...keeping Somerset's churches & chapels alive

Our first event for 2020 is a church crawl on Saturday 21 March visiting St Peter & St Paul’s Church,Odcombe (pictured) St Catherines’s Church, Montacute and St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Chiselborough. See below for full details.

The Allchurches Trust Roof Alarm Grant has been increased and extended to 31st December 2020. We can now give up £2,500 towards installing as alarm.

At The National Churches Trust “Local Treasures - People and Places” awards ceremony on 15th November 2019 Graham Harris of Leigh on Mendip was presented with an award for “his dedication and service to his church, community and for encouraging visitors and helping the Somerset Churches Trust through the East Mendips Churches Heritage Trail”. Our Treasurer, Tony Davies was there. Read his full report of the event by clicking on the headline.

21 Mar 20 02:00 PM Fine Churches of South Somerset

Our First Event for 2020
Fine Churches of South Somerset 

Our first event is a church crawl on Saturday, 21st March starting at 2pm at Odcombe, then to Montacute, and ending at Chiselborough with tea.

Book in with Simon Colledge on 01460 75815 or by email:

ODCOMBE: St Peter & St Paul’s Church,Dray Road, Odcombe, Yeovil, BA2 28U
13thC in origin, the church we see today is mainly C15 with restored Victorian restoration and a north transept added in 1874. The unusual west door is thought to have been relocated from elsewhere and is carved with spandrels under a deep square label moulding, complete with headstops.
The interiors, being mainly 19thC, contain some 25 stained glass windows, as well as a wall plaque commemorating Thomas Coryate. Famous for his book ‘Coryate’s Crudities’ - chronicling his travels through 17thC Europe - he is credited with introducing the dinner fork and the parasol into England. On to Montacute.

MONTACUTE: St Catherines’s Church, Middle St, Montacute. TA15 6UU
Beginning its life as the burial chapel in the grounds of a Cluniac Priory, the present church dates from the 12thC with 13th, 14th& 15thC additions, though heavily ‘restored’in 1870. However, the Victorians did retain an old Norman door arch (with signs of fire damage) & the later north porch with 1stfloor parvise. Many of the memorials are dedicated to the Phileps family, once owners of Montacute House.
To the south of the church, the magnificent priory gatehouse, dovecote and fishpond can still be seen. On to Chiselboriough.

CHISELBOROUGH: St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Church Lane, Chiselborough, Stoke sub Hamdon. TA14 6TR
With 12thC origins and a C17 chancel, the ham stone coursed rubble walls and welsh slate roof, stand tall to the west of the village. However it is the magnificent 13thC spire set over the unusually positioned central tower - located between the nave & the chancel - that dominates the area.
The interior is lit by tall single windows bringing light onto the white walls, while the stained glass shields in the west window are those of the Strangways (Earls of Ilchester) and the Wyndham families, who both held the Manorial rights to Chiselborough at one time.
Tea here – donations please.

Book with Simon Colledge: tel: 01460 75815 email

Notes from William's Travels

The first in an occasional series

William Newsom one of our trustees is on a mission to visit every church in Somerset. He is reporting back when he comes across anything unusual. There is always something new to discover in churches and William's first unusual find are mass dials. Sometimes known as scratch dials, these date from the time before clocks, and were a means of knowing when the next mass was to be said.  Effectively simple sundials, they are to be found scratched on the south facing wall of a church and are circular, usually about a foot wide, with a hole in the middle into which was fixed a wooden peg projecting out at right angles and various lines radiating out from the centre. As the sun traversed the sky the peg cast a shadow indicating the time at which services were held. Many churches in Somerset dating from the 15th century and earlier have them.  The church of Holy Trinity, Newton St Loe has two alongside the south porch.

The church of St Bartholomew’s, Ubly has one in the north porch which is in the wrong place as it was moved from the south wall when a major restoration was carried out in the 19
th century.


Allchurches Trust have increased the amount they will give towards the cost of installing a roof alarm. We can now give up to a maximum of £2,500. With metal prices on the rise theft of lead is more than likely to increase. Make the most of this one off opportunity to protect your church. Apply now before it's too late.

• Better cover for lead theft from Ecclesiastical Insurance.
• You can still apply if an alarm is being installed but not yet paid for.
• Must be installed by an approved installer and main- tained for at least 5 years.
• Application is easy! Download a form from our website:, complete, and send to our Grants Secretary:
Anthony Sutcliffe, Corner Well House, Barton Road, Butleigh, Glastonbury BA6 8TL.
If you would like any more information, please contact him: tel: 01458 851324, mobile: 07785 225565, email: anthony.

Download an Application Form here

A Welcome from the Chairman

Welcome to our website. We are an independent, non-denominational trust raising money for the repair and improvement of churches and chapels open for Christian worship in the historic county of Somerset. The Trust, founded in 1996 under the name Friends of Somerset Churches and Chapels, exists to encourage interest and the involvement of all members of the community in the magnificent heritage of our fine religious buildings. Already, since its founding, the Trust has made grants of almost £700,000 to over 300 churches and chapels in Somerset. I hope to meet you at one of our church crawls. If you need any information about our activities or how to apply for a grant do please get in touch. All the information you need is on our contacts page.
 Dr Axel Palmer Chairman

Grant Applications and Closing Date

We welcome applications from churches and chapels of all denominations for grants towards repairs and improvements to enable wider community use subject to our grant terms and conditions. Applicants who are not already members of the trust must become members for at least three years in order for a grant to be paid. Grant applications must normally be received one calendar month before the date of the trustees meeting at which the application will be considered. The next closing date will be  
27th March 2020 for the trustees meeting on   25th April 2020.   
Click here for more information on Grant Applications.

See Where We've Been on our Church Crawls!

A complete list is now available of every church and chapel we have ever visited since the trust was formed in 1996. You can search by the date of the first visit or alphabetically. Click on the links below to go straight to the lists. If there is somewhere we have missed where you would like to visit then do let us know.

Churches and Chapels visited by date of first visit.
Alphabetical list of churches and chapels visited.


Click here for the following: Books for Sale, Annual ReportsTrustees Annual Reports and Accounts, Press Releases, Church Card Archive, Churches and Chapels Visited by DateChurches and Chapels visited by Location, Policies and Procedures

Our Patron Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Grand Designs says:

“Our churches are literally our historic and cultural touchstones – in our landscapes, built environment, family histories and our communities. They embody faith, beauty, craftsmanship and collective memory. So we should cherish them.”

Links Page

The Somerset Historic Environment Record is part of the much larger South West Heritage Trust website. Our Links Page has links to this website and over twenty other organisations concerned with religious and historic buildings.

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