History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 31 October 2010



North Somerset Part 1: Churches of Bleadon, Uphill & Kewstoke

The Church of St Peter & St Paul

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Bleadon, stands in the very centre of the village, on the eastern side of Coronation Road. A Saxon church, probably wooden, may have existed on the site, but nothing physically remains of it. However, the double dedication of St Peter & St Paul was commonly used for Saxon churches as the two saints shared the same feast day. There is also an Anglo-Saxon charter for Bleadon dated 956 which defines the boundaries of the parish.

The Church of St Peter & St Paul

In 1297 a priest, the first recorded, was appointed to Bleadon. The present chancel was built in 1317, while the east wall was some twelve feet further east, with a sacristy connected to it. The tower was built in the early fifteenth century following the collapse of its predecessor, with a ring of six bells, the earliest of which may date to the start of the seventeenth century. The stone pulpit carved with Tudor flowers and vines, dates from about 1460, one of only sixty remaining.

The (New) Church of St Nicholas

The (New) Church of St Nicholas, Uphill, is on the western side of Uphill Road South, close to the Moseley Grove turning, towards the northern end of the village. The original St Nicholas was Norman, probably founded about 1080 and re-consecrated in 1129. That building at the top of the hill was abandoned when the Victorian church pictured here replaced it (the original survives as a managed ruin). The foundation stone of the new church was laid in 1892.

Uphill (Wesleyan) Methodist Church

Uphill (Wesleyan) Methodist Church stands on the eastern side of Uphill Road South, just a few metres south of the Victorian parish church. The chapel building was opened 1841, built on a plot of land purchased the year before for just five pounds. The site also housed a schoolroom for the village which was re-used during the war years for evacuee children. In 1959 the building was damaged by fire, following which it was extensively modernised and re-dedicated in 1965.

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church, Kewstoke is on the northern side of Kewstoke Road, opposite Monks Hill, in the western centre of the sprawling village. Wordspring Priory was founded nearby in 1210 by William de Courtny, although part of it has been converted into a farmhouse while the rest is now ruins. The Norman church was built in the twelfth century, with alterations made in the thirteenth century to the nave. The tower was added in 1395, and the clerestory in the fifteenth century.

St Paul's Church

The clerestory, the upper windowed portion, is an unusual feature in a small church with one aisle. The north doorway, now blocked, dates to the fourteenth century. The south chapel behind its modern small screen was originally a chantry chapel but after the reformation it was used by the lord of the manor as a manorial pew until the 1800s. The modern rood screen was erected in 1938. The tower was recently greatly repaired. There is also Kewstoke Chapel in the village.

All photos on this page contributed by Colin Hinson.

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