...keeping Somerset's churches & chapels alive
Fine Churches in NE Somerset
Start Date/Time:
17 August 2019 14:00
End Date/Time:
17 August 2019 17:00
Recurring Event:
One time event

Tour led by Julian Orbach, such an expert in the field of historic buildings that he needs no introduction. He wrote the latest (2014) Pevsner Guide of The Buildings of England for Somerset South and West.

Start at St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm BA11 3NZ, a small village church built in the 12thC that has a wall with early Norman herringbone stone courses, saddleback west tower of c1240 and an Elizabethan gallery approached from an external staircase (both the latter quite unusual). Also 17thC box pews, 14thC porch, 18thC north transept and a Norman font. On to St Mary, Orchardleigh BA11 2PH, in a secluded spot on an island in a lake, with no electricity, on a former estate, now a golf course. It has 13thC origins but is mostly 18thC. There is a stone screen dated 1879, Jacobean pulpit, Norman font, Royal Arms and other hatchments. There is a tribute to poet Sir Henry Newbolt (1862–1938), who was inspired by the story of a faithful dog called Azor, to whom there is a monument. Then toAll Saints, Lullington BA11 2PG, one of Robin Bush’s (author of Somerset, The Complete Guide) top churches in the county, notable in particular for its Norman north doorway and inside, its Norman tower arches. It also has a fantastic decorated font, elaborately carved stone capitals and ancient pulpit, 13thC south chapel and c1150 tapering tomb slab cover.

We finish at about 5pm at St George, Beckington BA11 6TD,with a 12thC west tower, lofty nave with clerestory and north and south aisles. There are several notable military memorials (1780, 1856, 1922 and 1940) as well as a 1485 brass of two figures, and three stone effigies dating from 1360–1400, and a monument to Samuel Daniel (died 1619), Poet Laureate. Tea here – donations please. Total drive between churches: 10.8 miles.

Book with William Newsom, email, tel: 01963 441533.

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   22nd March 2019 for the trustees meeting on 27th April 2019.   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.

2019 - Our Best Events Programme Yet

We are delighted to announce our Events Programme for 2019. Highlights include a visit to Fairfield House, home of Elizabeth, Lady Gass, DCVO a former Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset and one of our Patrons, (part of our Annual Meeting on 27th April) a tour of churches in South West Somerset looking at woodwork and effigies with Julian Gibbs, Curator for the National Trust from 1979-2010 and Lucy Wood who was responsible for the new Furniture Gallery at the V&A. (22nd June) Julian Orbach who revised and enlarged the Pevsner Guide to the Buildings of England for Somerset: South and West leads a tour of churches in North East Somerset on 17th August. 

Click here to see the full programme for 2019.

Our Next Event is the Annual Meeting on Saturday 27 April at 2.00 pm.

The meeting will be held at The Church Rooms, Stogursey, TA5 1TQ. This will be followed by a visit to the church of St Andrew, Stogursey and then to Fairfield House, Stogursey, TA5 1PU, home of one of our Patrons, Elizabeth, Lady Gass, DCVO.

St Andrew, Stogursey

More details can be found in the Events Calendar or in the full 2019 programme.

Booking essential by Saturday 20th April with Bob Croft, email:, tel: 01823 278805 (work)

2018 Annual Report and Accounts

This has now been sent to all members. Click here to see the full report.


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.


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.”

Simon Colledge recalls the Church Crawl on 19th May to St Michael, Wayford (interior pictured left) St Stephen, Winsham and St Thomas, Cricket St Thomas. Click heading for full details.

Fifteen hardy souls braved the wintery weather to enjoy a tour of Cheddar Churches and were rewarded with a wondrous spread at the Baptist Church.(pictured left)

The Somerset Churches Trust/Allchurches Trust Scheme for grants towards roof alarms has been featured on a number of news reports by BBC West. Click on heading for link to the report.

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