The Parish Church of St Michael, Creech
St Michael, is on the east side of Bull Street, a short way below
the Vicarage Lane junction. Probably the oldest building in the
parish, parts of it were erected in the twelfth century (it was
owned by Montacute Priory from around 1105). A vicar was appointed
in 1362, and the priory's appropriation of the church was confirmed.
By 1532 the church was dedicated as All Saints Church, with
St Michael replacing this by 1742.
Next door to the church is the former Riverside
Inn which was also once a monastic building. The church itself,
built in rubble with ashlar dressings, consists of nave, chancel,
four bays, aisles, and a tower on the north side (a west tower is
far more usual). Nave and chancel were probably undivided in the
early 1200s - the chancel arch is an insertion of the 1400s, while
the nave's fine wagon roof is of the same date. There are several
medieval wall paintings inside the church.
St George's Church, Ruishton ('town of the
[River Tone's] rushes'), is in the fork between Church Lane and
Drake's Close at the village's northern tip. Christianity may have
existed amongst Somerset's Dumnonian Britons, but Rome's updated
form of it only arrived with the building of a Saxon minster church
in Taunton in the 700s. Its missionary priests established a
preaching place (or perhaps a chapel) in Ruishton, presumably on the
site of today's church building.
In 1120 the local manor churches were granted
to Taunton's new Augustinian priory. It may have been the priory's
canons who inspired the building of a new church in the same
century, with a highly popular dedication. Its Norman remains can
still be seen at the south door, but much was replaced over many
centuries of improvements. By the 1500s work started on the west
tower, but construction of this equal of any other Somerset tower
was forever halted by the Reformation.
Nonconformity was apparently late in arising in
Ruishton. A preaching station here was closed by 1850 but it is
believed that the Congregationalists had a 'tin chapel' in the
village later than this date, which would effectively have acted
as Ruishton Congregational Chapel. Unfortunately neither
the location of the preaching station or the tin church are known,
so this shot looks along Ruishton to provide a general view which
includes the village school on the right.
The Church of the Holy Cross, Thornfalcon,
stands at the eastern end of Church Lane in this small hamlet. It
has its origins in the later part of the thirteenth century,
although much of that fabric was replaced by rebuilding from the
late fourteenth century on. It underwent a much more comprehensive
restoration in 1882 by Benjamin Ferrey. Then the rendered two-stage
tower was restored in 1912, the church restored again in 1920, and
the vestry added in 1958.
All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Former
Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by
South West Heritage Trust.