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Gallery: Churches of Somerset
by Peter Kessler, 21 November 2020
SW&T (Taunton Deane) Part 36:
Churches of Preston Bowyer to Cotford St Luke
Preston Bowyer Chantry, Preston Bowyer,
is on the north side of the B3227, level with the village bus stop.
A medieval chantry existed here, although a dedication is not known.
The present long house may not be the original building - and is
doubtless much altered and expanded if it is. Instead it may have
been built out of the core of the chantry structure in the late
1400s. British Listed Buildings gives it a late-1400s construction
date to support this idea.
Hillcommon Bible Christian Chapel is on
the southern side of Hillcommon Road (B3227), about three hundred
metres east of the junction with Cox's Lane. It was erected in 1846,
although a date of 1842 is also claimed, soon after Hillcommon had
first been built up. At some point it became Hillcommon Wesleyan
Methodist Chapel (probably late 1800s). This red sandstone
random rubble chapel closed after the conclusion of the Second World
War, before 1974.
The Church of St John the Baptist Heathfield
with Cotford St Luke is set back behind a large gate and high
hedges on the western side of the road through the hamlet of
Heathfield, opposite large farm buildings. It is shown on the OS
25-inch combined map of 1892-1914 as sitting on the northern flank
of Heathfield House which still survives, practically unchanged in
its footprint. The church itself dates to the thirteenth century,
although it has been much altered since then.
The tower aside, the church underwent substantial
rebuilding in 1869-1870, which is when the vestry was added, although
the chancel had already been rebuilt in 1841 by Edward Ashworth. Today
the building consists of a general red sandstone random rubble build,
with slate roofs, decorative ridge tiles, coped verges on the porch,
a west tower, two-bay nave, south-east former chapel (now the organ
chamber) adjoining the south porch, and the three-stage tower.
St Luke's Church, Somerset & Bath
Lunatic Asylum, Cotford St Luke, stands on the southern side of
Graham Way, opposite the Stutts End turning. The chapel was built
in 1897-1898 by Giles, Gough, & Trollope who also designed the
hospital. It served the asylum and then Tone Vale Hospital when the
asylum was converted. Now much of the former asylum grounds have been
given over to a housing estate. By 2009 the chapel was a free house
St Luke's Centre sits at the south-west
end of Rogers Walk, which leads south from Graham Way. It was built
on the very western edge of what used to be the Somerset & Bath
Lunatic Asylum buildings (now gone, although the former chapel
survives - see above). The centre was officially opened by the
bishop of Bath and Wells on 21 October 2018, seemingly to make up
for the closure of the former asylum chapel and also to be more
local than St John, Heathfield (above).
All photos on this page by P L Kessler.
Former Taunton Deane area church names and locations kindly
confirmed by South West Heritage Trust.