3rd June, 2012

A series of postage stamps commemorating British Architecture, specifically that of Village Churches and featuring St. Mary's Church, Huish Episcopi was first issued 21st June 1972, some fifty years ago.

St Marys Stamp 40yrs edited 1







These stamps were designed by Ronald Maddox RI SGA FSIA 

10th July, 2022

On 26th June, 2022 an ‘informal service’ was held at St Mary’s Church here in Huish Episcopi to celebrate the issuing fifty years ago, almost to the day, of a series of postage stamps featuring Village Church Towers throughout England.
The stamp depicting our St Mary’s Church was the 9p; this had significance beyond just being, at that time, the highest in value.
The following extract from the service, kindly provided by Mr. Clive Sills explains:

It was like winning lottery, 12,000 parish churches and 50 cathedrals, so the 5 chosen were very privileged
Huish was not one of the original 40, the theme has been churches, however, it changed to towers and the Somerset representative has a very small steeple and was not a typical Somerset stone tracery style building.
First real use of buildings on RM stamps was 1955 with castles from each nation of GB. First church, Westminster Abbey 900 year anniversary 1966.
1969 6 cathedrals were used.
Took over 2 years to decide, first issue was churches or coaching inns.
Designs by Ronald Maddox an issue at the time. There was no frame so the colour bled out to the edges. Insufficient white in some of the designs (capturing information for the automatic readers). They had to resign the phosphor bans to create the necessary level of reflection.
On sale day a special unit set up in St Mary’s rooms. PO helped with the set up. Alma Tucker bought the first 3 First Day Cover Envelopes with all the 5 stamps on it.
All stamps had a touch of red in them, traditional concept used by painters such as John Constable. A Greenstead stamp has the red missing, now worth £6000. A Earls Barton one has the poor queens head missing, now worth £8000.
Vicars of the parishes were informed in September 1971. Huish was just moving from Rev Mee to Rev Molesworth and did not answer a vital question, name or dedication of the church. Actually Molesworth got in wrong it is The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he called it St Mary the Virgin.
All parishes had special envelopes, covers, made for the event, what they sold was cash in the bank for them. Huish sold 17,823 best was Earls Barton at 27, 207, the 9p price had an effect.
For the record:
3p 54.0 million sold (UK), 4p 7.8 million sold (Europe), 5p likewise 7.8 million (USA), 71/2 7.1 million and 9p was 5.5 million (India and Australia).
Coaching inns were eventually used in 1984. As a major part of the distribution system they were critical. Somerset is well part of the postal story. Bath was the first PO to sell a Penny Black. Also a local John Palmer persuaded William Pitt (of Burton Pinsent fame) and others to move from stagecoaches to post chaise light carriages. It reduced the time from 30 hours to about 13.

Kind regards Clive

If you are interested in this subject you may like to view ‘The Postal Museum’ website.




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