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Willis Family Monument

A Grade II* Listed Building in Goathurst, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1034 / 51°6'12"N

Longitude: -3.0633 / 3°3'47"W

OS Eastings: 325647

OS Northings: 134331

OS Grid: ST256343

Mapcode National: GBR M2.BRS2

Mapcode Global: VH7DN.VJDG

Plus Code: 9C3R4W3P+9M

Entry Name: Willis Family Monument

Listing Date: 29 March 1963

Last Amended: 4 November 2015

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1344967

English Heritage Legacy ID: 269295

Location: Goathurst, Sedgemoor, Somerset, TA5

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Goathurst

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

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Funerary monument to the Willis family, dated 1765.


Funerary monument to the Willis family, dated 1765.

MATERIALS: carved from limestone.

DESCRIPTION: the monument has a rustic classical design and takes the form of a rectangular chest with canted ends and a frieze of acanthus leaves to the upper part. There are worn inscription panels commemorating members of the Willis family on all four faces, set within decorative frames and with carved drapery hanging down the sides. There are relief sculptures of cherubs above and at the upper corners of the larger panels (north and south), and cherub heads above the narrower side panels. The chest is surmounted by a square, fluted column with an embellished Corinthian capital. The column’s north and south sides each have with a niche and a cherub to its north and south sides, and flower decoration to the west and east. It is capped by a decorative flaming urn.


The Willis family monument in the churchyard of the Church of St Edward King and Martyr is described by Pevsner (see Sources) as "the C18 version of churchyard cross". It dates from 1765 and commemorates various members of the Willis family (Collinson, see Sources). The inscription on the north side of the monument is in memory of John Willis and his wife, Susanna, who died in 1710 and 1725 respectively; that to the south side commemorates John Willis who, between 1724 and his death in 1765 was the owner of Stogursey Castle situated some 10km to the north-west of Goathurst, and Jane, his wife, who died in 1736.

Reasons for Listing

The Willis Family Monument, dated 1765, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Design quality: its classical design possesses a superior level of quality, craftsmanship and execution;
* Architectural interest: as an unusual monument which, in contrast to the more typical chest tombs, employs a highly-decorative column to create a well-realised funerary structure;
* Group value: it forms a strong grouping with the Grade I listed Church of St Edward King and Martyr (Grade I) which contains a large number of high-quality funerary monuments, and with the Grade II-listed chest tombs in the churchyard.

Selected Sources

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