Stapley Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was
originally at the far south-eastern end of the narrow lane shown
here, leading from the eastern side of the main road through this
scattered hamlet. The chapel existed by 1888 as shown on the OS map
of 1889, apparently adjoining a larger house. It lay immediately
south of a silk mill which, even by 1888, was disused, with the
chapel probably having been erected to serve its workers. The mill
is now a restored private dwelling.
The tin tabernacle chapel was gradually decaying
and was quite hard to reach - down a very boggy footpath near the
mill stream. By 2019 neither it or its stone foundations could be
found down there. According to a local, the hamlet's now-elderly
historian and mortician would sit as a boy on the stone wall near
the chapel to throw stones at the girls as they came out. Now he
uses the chapel in which to lay out his 'patients', having moved it
to the west side of the road.
The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul
Churchstanton sits on the outside curve of Church Road as it
turns from north to west in this isolated hamlet at the top of the
eastern end of the Blackdown Hills. It dates to the early fourteenth
century, probably with some mid-century additions to confuse the
dating somewhat. It was restored around 1719, while a further
restoration added new seats and a west gallery in 1830. A rood
screen was added about 1910.
The church is built of squared and coursed chert
stone, with a roughcast west end and two-stage tower with ham stone
dressings and quoins, while other dressings are in limestone. The
main entrance is, somewhat unusually, through that west tower. The
interior is rendered, with a four bay pointed arch arcade. It
features some unusual carvings, a Jacobean pulpit, and also a Norman
font. The south porch is blocked off and the chancel is set at an
angle to the nave.
The Church of St Michael & All Angels,
Angersleigh, is on the eastern side of the lane through the middle
of Angersleigh, in wide and open grounds. Another church set high up
on the Blackdown Hills, the original building was most likely Norman
in construction, with the west tower being added in the 1300s. The
present nave and chancel are dated to the fifteenth century,
confirming the existence of an earlier building as towers most
certainly do not come first.
Angersleigh is the sister church to All Saints
Trull. The parish is the smallest in the diocese of Bath and Wells,
with a population of around sixty. The roughcast-over-rubble
building was extensively restored about 1855 when the chapel was
added, the chancel arch was rebuilt, the nave crenellated, and
church largely refenestrated. The porch was converted into a vestry
in 1872 and the church was refitted early in the 1900s. The slate
roof was refurbished in the 1960s.
All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Former
Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by
South West Heritage Trust.