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Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 19 June 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 23: Churches of Rockwell Green & Wellington

All Saints Church, Rockwell Green, Somerset

All Saints Church, Rockwell Green, looms over the northern side of Exeter Road, about thirty metres west of the Popes Lane junction, and just a short way to the south-west of the town of Wellington. It was built as a mission church on land that had been donated by one Samuel Dobree, with construction proceeding through 1889 and into 1890. Local industrialist Frederick Thomas Elworthy was the prime benefactor. Consecration took place on 18 February 1890.

All Saints Church, Rockwell Green, Somerset

The building is in red sandstone lined with brick, partly in the Perpendicular style, and consisting of chancel, transepts, a clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, north and south porches, vestry, organ chamber, and a tower at the south-west angle. The church can seat four hundred persons. The tower with its landmark spire (unusual for Somerset) was added in 1907 and a peal of six bells was installed in 1909. The pulpit and font are carved in Hamden Hill stone.

Rockwell Green Christian Fellowship, Rockwell Green, Somerset

Meetings at this particular building have a somewhat complicated history. They seemingly began as Union Chapel (Congregationalist), a sister of the church at Wrangway. That Congregationalist membership had evolved to form Rockwell Green Baptist Church by the start of the twentieth century, if not earlier. When that meeting closed in 1983, the present Rockwell Green Christian Fellowship took over the building in 1996, part of the Barnabas Fellowship of Churches.

Wellington Cemetery Mortuary Chapels, Wellington, Somerset

Wellington Cemetery Mortuary Chapels stood close to each other, about halfway inside the cemetery, on the south-eastern side of the Hilly Head slip off the Exeter Road. The two chapels consisted of a nonconformist one to the south and an Anglican one to the north. They were built when the cemetery opened in 1875 but were demolished at some point in the later twentieth century. Some foundation and low level details may survive in this re-used space.

Holy Trinity Church, Wellington, Somerset

Holy Trinity Church formerly sat on the south side of Mantle Street in western Wellington, immediately west of the modern medical centre on a plot that is still marked out by old stone walls and an elaborate gateway. Revered Thomas erected this 'elegant chapel' at his own expense in 1831. It was quickly adopted by 1833 and was a modern building of stone, in the form of a Latin cross. Made superfluous by All Saints (above) it closed in 1936, and was demolished in 1966.

St John Fisher's Catholic Church, Wellington, Somerset

St John Fisher's Catholic Church sits on the north side of Mantle Street, about twenty metres west of the Champford Lane junction. In the early and mid-1600s a recusant family, the Porters, lived at Old Court, Mantle Street. They took services from a priest who masqueraded as their gardener. Before the present church opened, mass was celebrated in the old town hall. In 1936 the Popham Almshouses were vacated and the premises converted into the present church.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Former Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by South West Heritage Trust. Additional information from Somerset extensive urban survey: Wellington, Archaeological assessment, and Kelly's Somersetshire Directory 1889.

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