd 2021
It was lovely to be able to join together with representatives of the our Churches Together community – Fr Keith Tulloch from our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic church, Revd Cliff Shanganya from the Methodist church and David Saunders from the Quaker meeting – to remember those who have died, particularly in this last year but also in years past. Our churches Together choir sang as people lit candles in memory of loved ones. If you would like to watch the service you can find it on our YouTube Channel: St Nicholas Church Wells.
Photo credit: Jenny Savoury
October 13th, 2021 We’ve done it…
St Nicholas Church in Wells-next-the-Sea secures National Lottery support
Wells Parochial Church Council has been awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant of £286,100 for restoration work and to deliver a range of new activities at St Nicholas Church, Wells-next-the-Sea.
The project will safeguard the building, which is on Historic England’s ‘Heritage At Risk Register’, and will deliver innovative activities, including a new interpretive scheme exploring the heritage of the building and its churchyards, enabling the church to forge stronger links with the wider community.
The church is a Grade II* building situated in the central Conservation Area of the town of Wells-next-the-Sea. Originally built in the13th century, with a large scale restoration taking place around 1460, it was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1879. The medieval tower, most of the external walls and the south porch survived the fire and the church was re-built in 1883.
Working with key partners to establish St Nicholas as a heritage and well-being hub for the town, the funding will deliver new activities such as a Heritage Detective Trail and a new well-being conservation area within the churchyard in partnership with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. The scheme will also link to and support the popular Heritage Centre at Wells Maltings and will deliver public events such as heritage well-being days in partnership with Wells Community Hospital Trust, and Conservation Skills Days where people will be able to meet the project team to learn about the conservation skills used to restore both the building and churchyard.
The project will also reduce the building’s carbon footprint by installing secondary glazing to some windows and introducing a cycle stand in the churchyard to encourage visitors to cycle (or walk!) to the church.
Commenting on the award, Revd. Brenda Stewart said “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support and would like to say a huge thanks to National Lottery players. St Nicholas Church has always been such an important building in Wells-next-the-Sea and it’s great to know that we will now be preserving it for future generations of local people and visitors to our town. We’re also very excited about the project’s activities and interpretation, including the habitat conservation and well-being activities planned in the churchyard. We are very grateful that this has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.”
Liz Bates, Head of Investment, Midlands & East said: “We are delighted that our funding award will support St Nicholas Church to remain an important heritage building and continue as a vital and vibrant community hub. A huge thanks to National Lottery players for their support of this restoration project and the new activities, that will impact positively on the health and well-being of the people who live in Wells-next-the-Sea and beyond.”
September 2021 Crossfire is a triumph!
After much stopping and starting because of covid restrictions ‘Crossfire’ our community play about the history of Wells took place in the church of St Nicholas on Thursday to Sunday, 2nd-5th September 2021. It has been wonderful to see the church buzzing with activity once the staging was in and we were thrilled that we could finally go ahead. The weather was kind and all of the performances began outside the church and then went inside to hear episodes from the history of the town centring on its parish church of St Nicholas. And quite a lot of folk stayed on afterwards for a drink and burger. This was a wonderful community effort which was much appreciated by capacity audiences.
May 2021 A little bit of normality…
As restrictions lift we’re delighted that Little Fishes has resumed twice a month. We’ve changed days and meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays 1.45 – 3.30. So if your child attends pre-school at Wells Primary you can still pop in for chat and a drink and a bun. We’ve also resumed refreshments after worship at Wells on Sunday and Wednesday so if you feel safe doing so do take a seat and you will be served tea or coffee and a biscuit.
September 2020 Celebration of Wells Fire and Rescue Service:
In September 2020 we held a very successful Wells Fire and Rescue Service in St. Nicholas churchyard, which was attended by many local people including the Wells fire fighters with their Fire Engine, on what turned out to be a lovely evening. This was the first annual follow up to the launch of our Restoration Project. After the service, thanks to the generosity of Frenchs Fish Shop, who provided delicious fish and chips to the Wells PCC, many of those attending enjoyed a delicious supper and the amazing amount raised, of £458, was donated to the Fire Fighters Charity.
Autumn 2020 National Lottery Heritage Fund Development Phase progress
In October 2020, as part of the Wells PCC’s Development Phase of our National Lottery Heritage Fund grant we had two days of investigation work carried out on the south aisle roof and medieval tower to establish exactly what restoration work is required when we apply for a Delivery Phase Grant. As you will see, we had to have a high level cherry picker on site for the consultants to access the tower. This enabled detailed inspection of the stonework and four of our bell ringers were on hand so that movement in the structure could be monitored. On the aisle roof three scoffolding towers enabled us to examine the state of the woodwork under the roofing surface.
November 2020 All Souls Service:
Churches Together in Wells and District were glad to be able to go ahead with our annual All Souls service this year, a chance for family and friends of those who have died to remember their loved ones. It should have been at Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church this year but St Nicholas is the biggest space making social distancing easier. The service was led by Fr Tom Goohan and representatives of the different denominations took part in the service and sang in our little choir. The church was floodlit for the occasion and we’re grateful to Vicky Yaxley for this lovely photo.
Our book exchange and children’s area are now open once more for you to enjoy and please take the opportunity to explore the building or relax both inside and out in our pleasant churchyard, a quiet green space away from the busyness of the Quay. Parts of the churchyard are Norfolk Wildlife Trust designated areas.
Our parent and toddler group ‘Little Fishes’ meets twice a month on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays 1.45-3.30pm and Messy Church is on the 2nd Saturday 10.30am-12.3opm.
Do take a look around St Nicholas by using the virtual tour below, and we look forward to seeing you in person. When you visit you will notice a few changes since this was done. Enjoy!
Thunderbolts & Fire
140 years ago, on the night of August 3rd 1879, lightning struck the tower and the entire church burned down, with only the shell of the tower surviving! To celebrate this and also to launch our major restoration appeal we held an exhibition from July 27th to August 11th, 2019 and more events, including a community play Crossfire, are planned. Full details can be found here.
The parish of Wells-next-the-Sea: St Nicholas is committed to the safeguarding of children, young people and adults. We follow the House of Bishops guidance and policies and have our own Parish Safeguarding Officer(s), PSOs. The Diocese of Norwich’s safeguarding pages contain vital links and information including contacts for the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSA) who advise our PSOs. If you are concerned that a child or adult has been harmed or may be at risk of harm please contact the DSA. If you have immediate concerns about the safety of someone, please contact the police and your local authority Children or Adults Services.