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Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 19 June 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 21: Churches of Stapley to Angersleigh

Stapley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Stapley, Somerset

Stapley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was originally at the far south-eastern end of the narrow lane shown here, leading from the eastern side of the main road through this scattered hamlet. The chapel existed by 1888 as shown on the OS map of 1889, apparently adjoining a larger house. It lay immediately south of a silk mill which, even by 1888, was disused, with the chapel probably having been erected to serve its workers. The mill is now a restored private dwelling.

Stapley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Stapley, Somerset

The tin tabernacle chapel was gradually decaying and was quite hard to reach - down a very boggy footpath near the mill stream. By 2019 neither it or its stone foundations could be found down there. According to a local, the hamlet's now-elderly historian and mortician would sit as a boy on the stone wall near the chapel to throw stones at the girls as they came out. Now he uses the chapel in which to lay out his 'patients', having moved it to the west side of the road.

The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul Churchstanton, Somerset

The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul Churchstanton sits on the outside curve of Church Road as it turns from north to west in this isolated hamlet at the top of the eastern end of the Blackdown Hills. It dates to the early fourteenth century, probably with some mid-century additions to confuse the dating somewhat. It was restored around 1719, while a further restoration added new seats and a west gallery in 1830. A rood screen was added about 1910.

The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul Churchstanton, Somerset

The church is built of squared and coursed chert stone, with a roughcast west end and two-stage tower with ham stone dressings and quoins, while other dressings are in limestone. The main entrance is, somewhat unusually, through that west tower. The interior is rendered, with a four bay pointed arch arcade. It features some unusual carvings, a Jacobean pulpit, and also a Norman font. The south porch is blocked off and the chancel is set at an angle to the nave.

Church of St Michael & All Angels, Angersleigh, Somerset

The Church of St Michael & All Angels, Angersleigh, is on the eastern side of the lane through the middle of Angersleigh, in wide and open grounds. Another church set high up on the Blackdown Hills, the original building was most likely Norman in construction, with the west tower being added in the 1300s. The present nave and chancel are dated to the fifteenth century, confirming the existence of an earlier building as towers most certainly do not come first.

Church of St Michael & All Angels, Angersleigh, Somerset

Angersleigh is the sister church to All Saints Trull. The parish is the smallest in the diocese of Bath and Wells, with a population of around sixty. The roughcast-over-rubble building was extensively restored about 1855 when the chapel was added, the chancel arch was rebuilt, the nave crenellated, and church largely refenestrated. The porch was converted into a vestry in 1872 and the church was refitted early in the 1900s. The slate roof was refurbished in the 1960s.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Former Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by South West Heritage Trust.

Images reproduced


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