Banwell Parish News

Welcome to The Banwell Parish News website.

The Banwell Parish News is the village magazine for Banwell in North Somerset.

It is produced monthly and distributed free to over 1500 homes within Banwell.

Here you will find the latest issue to browse plus an archive of back issues downloadable as Acrobat files (pdf)




During 1978 the Banwell Parochial Church Council (the governing body of St Andrew's Church) recognised when reviewing the Church's monthly magazine that it was not being very widely read, having at most a circulation of about 280 copies sold on subscription to regular church-goers and supporters.

The vicar, Revd. James A. Judge, felt that this was only 'preaching to the converted' and that it ought to be possible to distribute a magazine throughout the parish to all households and businesses if new sources of revenue could be found.

After discussion, the Banwell P.C.C. decided that such a venture ought not to be confined to St Andrew's, but that it should involve the other Christian communities in the village. Accordingly an approach was made to both the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholics, who agreed that it was a good idea, and said they would be willing to help both with the editorial contents and with distribution, as well as financially.

The intention was that the publication should be free, with income raised from the sale of small classified advertisements, and the editorial columns would be open to the other village organisations. A trial period of three months was proposed.

In consequence, the Banwell P.C.C. decided to discontinue its own church magazine, and the small surplus remaining from its sales was donated towards the new Banwell Parish News. The P.C.C. made a further grant in 1982 of £100. A significant donation was forthcoming from the Banwell Parish Council, and several regular grants were made by the Methodist Church amounting to £165 in total until 1984 by which time the publication had a firm financial basis.

The first issue of the 'News' was published in January 1979, and its distribution throughout the parish (then including St Georges) was carried out by a team of over thirty volunteers drawn from the three churches and elsewhere. To keep down costs the printed sheets were initially folded by hand and wire-stitched by more volunteers, and in the course of a very few months the magazine had become firmly established in the village.

In the April 1979 issue the Vicar (who had agreed to act as editor commented "our friends in the Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches share with us in the work of compilation and distribution of the magazine and bear part of the cost. They will be writing in future issues".

An appeal was made for "donations to make us self-supporting and help us extend our activities" and regular grants were received from most of the village organisations, including the Society of Archaeology, the Gardening Club, the Mothers' Union, the Seniors' Club, the Scout Group, the Village Hall Foundation, and the Women's Institute. Local residents also sent small sums to help the finances.

At this time some 1,500 copies were circulated each month, but with the secession of St Georges in 1994 the quantity was reduced to 1,350 only to rise again to 1,550 when Elborough Village was built.

In August 1998, although the A5 format was retained, the layout changed to a two column format and added black & white photographs of local events. June 2002 was the first edition to use colour on the front cover and coated paper.