Portrait of a Parish

Monkton Combe Village Hall - Page 14

The Hall came into being in 1928 as the result of the efforts of a local Committee, led by the Vicar, the Rev. Percy Warrington, built on land conveyed from the Vaughan-Jenkins estate. From the beginning it has operated as a Charitable Trust, not belonging to the Parish Council or the Church, but, as the Object of the Charity Scheme says, "for the use of the inhabitants of the Parish of Monkton Combe..." - which in the early years also included Combe Down.

Village Hall viewed from the main road

The Management Committee must include representatives of the Parish Council, the Church, the School and the WI, but is open to any other member of the village who wishes to stand - and to help in the work of maintaining and improving the Hall for the use of the Village. These improvement include the building of a toilet block in 1988, funded in part from the Parish Council and local residents.

Over the years it has been indeed used by the village - from the beginning by the Womens' Institute and the Church for meetings, by the School as an examination room, by Scouts while they existed, by the Home Guard during the Second World War, and in the days before television and easy transport to other delights, by the "Barnstormers" the village dramatic group which staged several pantomimes and a pageant of village history which involved almost all the inhabitants. Events which are still fondly remembered by those who took part and still live in the village.
The income for the Hall is mainly dependent on lettings, although there was a very generous and welcome legacy in 1996/7 which has been invested, but for year-on-year expenses the Committee relies on a long-standing letting to the Oldfield Park Table Tennis Club which meets most evenings during the winter, plus many hirings for wedding receptions, parties, talks and so on, with the occasional fun-raising "function" - a barbecue, wine and cheese party or similar, with some form of entertainment added. There have been larger dinners in the past, among them a Tramps' dinner with fish and chips dispensed from a very rickety pram, several successful Christmas dinners, and others with similar "themes!, but the Committee needs more dedicated cooks to attempt the larger efforts.

The Millennium year itself has been marked by the generous gift by the School of a portion of the adjacent field, to be managed by the Hall on behalf of the Parish, which will allow some expansion space for some of the out-door functions, and the Committee also organised a free celebration for all the village, with wine and cheese and an excellent Irish group playing, which must have included at least a third of those on the electoral roll, and filled the Hall to over-capacity with joyful revellers.

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