Meet the building

Detail of the buildingThe building that you can walk into today was mostly built at the end of the 1400s, it’s set out like a traditional parish church with the chancel (the most important and richly decorated part) at the East end, and the Nave (where the normal people sit and stand) going from the middle to the West end.  You can see from the outside that there used to be a door on the North side (opposite the main entrance).  The large area to the South of the Chancel was originally partitioned off with wooden screens as a separate chapel, this would have been paid for and used by aristocrats so that they didn’t have to worship alongside the farmers and workers.

The building used to have a gallery underneath the tower, but this was removed in a re-ordering in 1827. English Heritage decided in 1959 that this building was valuable enough to be added to the Grade 1 list.  This means that it is a ‘building of exceptional interest’, along with 9,350 other buildings around the country (4,000 of which are religious buildings).

Detail of the buildingTo put the building’s age into perspective, the 1400s was the same century as the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the War of the Roses and Christopher Columbus landing in America.  The earliest evidence of a church building before the current building comes from the 1100s (the same century that Robin Hood and Genghis Khan lived).  The only parts of earlier churches that have survived and remained are the tympanum above the South door, and a window situated to the North of the tower at the West End.

The special parts of our building include the stained glass windows from the 1400s which have saints in them - very little stained glass this old still remains in the UK, and we’ve got a big collection of them. We also have a great set of stone Hunky Punks (ornamental carvings) on the outside of our building; our Hunky Punks include lions, dragons, mythical beasts, and people pulling faces.  Look out for your opportunity to make or buy your very own cuddly Hunky Punk toy as part of the New Saints project. They were on disaply during Somerset Art Weeks in September 2013. The church’s finest internal features are a rare original wooden ceiling from the 1400s in the Chancel (at the East end), and full windows dedicated and sponsored by local champions like the Bagehot family and the Stuckey family at the end of the 1800s.

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