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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,
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.
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, 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 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
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.
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.