Staplegrove's Plymouth Brethren Meeting Room
(Exclusive Brethren) lies in an enclosure on the southern side
of Corkscrew Lane on the edge of Taunton. The plain brown-brick
building is apparently windowless (the two on the eastern side have
been bricked up). At the end of the nineteenth century this land was
part of Pinkers Farm. The streets to the immediate east were laid
down post-war, so the Brethren building no doubt dates to around
1960 or so.
Kingston St Mary Independent Chapel stands
on the southern side of Greenway (sometimes known as Quantock Way),
about a hundred metres west of the local school. It is marked as a
chapel on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914, and is still marked as
such on the OS 1:10,560 of 1949-1968. Its date of closure is unknown
but was probably post-war. The building is now known as Chapel Cottage
and its former congregation now meet in the church of St Mary the
Virgin (see below).
The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin,
Kingston St Mary, occupies a generous churchyard on the
north-western side of Church Lane, flanked by The Old School to the
north. The village was formerly referred to as Kingston-juxta-Taunton,
with the present name only becoming dominant from the 1950s. The
building was largely erected during the reign of Henry VII, with
a lofty ornamented tower containing six bells. The chancel contains
a fine altar tomb of the Warre family.
The Warres of Hestercombe held the church from
the reign of Henry III (1216-1272). It has a west tower of about
1490, with interesting 'hunky-punks' perched high on the corners
(named possibly because the carvings are squatting on their hunkers).
Many alterations have been made over the centuries but the building
essentially has a thirteenth century Early English core which was
enlarged and transformed in the Perpendicular style three hundred
The Warre Chapel stood in the grounds of
Hestercombe House, a short way to the east of Kingston St Mary. The
Warre family were resident here from around 1400. The above image
just about shows a painting of Hestercombe House around 1700 by an
unknown artist. The Gothic chapel with bell turret can be discerned
at the centre front. It was demolished about 1766, having been linked
to the house by a tree-lined avenue, lying alongside an
St Mary's Church Hestercombe (otherwise known
as the Portman Chapel) was sited about seventy metres north-east
of Gotton Lodge on the lane towards Gotton Copse, on its south-eastern
side. Timber-framed and clad in corrugated iron sheeting on a brick
frame with a thatched roof, it was built for the estate by the Portmans
around 1894. The vicar of St Andrew's in Taunton was required to hold
the services. The church was subsequently moved to Taunton around 1952.
Four photos on this page by P L Kessler, and one
kindly contributed by Hestercombe Gardens Trust Archive. Former
Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by
South West Heritage Trust.