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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 1 May 2020. Updated 28 January 2022

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 19: Churches of Fulwood, Pitminster & Blagdon

Fulwood Chapel & Pitminster Congregational Chapel, Somerset

Fulwood Chapel is immediately south of Fulwood Bridge and farm, on the eastern side of the lane. Today it is invisible behind a massive hedge but this older view shows it just after becoming a private residence. Sometimes referred to as Pitminster Congregational Chapel, it started as an Independent meeting around 1709. A Pitminster meeting formed in 1732 and the chapel was built about 1820, paid for by Thomas Welman of Poundisford. It closed around 1956.

Church of St Andrew & St Mary, Pitminster, Somerset

The Church of St Andrew & St Mary, Pitminster, sits at the southern end of a horseshoe-shaped diversion which leads south from the main east-west lane through the village. The church building was erected around 1300, replacing an earlier Saxon building of unknown form and design - probably largely wooden as many Saxon churches were. Following the initial stages of construction there would have been no tower, while the chancel probably also came a little later.

Church of St Andrew & St Mary, Pitminster, Somerset

The main fabric was enlarged in the 1400s, while the unusual tower was built in three distinctive stages involving a square first stage, an octagonal belfry, and a lead-covered spire. The construction is of random rubble local stone, Ham stone dressings, slate roofs, coped verges, and lead roofs on the spire and south porch. There is also a vestry, north-west chapel, three-bay aisled nave with clerestory windows, Lady Chapel, a former south-east chapel, and chancel.

Church of St Andrew & St Mary, Pitminster, Somerset

During a Victorian restoration in 1869, George Gilbert Scott rebuilt the north aisle, south porch, and north-west chapel. The clerestory windows were replaced and the chancel arch was rebuilt. In 1937 the chancel itself was restored by W D Caröe, and in 1979 the Lady Chapel was restored. The interior is distinguished by effigy tombs of three generations of the Colles family, lords of the manor in the 1500s-1600s. Today the church is a Grade I listed building.

Blagdon Congregational Chapel, Blagdon, Somerset

The original Blagdon Congregational Chapel was located on the northern side of Howleigh Lane. Its position was where the small side lane (shown here) is flanked by low stone walls, opposite the site of the later chapel (see below). As shown on OS maps, it was still in use around 1914 (possibly as a Sunday school), but by the 1949-1967 period it had been closed and replaced. The building still stood at this time but was later demolished to leave no trace of its existence.

Blagdon Congregational Chapel, Blagdon, Somerset

The second Blagdon Congregational Chapel sits directly opposite the site of the original chapel (see above), on the southern side of Howleigh Lane, and at the south-west corner of the Blagdon Hill road junction. It was built with chert random rubble in 1837, perhaps with the original chapel as a Sunday school which remained in use into the 1900s. The new chapel became Blagdon Hill United Reformed Church following the union, but is now a private residence.

Five 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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