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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 21 November 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 32: Churches of Waterrow to Chipstable

Waterrow Church Hall, Waterrow, Somerset

Waterrow Church Hall, Waterrow, is on the western side of the West Skirdle lane, about a hundred and twenty metres north of the junction with Bibors Hill. In the 1800s Waterrow was bigger than its neighbour, Chipstable (see below). The hall was built in 1906-1908 for services and social events to avoid the long climb to the Chipstable church. Congregationalists also met here until their Bethel Chapel opened in 1890 (below). Now upgraded, the church hall remains in use.

Bethel Chapel (Congregational/Interdenominational), Waterrow (East Skirdle), Somerset

Bethel Chapel (Congregational/Interdenominational), Waterrow (East Skirdle), is the second building on the northern side of the old road through East Skirdle to the north-east of the junction with the Chipstable road. Between 1854 and 1890 Congregationalists held meetings in cottages and the church hall (above). The opening of the new chapel provided a long-awaited home for the meeting. It remained in use until after 1982, but has since been converted for private use.

Church of St Michael, Raddington, Somerset

The Church of St Michael, Raddington, is at the northern end of a long lane that leads off the Chipstable to Petton road in the scattered hamlet of Raddington. Accessible only on foot, a church existed here by 1262. The dedication existed by 1510. The building comprises a chancel, nave with south porch, and western tower. The present building dates from the fourteenth century at the latest, its door including ironwork belong to the second half of that particular century.

Church of St Michael, Raddington, Somerset

Two of the four bells until around 1971 dated from the 1370s. One was then transferred to St Peter & St Paul Church in Odcombe in South Somerset. The chancel screen, which sits below a plastered tympanum and has retained medieval paintwork under later colouring, is also thought to date from before 1400. Until the late 1800s the rood beam was in its original position west of the screen. The font is of a 1200s Purbeck type, and the floor has late medieval tiles.

All Saints Church, Chipstable, Somerset

All Saints Church, Chipstable, is at the south-western corner of the junction between Newhouse Lane and the Stoneridge Lane connector. It bore its dedication by 1531 but a building existed here by 1239. The medieval building, comprising chancel, nave with south aisle and south porch, and west tower, with windows of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, was demolished in 1869 except for the tower, and was replaced by a building in the Geometrical style.

All Saints Church, Chipstable, Somerset

The rebuilding work was carried out by Benjamin Ferrey. The old arcade, with angel capitals, and bench ends carved with the Bluet arms, Renaissance heads, and a huntsman, were retained. Ownership of the early church was confirmed to the monks of Muchelney Abbey in 1239. Five bells were recast in 1861 and a sixth was added in 1901. The plate includes a cup that is dated to 1792. The registers date from 1694, but volumes from 1559 were still in existence in 1812.

Four photos on this page kindly contributed by Huw Thomas and two by Tony Ethridge, 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.


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