All Saints Church, Rockwell Green, looms
over the northern side of Exeter Road, about thirty metres west of
the Popes Lane junction, and just a short way to the south-west of
the town of Wellington. It was built as a mission church on land
that had been donated by one Samuel Dobree, with construction
proceeding through 1889 and into 1890. Local industrialist Frederick
Thomas Elworthy was the prime benefactor. Consecration took place on
18 February 1890.
The building is in red sandstone lined with
brick, partly in the Perpendicular style, and consisting of chancel,
transepts, a clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, north and south
porches, vestry, organ chamber, and a tower at the south-west angle.
The church can seat four hundred persons. The tower with its
landmark spire (unusual for Somerset) was added in 1907 and a peal
of six bells was installed in 1909. The pulpit and font are carved
in Hamden Hill stone.
Meetings at this particular building have a
somewhat complicated history. They seemingly began as Union
Chapel (Congregationalist), a sister of the church at Wrangway.
That Congregationalist membership had evolved to form Rockwell
Green Baptist Church by the start of the twentieth century, if
not earlier. When that meeting closed in 1983, the present
Rockwell Green Christian Fellowship took over the building in
1996, part of the Barnabas Fellowship of Churches.
Wellington Cemetery Mortuary Chapels stood
close to each other, about halfway inside the cemetery, on the
south-eastern side of the Hilly Head slip off the Exeter Road. The
two chapels consisted of a nonconformist one to the south and an
Anglican one to the north. They were built when the cemetery opened
in 1875 but were demolished at some point in the later twentieth
century. Some foundation and low level details may survive in this
Holy Trinity Church formerly sat on the
south side of Mantle Street in western Wellington, immediately west
of the modern medical centre on a plot that is still marked out by
old stone walls and an elaborate gateway. Revered Thomas erected
this 'elegant chapel' at his own expense in 1831. It was quickly
adopted by 1833 and was a modern building of stone, in the form
of a Latin cross. Made superfluous by All Saints (above) it closed
in 1936, and was demolished in 1966.
St John Fisher's Catholic Church sits on
the north side of Mantle Street, about twenty metres west of the
Champford Lane junction. In the early and mid-1600s a recusant
family, the Porters, lived at Old Court, Mantle Street. They took
services from a priest who masqueraded as their gardener. Before
the present church opened, mass was celebrated in the old town hall.
In 1936 the Popham Almshouses were vacated and the premises
converted into the present church.
All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Former
Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by
South West Heritage Trust. Additional information from Somerset
extensive urban survey: Wellington, Archaeological assessment,
and Kelly's Somersetshire Directory 1889.