History of St Thomas a Beckett, Compton Valence

In 1838 the church was rebuilt, except for the Fifteenth century tower with its weather-worn gargoyle. The nave was lengthened, the north aisle added and the re-constructed chancel given an apse-shaped end wall. The materials used included local stone, Ham Hill stone, some Portland stone and Bath stone for the Pulpit. The nave roof and benches are of English Oak. The altar, a block of Caen stone was replaced in 1871 by the present wooden communion table.

Three men were responsible for the restoration and enlargement: Robert Williams Esq. of Bridehead, who was patron of the benefice, who donated the new North aisle; the Rector of the parish, the Reverend Percival Ward, who gifted the new chancel; and Benjamin Ferrey, the architect and friend of the Williams family. The work was completed in 1840 and a re-opening ceremony took place on the Feast of St.Michael (29th September), with morning and evening services and a dinner of which all the workmen and every person in the parish partook.

A Brass in the floor by the font represents the head and bust in vestments of Thomas Waldon, priest of the parish until 1437. The Latin inscription states that it was he who rebuilt the church of his day and was responsible for the tower that exists today. The font is of the same period and two wall monuments are from the earlier building. A brass memorial to the Reverend Percival Ward and his wife is on the South wall of the chancel.

There are four bells dating from 1620, 1676, 1848 and 1862, which were all restored in 1870.

The clock in the tower, dated 1841, was restored and electrified in 1979.

The family of the present landowners, the Chicks, have had close connections with the village and the church since the 1770s. Numerous headstones in the churchyard show the long line of their Chick/Davis forbearers. Memorial tablets to Mr John Chick (d.1907) and to Mr William Chick(d.1962) are at the west end of the church.