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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Somerset

by Peter Kessler, 21 November 2020

SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 35: Churches of Milverton & Houndsmoor

Church of St Michael & All Angels, Milverton, Somerset

The Church of St Michael & All Angels, Milverton, stands in a broad churchyard which sits between Parsonage Lane and St Michael's Hill. Initially a preaching cross here served as the focus of Milverton's religious worship. The base of this cross remains in the churchyard. The earliest church building was composed of wood and thatch. In the eleventh century Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor, provided at her own expense a more durable stone construction.

Church of St Michael & All Angels, Milverton, Somerset

The Normans rebuilt the church, enlarging it and placing a tower on its west end. Around 1350-1360 the church was rebuilt again, this time in a plain Gothic style, much on the plan of the present church. Just as much work was carried out in the fifteenth century, and then again in 1845-1850, with an ambitious renewal programme being undertaken. This unfortunately destroyed much of the earlier work, although it did maintain the plan of the previous structure.

Milverton Church House, Milverton, Somerset

Milverton Church House stands on the western side of Parsonage Lane, at the south-east corner of the churchyard, about sixty metres north of the Fore Street junction. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries almost every parish in Devon had a church house where people met for church ales (church fundraisers) and meetings. Most went out of use after the Reformation to become schools, poor houses, and the like. This one eventually became a private dwelling.

Milverton Independent / Congregational Chapel, Milverton, Somerset

Milverton Independent Chapel is set back from the north side of Silver Street, about twenty-five metres west of the Rosebank Road junction. Complete with schoolroom it was built in 1821, replacing a 1770 chapel. It made the conversion to Milverton Congregational Chapel at some point after 1848. It was reseated and embellished in 1881. Still open post-war, it closed its doors for the last time in 1980 and was later converted into a private dwelling known as Chapel House.

Milverton Bible Christian Chapel, Milverton, Somerset

Milverton Bible Christian Chapel is on the eastern side of Silver Street, about fifty metres south of the Turnpike junction. It was built in 1850, either to replace a previous building on this site or as a first permanent chapel for the town's Bryanite meeting (Bible Christians) which had formed by 1848 (see below). The chapel later became Milverton Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, and today is the town's Methodist Church following the 1932 Methodist union.

Houndsmoor Bible Christian Chape, Houndsmoor, Milverton, Somerset

Houndsmoor Bible Christian Chapel, Houndsmoor, occupies the first plot on the western side of Houndsmoor Lane, about seventy metres north of the junction with the northern fork of Huntash Lane. The chapel existed by 1887 when it was part of the OS map survey of that year. Its subsequent history is unknown, but it seemingly fell out of use soon after the end of the war. The building was later converted for private use and is now known as The Old Chapel.

Four photos on this page by P L Kessler, plus two kindly contributed by Huw Thomas 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 Dr Helen Wilson.


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