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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 19 June 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 23: Churches of Five Cross Way to Rockwell Grn

Five Cross Way Plymouth Brethren Chapel, Taunton, Somerset

Five Cross Way Plymouth Brethren Chapel occupies a large section of the v-shape formed by the meeting point of Silver Street from West Buckland and a local north-east-heading lane, with three more lanes branching off to the south which includes Wildmoor Lane - the five ways to cross here. The chapel existed by 1887, as shown on the 1888 OS map. It remained in use by its congregation after the war but later closed and was converted into a private residence.

Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, West Buckland, Somerset

The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, West Buckland, is at the west edge of the village, accessed from Silver Street at the war memorial via Church Drive. A Norman church originally stood here, but it was replaced in the thirteenth century - roughly between 1275-1300 - by the present chert random rubble structure. Ordinarily known as St Mary the Virgin, the aisles were added in the early 1300s, the south chapel in the late 1300s, and the north chapel about 1509.

Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, West Buckland, Somerset

It consists of a two-bay aisled nave, chancel, and north and south chapels with hammerbeam roof, and a crenellated three-stage tower dating from 1509. The six bells are from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the oldest dating from 1606. It was cast and hung by George Purdue of Taunton. The church also has a Purbeck marble font. Between 1838 and 1891 there was a gallery which over the years accommodated a barrel organ, the church band, and the church singers.

Ford Street Plymouth Brethren Chapel, Taunton, Somerset

Ford Street Plymouth Brethren Chapel is mostly hidden from sight up a narrow, wooden-gated private footpath on Ford Street's northern side, about a hundred metres north of the turning for Gortnell Farm. The chapel is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1888 (surveyed in 1887), although a date of construction is not available. It was seemingly already closed by the time of the Second World War. Today it is a private residence which is part of a larger property to its east.

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 which 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.

Four photos on this page by P L Kessler, with two kindly contributed by Alison Day via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Former Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly confirmed by South West Heritage Trust. Additional information by Alison Day, and from Somerset extensive urban survey: Wellington, Archaeological assessment, and Kelly's Somersetshire Directory 1889.

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