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Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 26 September 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 29: Churches of Bathealton to Thorne St Margaret

St Bartholomew's Church, Bathealton, Somerset

St Bartholomew's Church, Bathealton, is on the north side of Watery Lane, to the south-east of the hamlet itself. This is believed to be the third building on the  site, with the first being built early in the 1300s. That was followed by an Elizabethan-era structure which benefited from the proceeds of a will in 1542. The chancel was taken down and rebuilt in 1774, followed by further extensive repairs until finally, in 1854, the entire structure was demolished and rebuilt.

Church of St Nicholas, Kittisford, Somerset

The Church of St Nicholas, Kittisford, stands on the northern side of the lane at the centre of this small hamlet. This small church was erected in the 1480s, chiefly in the Decorated style and apparently as a rebuild of an earlier structure whose history seems to be unavailable. The rebuild followed the construction of the nearby Cothay Manor (see below). The north chapel is dated 1659, with some fairly nice vernacular classical details. The west tower has three bells.

Church of St Nicholas, Kittisford, Somerset

The building was fully restored in 1875, which included the full replacement of the now-tiled roofs. It consists of a three-bay nave with a chapel continuing from the south aisle, plus a south porch, the west tower, and a seventeenth century north annexe (now the organ chamber), the latter thanks to Roger Wood of Overtown, Kittisford, who stipulated in his will of 3 September 1657 that two hundred pounds should be donated for the building of a new aisle in the church.

Cothay Barton Chapel, Cothay Barton, Somerset

Cothay Barton Chapel is on the eastern side of the manor buildings, one of the first to be seen when approaching along the main drive from Piley Lane. The site is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914 as a monastery ('remains', but such a monastery may not even have existed) and chapel - the chapel is part of the manor house rather than a potential abbey. The manor dates to the 1300s, but was restored in 1926-1927, while the chapel was formed in 1947.

Church of St Margaret, Thorne St Margaret, Somerset

The Church of St Margaret, Thorne St Margaret, is at the north-west corner of the t-junction which includes Bughole Lane and the Kittisford road. With its dedication to St Margaret of Antioch, patron saint of child-bearing, the church is built of hard red sandstone in the Early English style, with seating for eighty, with parts of that original building surviving a general restoration in 1865. The font is of Saxon origin and is claimed to be one of the oldest in the region.

Church of St Margaret, Thorne St Margaret, Somerset

Other parts from the original church include the tower, the screen which forms part of the vestry wall, and some windows (the church cottage of 1875 is shown here). Worth noting is a brass plate from the old church (circa 1610) which has engraved on it an effigy of John Worth and the coat of arms of this local family. Prior to rebuilding, the church had no east window until 1907 when the beautiful stained glass example was donated by the Cross family of Wellisford Manor.

Five photos on this page kindly contributed by Huw Thomas and one by Alison Day, all 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 from Kelly's Directory of Somerset 1902.


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