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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 6 September 2019

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 8: Churches of Rowbarton to Wellsprings

St James Chapel-of-Ease, Rowbarton, Taunton, Somerset

St James Chapel-of-Ease in Rowbarton lies on the western side of Kingston Road, immediately north of The Grove. The history of the various denominations in Rowbarton is somewhat complicated but perhaps surprisingly it was the Anglican church that was first to be active here following the building of the railway. It opened this chapel probably in the 1850s or 1860s. It served its purpose well until replaced by the newly-opened St Andrew's Church in 1881.

St James Chapel-of-Ease, Rowbarton, Taunton, Somerset

In 1869 the Congregationalists and Baptists built a joint chapel on Kingston Road. The Baptists later withdrew and used St James until 1888, when they concentrated on Albemarle Baptist Chapel. The Wesleyan Methodists were last to arrive in Rowbarton, and they also started by using St James following the Baptist withdrawal. In 1893 they built their own chapel. St James, no longer required, was eventually sold. Today (2019) it serves as a used car showroom.

Oakwood Church, Obridge, Taunton, Somerset

Oakwood Church occupies a large building on the western side of Obridge Road, overlooking Lansdowne Road. The building was constructed in 1958 to serve as the Somerset County Records office. Increasing use of the records and increasing numbers of records meant another move, leaving the building free to be purchased by Oakwood Church which had been meeting at the Albemarle Baptist Church for twenty years. They arrived here in August 2012 amid some publicity.

St Theresa's Catholic Church Priorswood, Taunton, Somerset

St Theresa of Lisieux's Catholic Church, Priorswood, is on the eastern side of Eastwick Road in northern Taunton, overlooking the junction with Lyngford Road. With St George's Catholic Church already firmly established in Taunton, in 1959 this second Catholic church was opened to serve a rapidly expanding post-war town. Previously, in 1954, Taunton had been twinned with Lisieux, providing the dedication for this church. The relics of St Teresa of Lisieux visited in 2009.

St Peter's Church Lyngford, Taunton, Somerset

St Peter's Church Lyngford sits back on the southern side of Eastwick Road, overlooking the junction with Selworthy Road. It lies just a short way north-west of St Theresa's Catholic Church (above). It was originally built to serve a large post-war development to the north-east of central Taunton which became known as 'Lyngford' to parishioners and 'Priorswood' to most other locals, creating some confusion when it came to keeping records. The building is moderately sized.

Wellsprings Chapel, Taunton, Somerset

Wellsprings Chapel is on the western side of Quantock Road, immediately north of the junction with Wellsprings Road. Built at a point between 1950 and the 1970s, the chapel has long held its doors open for the local community with its 'Cafe Connect' project. Having received unconditional planning permission by the start of 2019, a major extension to the premises was begun, adding a new wing onto the northern side, with the work being completed by December 2019.

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

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