Castle Frome | Following Wilford Woodruff's Steps in England

Videographer: James Dalrymple

Speaker: Peter Fagg

Producer: Smith Family Foundation



Peter Fagg: We're standing here outside the Church of Castle Frome. This is the Church of England Church in the parish where Hill Farm stands. Up behind me over this hill, you'd come to Hill Farm where John and Jane Benbow had their 300 acre farm. When Wilford Woodruff arrived after two days, he baptized John and Jane Benbow and four others.

This is an amazing little church. It was built by the Normans and it's one of the unique churches in that it hasn't been developed. Most churches over the years have been developed and added, you know, lovely big stained glass windows and extra wings, but this kind of remained in its primitive state, and so it's kind of retained its kind of Norman feel. The Benbows, actually, there's a number of them buried in the graveyard here. So these are the relations of John Benbow and William Benbow.

When Wilford Woodruff turns up in 1840, it's from here that Reverend Henry Fisher decides that he's disturbed by the fact that this American menace is having all this attendance. So here's this minister receiving only 15 people on his Sunday worship. He finds out that these mass meetings are going on at Hill Farm, and he decides something needs to be done about this. In my parish this is happening. And so the Constable was sent to go and arrest Wilford Woodruff. Of course, he converts and then he sends his two clerks from here, who also convert.

I have a special feeling for this place now because for centuries, our forefathers have worshiped in places like this. This is one of the few Norman churches that still exist, so it's just all by itself in the middle of the countryside, a few farms dotted here and there.

It only serves a parish of about, there's about 15 or 20 attendees on a Sunday. But I love it because this is where my forefathers and probably many of yours, over the years, found Christ, worshiped Him, and found peace and solace inside buildings like this.