MAIN ROAD (North side)
Church of St Mary the Virgin
(Formerly listed as Church of St Mary)
Anglican parish church. C13, C14, predominantly C15, C16, restored late C19 and 1933-39 by the Caroe practice. Coursed and squared rubble, freestone dressings, lead sheeting and slate roofs, coped verges, cruciform finials. Nave, chancel, north and south aisles, north and south porches, north and south transepts, north vestry, west tower.
Mainly Perpendicular with Decorated chancel. Lofty tower of four stages, embattled parapet with quatrefoil arcading, set-back buttresses connected diagonally across the angle, they terminate in pinnacles on the bell-chamber stage; lowest stage blank on north and south sides, west face with large four-light window and a door; on the stage above traceried two-light windows on four sides, flanking niches, canopies, some remains of statuary; similar treatment to the stage above. Bell-stage with three transomed traceried windows set together on each face, flanking pinnacles; above square pinnacles with pennants and intermediate pinnacles; polygonal stair-turret to north with battlements; gargoyles, clock to south.
Long five bay nave, embattled, gargoyles; clerestory three-light windows with tracery, four-centred heads. Four bay aisles, to south embattled, to north with plain parapet, three-light traceried windows with pointed-arch heads; gargoyles, buttresses. Embattled parapet continues over buttressed gabled south porch, niche with canopy to gable face, doorway with panelled arch, paired C18 dog-gates with iron cresting. Buttressed south transept with initials:- "RB", (Richard Beere, Abbot of Glastonbury 1499-1524), and emblem of a pelican on the buttresses; embattled parapet, traceried three-light windows; at its junction with the chancel an odd slender buttress which may be the evidence of a former central tower.
North transept with tall transomed three-light north window; large attached chimney of C19. Small north porch, moulded inner and outer door openings, C18 outer door with panelling. Two bay chancel, two-light traceried Decorated windows, except a three-light Perpendicular window to south-west, priest's door to south, four-light neo-Perpendicular east window; polygonal rood stair, by Caroe. Small vestry, C13 with a big buttress to north and a lancet window, further later lancet to east.
Interior of south porch plastered, flagstone floor, restored C15 roof, angel corbels; restored traceried inner door with latch mechanism by Caroe. Interior of church plastered on flagstone floors, inset with many C17, C18 and C19 memorials including matrix of a former brass. Six bay arcades, piers of four-hollows section; panelled arches to transepts with angel busts; panelled chancel and tower arches. Fan-vault under tower; nave under good roof, low pitch, big tie-beams, short arched-braces, angel busts, kingposts, close tracery of two tiers to left and right, beam over rood carved with initials:- "RB"; angel corbels.
Panelled lean-to roofs to aisles, bosses, again on angel corbels. Panelled roof to south transept. North transept with plastered wagon roof; C19 wagon roof to chancel. Vested figure of a priest in north transept, C13, in niche with restored cusped head. Chancel windows with shafted rere arches. Hagioscope. Piscinae to transepts. Good set of C15 bench ends, large tracery motifs, some poppy heads, one with initials:- "RB". C14 font, C19 cover. Jacobean altar table; chest dated 1670. Victorian pews, pulpit and brass lectern. Much work by Caroe including rood screen with loft, readers incorporating medieval work, benches, altar rails and altar tables. Organ case probably also designed by Caroe, though the instrument itself is earlier. Six principal C19 wall monuments.
Majority of windows with plain leaded lights, iron saddle and stanchion bars. Some remains of medieval glass to north and south transepts and to south west window of the chancel. Six bells, two of C18. Early clock mechanism. Following the Battle of Sedgemoor, July 6 1685, some 500 defeated rebels were imprisoned in the church for a short time.
(Photographs in NMR).
Listing NGR: ST3516934790