Blagdon Hill Nonconformist Chapel is
inside the tight v-shape formed by the junction on the western side
of the Taunton road with the Churchstanton road, about halfway up
the steep hill climb here. The chapel was in existence at least by
about 1900, and is shown on the combined OS 25-inch map of
1880-1910s. It survived into the 1920s (OS 1:1m to 1:63k,
1920s-1940s), and at least until about 1940 (Bartholomew Half
Inch 1940-1947). It is now a private residence.
Otterford Nonconformist Chapel is on the
eastern side of a northbound lane, a little under two hundred metres
north of the fork which sees the B3170 diverging to the north-east,
and some way to the north-east of Otterford itself. Known also as
Blackdown Nonconformist Mission Chapel, it may have been built
in the 1700s, or early 1800s. The 'British School (mixed)' was added
some metres to the south in 1874. The chapel later closed and became
a private residence.
The Church of St Leonard, Otterford, is on
the eastern flank of Church Farm and the northern side of the acesss
lane in otherwise open countryside. Its earliest record dates to 1158
- the 'Chapel of Otriforde' was granted to Taunton Priory (see links)
by the then-bishop of Winchester, whose seat held the parish in AD
854-1822. The history of the parish and the manor are closely
intertwined, this likely being the reason that no village developed
around the isolated church.
It is not known exactly when the church was
built. Local belief is that it was a pilgrim church, a half-way
resting place for pilgrims travelling between Exeter and
Glastonbury. Externally it has a simple form with a high tower,
nave, aisle, and chancel. The south elevation has changed little
over the centuries, but the north aisle was added in 1861, at
which time a good deal of the rest of the building's fabric was
heavily restored. Only the tower escaped such attention.
Churchinford Baptist Chapel is on the
western side of Gillards Mead, about two hundred metres north of the
village square. It was built in 1846 as a chapelry - or mission - of
Newhouses Independent Baptist Church, near Upottery in Devon. The
plain brick bell cote was added in the mid-1900s. The building
consists of rendering over rubble, with a slate roof. The internal
plan is of a single cell. The chapel closed late in the twentieth
century and is now a private residence.
Churchinford Old Chapel lies on the road
verge on the southern side of Moor Lane, immediately north of
Fairhouse Farm and close to Churchingford Mill to the east of the
village itself. The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and
Ireland (1868) notes the remains of an ancient church here, with
no further details. The OS 25-inch combination map of 1892-1914 also
marks it as the site of the chapel, most certainly a small one given
its present size. Since 2009 it has become a cottage.
All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Former
Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by
South West Heritage Trust.