TO celebrate the 1,100-year history of St Mary's Church in Great Bedwyn, a few residents thought it was high time someone put pen to paper and wrote about its rich history.

Over the course of the last two years, a dozen locals all chipped in to produce a wealth of information, which covers its architecture, its principal monuments, the religious overview of the church through the ages, the famous people who visited it and the events that took place there.

Now after much painstaking research, the full colour hardback book St Mary's Great Bedwyn – Celebrating 1,100 Years is now available for all to see, much to the delight of all the contributors.

"We are delighted with how it turned out, it was a wonderful team effort," said Anthony Henniker-Gotley, the man who came up with the idea for writing the book.

"For more than 10 years now we have had panels up in the church, detailing its history, but we wanted to go into greater detail about this very special church we have.

"I wrote about the architecture and I was brilliantly assisted by Mick Goss, David Zeke for most of the photos, the history society, Alan Deboo for its religious history and many others too.

"We found some fascinating documents prior to the reformation, over 500 years ago, about some of the events that took place there, prominent people of the day who were there and much more.

"Learning more about the grooves on our bells that had the bronze gouged out of them over time, the Birmingham company Hardman who were responsible for three of the Victorian stained glass windows and on the vicar of St Mary's in the 1800s, Rev John Ward. It is so interesting."

Mr Henniker-Gotley also thanked Graham Bathe, Andrew Hutchinson, Val Patrick, Bill Marchant Smith, David Harris, Dave Haynes and Sue Challen for their help in putting the book together.

"Although it took a while to find all this information, it was certainly worth it and it is selling quite well. We have covered our costs so that is always good," he said.

The 80-page book is sponsored by The Friends of St Mary's and the Bedwyn History Society and is available for £15 with the proceeds going to the Friends for the church fabric fund.

To order a copy call (01672) 870133.