The rector appointed for Bratton and Edington will use his experiences as a family man and teacher to bring a new perspective to the role.

Mark Jones, 42, was formally installed into his new benefice – which also includes Coulston, Erlestoke and the empty village of Imber – at Edington Priory Church last week.

The former primary school teacher moves from his role as curate during a year-long interregnum at St Mary’s Church in Old Basing, Hampshire.

He has moved into the vicarage in Bratton with wife Kathy, who worked at the Oxford University Medical School, and their seven-year-old daughter, Sophie.

He said: “I had a really warm welcome on Thursday. The people here are absolutely delightful. It is a really beautiful part of the world. I’m looking forward to spending many happy years here.

Mr Jones, originally from North Wales, trained at Ripon College in Oxford after teaching for 13 years, seven of which were in village schools.

He said he was hoping to use his professional experience to get local schools involved in the church.

“It is a bit early for me to know the particular challenges of this benefice, but there will always be challenges, and the various goals the church would like to achieve,” he said.

“There is a lot of interesting pastoral work to be done, encouraging children into the church by improving links with primary schools.”

Assistant curate Malcolm Wieck has been supervising the interregnum since former rector Graham Southgate left last September.

* An associate priest for the Upper Wylye Valley team ministry was licensed last week. The Rev Adrian Pollard, who now lives in Warminster, had worked at parishes in Liverpool and Algiers during the 1980s, before he joined the Army as a padre for 20 years, serving in Bosnia and Iraq.