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Kings College Chapel lies on the northern
side of the main buildings (to the right here). In 1880, at the
school's start there was no permanent chapel. Instead worship was
carried out in a 'Tin Tabernacle'. In 1899 foundations for a
permanent building were laid, but it took until 1908 before it
could be completed. The Vineyard Church has its own base in the
centre of town but also meets in various nearby rooms, such as
in Richard Huish College and The Castle School.
St Joseph's Convent is a large complex of
buildings on the southern side of the St Joseph's Field driveway,
on the western side of South Road. The convent chapel shown here
stands at the back of the complex. Originally part was built as a
hospital between 1772-1775 by P Stowey of Exeter. This was acquired
in 1807 by Franciscan nuns, refugees from Bruges. They extended the
buildings from 1811 but departed the complex in 1976. It now forms
Taunton Baptist Church is often recorded
as Silver Street Baptist Chapel in historical records,
standing as it does on the eastern side of Silver Street,
overlooking the Hurdle Way junction. The first Baptists in Taunton
met at Mary Street (the Unitarian Chapel - see below). Calvinistic
Baptists formed a group in 1814, and in 1815 they built the Silver
Street chapel. On 13 October 2014 the still-thriving congregation
celebrated the chapel's two-hundredth anniversary.
St George's (New) Catholic Church fills
the southern end of Billet Street. In 1787 there is written evidence
of Father George Baldwin being appointed as mission rector in Taunton.
He was not allowed to wear clerical dress in public, or minister to
his flock outside the makeshift registered mission chapel in a house
in Canon Street. In 1822 St George's (Old) Chapel was opened - and
quickly filled up with worshippers. The current St George's was
opened on 24 April 1860.
Taunton United Reformed Church is at the
north-eastern corner of Paul Street and Billetfield. It is sometimes
referred to in records as Paul Street Meeting House or URC.
George Newton, vicar of St Mary Magdalene, and his curate were ejected
from the Church of England in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity. Following
the 1672 Act of Toleration, 'Paul's Meeting' was erected on this site
with Newton as its minister. Rowbarton's Congregationalists joined
them at the union of1968.
Kingdom Faith South West is one of the
new, post-war breed of churches for which recognisable church
buildings are less important than a modern, multi-purpose space and
a congregation that still feels bonded despite twenty-first century
pressures. The Taunton branch of Kingdom Faith opened in 2001,
before gaining its current premises at the south-west corner of Mary
Street and The Mount in 2011, opposite Paul Street United Reformed
Church (see above).
Taunton's Seventh-Day Adventist Church is
on the south side of Mary Street, about forty metres west of Kingdom
Faith South West church (above). The year 1879 was one of the most
important in the church's establishment when John Norton Loughborough
arrived at Southampton. In 1880 he met with Henry Veysey of Taunton
who, in 1881 gained the Somerset district and held meetings in a
school room until a permanent chapel could be acquired in town.
Taunton Unitarian Chapel is on the southern
side of Mary Street, about thirty metres east of the Mount Street junction.
Sometimes referred to as Mary Street Unitarian Chapel and Mary
Street Meeting House, the first building of 1670 was Baptist in origin.
The present (Presbyterian) chapel was built in 1721 and still has the
original interior including Flemish oak pillars in the Corinthian style.
The frontage was rebuilt in the late 1800s and was further modified
St George's Church Wilton is on the northern
side of Fons George as it leaves the Middleway junction. Somewhere
nearby is a spring which gave Wilton its name (presumably taken from
'well-tun [town]'). Stones in the church wall on either side of the
west tower are fragments of Saxon 'long and short' work, the only such
remains in western Somerset. Before the arrival of the Normans this
place was clearly important enough to have a stone church or chapel.
A tower was added to the Saxon chapel in the
second half of the eleventh century, and it survived until 1853
when a new tower was added after the entire church building had
been extended eastwards in 1837. Alterations were also undertaken
in the 1200s and 1400s. When the Catholics refounded a chapel and
then a church of their own in the town and chose St George as
their namesake, they created an element of confusion when trying
to identify individual churches.
Nine photos on this page by P L Kessler, and
one by Kings School Taunton. Former Taunton Deane area church
names and locations kindly confirmed by South West Heritage Trust,
with additional information from The Chapels Society visit to
Mid-Somerset, 28 September 2013, by Peter Daniel, David Dawson,
and Roger Thorne.