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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 19 June 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 22: Churches of Churchstanton to Chelmsine

The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul Churchstanton, Somerset

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 Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul Churchstanton, Somerset

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.

Church of St Michael & All Angels, Angersleigh, Somerset

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.

Church of St Michael & All Angels, Angersleigh, Somerset

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.

Chelmsine Plymouth Brethren Chapel & Burial Ground, Taunton, Somerset

Chelmsine Plymouth Brethren Chapel & Burial Ground is at the south-eastern corner of the Budley-Quants Wood road, where it meets the easterly lane to Lowton, and about a kilometre west of Lowton itself. It is shown on OS maps of the late 1880s to 1910s and with a still-extant burial ground next to it (on its southern flank, shown in part here) which was still very well kept in 2019. It was built about 1880 and was converted into a private residence in the 1990s.

Chelmsine Plymouth Brethren Chapel & Burial Ground, Taunton, Somerset

John Leche Kraushaar (1819-1899) was born in Stepney in East London to a family with German heritage (there was a thriving community of German-speaking ex-pats in this part of London). Having been introduced  to religion by his cousins he later joined the Plymouth Brethren. When he moved to Somerset between 1867 and 1874, he built Chelmsine Chapel and its burial ground. His son John James was buried in Taunton in 1874, but John Leche was buried at Chelmsine.

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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