Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 36020 14572



ST3614 SILVER STREET 1939-1/7/116 (North side) 23/09/50 Parish Church of St Mary


Parish church. C15, refurbished 1825 by William Burgess; chancel restored 1883; church partly restored 1887-9 and 1902. Ham Hill stone and Moolham stone ashlar with some blue lias limestone; lead roof. Cruciform plan with crossing tower and east vestry. Perpendicular style. EXTERIOR: String course below the castellated parapet which has a moulded border to vestry, north sides of the chancel, transepts, aisles, nave and south porch. All windows and doors, unless mentioned, are pointed-arched with hoodmoulds; windows have Perpendicular tracery. Offset buttresses are diagonal to the tops, set-back at the corners, unless otherwise mentioned. The vestry, attached to the east of the chancel, below the east window, has a central door under a hoodmould with carved shields in the spandrels; gargoyles to the corners and above the door. The south side has a 2-light window with cinquefoil heads under a hoodmould; the north has a similar one-light window. The chancel has blue lias limestone walls and buttresses and Ham Hill stone plinth, parapet and dressings: 3-bays, with 3-light windows to the sides and a 5-light to the east gable end, and gargoyles to the corners, though that to the south-west has fallen. The central bay on the north side has a door. The gable has a cross-in-circle finial. The north transept, the Wadham Chantry Chapel, is late C15 and more ornate, with large windows articulated by elaborately-decorated buttresses: 3-bays; the north window is 5-light, the mullions to the outer 2 lights curve outward to the architrave to form pointed arches flanking a central non-circular rose-like window of radiating dagger tracery; Tudor-arched 3-light windows to the sides with transoms; the lower lights have round arches with cinquefoil heads. Buttresses have trefoil-headed panels to each section, with bird-like sculptures to the central pair; the parapet has teardrop-shaped panels containing shields and quatrefoils, and square columns below the richly-crocketed finials and continues above the north gable, with crocketed finials flanking the window arch, and another at the apex. The north aisle is 5-bays with slender 3-light windows. The north porch is single-storey with diagonal buttresses. The south transept is 2-bays with 3-light windows; the south window has 5-lights with a transom; the gable has a pointed string course, gargoyles, and a moulded cornice to the shouldered parapet. The south aisle is 5-bays with slender 3-light windows without dripmoulds. The south porch is higher than that to the north, with diagonal buttresses and a pediment breaking through the cornice; the tympanum has 6 panels with cinquefoil cusping, and 6 similar long panels below; the door has a crocketed ogee architrave. 3-bay nave with 4-centred-arched clerestorey windows of 4-lights. West front, dated 1824, has a shallow gable with a pointed string course ending as gargoyles below a pointed shouldered parapet to the gable end, in the apex of which is a gabled niche; the central C20 door in a moulded arch is below a 5-light stained-glass window with cusped ogee arches to each light and tracery above; this is set in a casement-moulded arch with a run-out dripmould; the buttresses, which change to diagonal at springer-level, have recessed trefoil-head panels at parapet-level. The aisles have similar 3-light windows in casement moulding but without dripmoulds; sloping string courses terminate as gargoyles, below the castellated parapet. The tower rises 2 storeys above the nave, 3 bays, with a stair turret to the north-west corner: bays are articulated by slender buttresses with crocketed finials above the castellated parapet; each bay on both stages contains a tall 2-light mullioned-and-transomed window with tracery; lights to the top are filled with pierced stone-work, those to the base are solid; the stair turret has string courses coinciding with those on the tower, and a spirelet with a weathervane. INTERIOR: The chancel: window arches have deep casement moulding; the east window has 5 lights with geometric tracery and C19 stained glass, above an elaborate c1910 reredos of Caen stone flanked by doors to the vestry; the 3 bays are articulated by engaged columns on which stand wooden figures supporting the carved main rafters, between which are moulded trusses with fretted infill; the ridge, main rafters and purlins are also moulded and the wall-plate is brattished; the floor, early C19, is of coloured marble in a bold geometrical design. The arches to the central crossing, below the tower, have trefoil-headed panels; at the corners are shafted columns with round capitals supporting trefoil fan-vaulting, and large squints to each side. The south transept, called the Lady Chapel, is simple, the main feature being the Walrond tomb; this is in the south-east corner dated 1553, pedimented, with 3 large circles at the angles containing coats-of-arms, above a large panel with the Walrond crest flanked by realistically carved skulls; the base has 4 pilasters on a plinth. The nave arcade, altered in 1825, has 3 widely-set Tudor-style arches supported by the original piers with round capitals to engaged colonnettes. The clerestory has 4-light windows with similar arches, each light having a cinquefoil head. The C19 roof has 6 bays; corbels, supporting C19 trusses, rest on colonnettes with C15 head-stops to the bases between the arches. The c1900 oak-fronted organ loft and choir gallery to the west has billeted and foliate mouldings to the base and open-fretted panels to the top; 4 canopied niches contain carved wooden statues. The north transept, called The Wadham Chapel or St Catherine's Chapel, is separated from the crossing by a Jacobean panelled wooden screen with a double row of bobbin balusters and thin metal spikes to the top. The roof is similar to, but more richly carved than, that of the chancel. The principle features are the Wadham tombs; those of Sir William Wadham and his mother, dated 1452 and Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham 1609 and 1618. The former is an altar-tomb, with a slab of Purbeck marble approx 3m long, bearing fine brasses of canopies, figures and inscriptions, on a plinth surrounded by crocketed ogee-headed niches for weepers; the west end has a damaged tableau of Christ in glory flanked by Sir William and his mother. He is reputed to be the builder of this transept and the tower. The latter tomb, in the north-east corner, is of alabaster and marble. Above a slab of black marble bearing brasses and inscriptions is a kind of reredos bearing an escutcheon of their arms and a laudatory Latin inscription. FURNISHINGS: St Catherine's Chapel has a notable 20-branch candelabra. Other furnishings include 2 polished 8-branched candelabra with inscriptions: "The gift of Will Raw, Tho.Bayley fecit 1762" - these would seem to be cut down from 5 similar ones recorded in 1904. The pulpit is part of a larger Jacobean one; C19 brass lecturn; the organ was brought from St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol in the C19; there are 2 oak chests, probably C16 or C17 with strap hinges, at the east end of the nave. Mid/late C19 stained glass. (Street J: The Mynster on the Ile: Taunton: 1904-: 317-342; Buildings of England: Pevsner N: South and West Somerset: London: 1958-: 207-8; Colvin H: A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects: London: 1600-1840: 157).

Listing NGR: ST3601714575


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Colvin, H M, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, (1978), 157
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, (1958), 207-8
Street, J, The Mynster on the Ile Taunton, (1904), 317-342


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 03 Jun 2004
Reference: IOE01/12479/21
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Michael Perry. Source Historic England Archive
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