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Church in the Field

A Grade I Listed Building in High Ham, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.0584 / 51°3'30"N

Longitude: -2.8113 / 2°48'40"W

OS Eastings: 343240

OS Northings: 129100

OS Grid: ST432291

Mapcode National: GBR MF.FPKP

Mapcode Global: FRA 560B.0MB

Plus Code: 9C3V355Q+9F

Entry Name: Church in the Field

Listing Date: 17 April 1959

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1346080

English Heritage Legacy ID: 263114

ID on this website: 101346080

Location: Low Ham, Somerset, TA10

County: Somerset

District: South Somerset

Civil Parish: High Ham

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Tagged with: Church building

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This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 09/06/2016


Church in the Field

(Formerly listed as Church without Dedication)


Anglican Parish Church, formerly private chapel to manor. On site of earlier church, started early C17, damaged in Civil War, completed in 1690. Local lias stone cut and squared, Ham stone dressings; Welsh slate roofs, coped gables behind castellated parapets. In a Gothic survival style. Four-unit plan of 2-bay chancel, 3-bay nave, north and south aisles, and a west tower. Chancel has plinth, cill and eaves courses, crenellated parapet with corner gargoyles, and angled corner buttresses of nearly full height; east window of 3 lights in hollowed almost semi-circular arched recess, with stilted headstop label, cinquefoil cusped lights below elaborate circular/ stellar tracery; in north and south walls 2-light windows in pointed- arched hollowed recesses without labels, lights 'Y' traceried with reversed 'V' subtracery; in north west corner a moulded cambered arched doorway with 3-panel plank and covermould door with carved toprail incorporating arms and initials of George Stawel, who completed the church. Nave clerestorey has elaborate lead stackheads each side; 3-light cinquefoil cusped windows in hollowed pointed-arched recesses, with quasi-gothic tracery of three quatrefoils with added cusping, battlemented parapet above. Aisles match; plinth, cill and eaves courses, crenellated parapets, bay buttresses; in both east walls and west wall of north aisle are single-light windows to match detail of side chancel windows; in side walls 3-light cinquefoil cusped windows with almost reticulated tracery, in almost semi-circular arched hollowed recesses. Tower of 3 stages; plinth, offset string courses, eaves course with gargoyles and low crenellated parapet, half-height angled corner buttresses to west face, and half-height square-plan stair turret on south east corner, with monopitch tarred stone roof: stage 1 has plain sides, but a west door with triangular head in flat-arched hollowed surround having carved spandrils, framing 4-panel door with carved sunburst overthrow and C17 hinges; above a 3-light window with 'correct' C15 tracery, possibly a re-use; to 3 sides of stage 2 a single-light trefoil cusped window in rectangular chamfered recess without label, that on west masked by clockface; to all faces stage 3 a 2-light C15 style traceried window in stilted pointed arched recess. Inside, the chancel mostly C19, with arch-braced collar truss roof, C19 side panelling but C17 reredos and panelling to east wall, C17 altar table, also 2 C17 benches; chancel arch a double unpanelled C15 style, with fine C17 screen which appears to incorporate C15 fragments. Nave has C19 arch- braced collar truss roof, C15 style arcades, original stone flag floors and C17 fittings including fine pulpit (originally in SS Peter and Paul, Muchelney, q.v.), reading desk and box-type pews without doors. Aisles have matching pews, and lean-to roofs mostly C19 but with earlier fragments. Under the tower a C19 octagonal font, a C17 chest and an elaborate stone and glazed screen with double doors is c1800, and was removed by a former Mayor of Bristol, Sir Charles Wathen also Lord of the Manor from his private chapel there. Stone version of Royal arms in east wall, north aisle, and under it monument to Sir Edward Hext, died 1624, with effigies of him and his wife, enclosed by wrought iron railings; on east wall of south aisle marble monument to Ralph Stawell, died 1681; a curtained plaque on elaborate plinth with flanking cherubs, to sides of plaque Corinthian columns carrying segmental pediment with cartouche of arms, all enclosed by C17 railings, some with twists and a variety of spearheads. Much C17 stained glass in chancel, including whole of east window. Two medieval bells in tower, one c1500, the other not later than 1350.

Until 1921 this church was the private chapel of the Lord of the Manor: the manor house was demolished in late C17 and a sumptuous new manor begun south of the church, but never finished - it was eventually demolished.

(Pevsner N, Buildings of England, South and West Somerset, 1958; Rev. Terrell, R.C.P. A Guide to Low Ham Church, Unpublished, Undated).

Listing NGR: ST4323929099

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