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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 15 November 2019

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 12: Churches of Stathe to North Curry

Jubilee Baptist Chapel, Stathe, Somerset

The former Jubilee Baptist Chapel sits on the southern side of the Stoke St Gregory road, about 110 metres west of the Stathe Road junction. It was built in 1887 (the nearer building in this shot) while the extension (on the chapel's eastern flank) is the Sunday School building of 1928. It is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914 as Jubilee Chapel (Baptist) and was still active right after the conclusion of the Second World War. Today it is the Old Chapel.

Stoke St Gregory Baptist Church, Somerset

Stoke St Gregory Baptist Church stands on the northern side of Curload Road, on the western side of Meare Green. The chapel was erected in 1825 as Stoke St Gregory Bible Christian Chapel. A Baptist meeting here was begun by members of North Curry Baptist Church who themselves had been planted by members from Silver Street Baptist Church in Taunton (see links). They bought the chapel in 1869 and formed a church membership of their own in 1894.

St Gregory's Church, Stoke St Gregory, Somerset

St Gregory's Church, Stoke St Gregory, occupies a generous churchyard on the southern side of Woodhill, about fifty metres east of Huntham Lane. The church is medieval, although available sources seem not to be able to mention a date. The register dates from 1561, but much of the building must have been in place prior to that date (although not all, judging by some of the stonework in this photo). A pretty broad general construction period of 1628 to 1828 has been given.

St Gregory's Church, Stoke St Gregory, Somerset

The church is of a cruciform shape, in the Early English and Perpendicular styles. Of the Early English church only the lower stage of the tower and its supporting arches survive, along with the walls of the transepts and chancel, and the south transept's east wall windows. The building was restored in 1886-1888, when much of the original fabric was replaced or repaired and new oak stalls added. The central octagonal tower with lead-covered spire contains five bells.

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, North Curry, Somerset

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, North Curry, lies between Moor Lane, The Fosse, and Church Road in the northern reaches of North Curry. A church was erected here in the ninth century, around the time at which Athelney Abbey was founded (see links). It seems likely that Athelney's monks built North Curry's church, probably a very simple timber structure with a single aisle. Around the year 1100 the timber church was rebuilt in stone, and some parts survive today.

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, North Curry, Somerset

Norman dog-tooth carving can still be seen in the north doorway arch, but that second church was rebuilt around 1300 to supply the present imposing church, nicknamed 'The Cathedral of the Moors'. The octagonal tower is unusual albeit not unique amongst Somerset's churches (nearby Stoke St Gregory's church also has one - see above). While its lower section was built along with the rest of the church, the upper section was only completed later in the century.

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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