MSO10240 - St Luke's Church, Simonsbath (Building)


A 19th Century parish church, built in approximately 1856. It was constructed of grey stone in the Early English style.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

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Full Description

A church, dating to approximately 1856. The architect is unknown. The church is comprised of dressed lias, render grooved as ashlar to left of porch, slate hung west end, Ham stone dressings, stepped sill string course below windows, coved cornice, coped verges to chancel arch wall, slate roofs. Plan: 3-bay nave, bell-cote, south porch, chancel, north-east vestry. Early English style. Slate hung gabled bell-cote rising from central west end buttress pierced by 2 lancets, lower flanking butttresses with cement caps linked by high plinth, single storey gabled porch, pointed arch opening reached by flight of 4 steps, trefoil lights on returns, pointed arch inner doorway, double doors with decorative hinges, 2 paired lancets to nave, buttress, 3 lancets to chancel, set back buttresses, east window of 3 lancets, lancet north wall of chancel, lean-to roofed vestry, 2 lancets east side, shouldered doorway north front, 3 paired lancets to nave. Interior: rendered. Pointed chancel arch. Arched braced nave roof, collar beam to nave, in varnished pine as are all fittings and harmonium. [1] The parish church of St Luke was constructed after the parish of Exmoor was created in 1856 out of the old Royal Forest. It is a plain building constructed out of grey stone in an Early English style with big lancet windows. It has a south porch, nave and chancel. The west wall and its bell turret are completely slate-hung. All furnishings are Victorian. There is a tablet to the 5th Earl Fortescue and his wife, 'Erected by their Employees, Friends and Tennants in the parish of Exmoor', and a stained glass east window is a memorial to the parishioners killed in World War 1. Sir Frederic Knight, his wife and son are buried in the churchyard. The first vicar was a Reverend William Henry Thornton. [2, 5] Consists of a nave, chancel and bell-cote. [3] A three light window is a memorial to WWI. The window depicts Mary the Blessed Virgin, Christ Crucified and St Luke. [4] Exmoor parish was created when this church was built in 1856. [6] The building was visited in September 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [7] On 21 October 1856 the church, with accommodation for 209 people and dedicated to St Luke, was consecrated by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Lord Auckland. The living was a perpetual curacy with ten acres of glebe and the first incumbent was Reverend William Henry Thornton, who had been curate to the Vicar of Lynton. William was born in 1830 and educated at Rugby public school. He spent two years in Selworthy before attending Trinity College, Cambridge and being ordained by the Bishop Philpotts in Exeter Cathedral. [8] The conveyance of the Crown Estate apportioned from the Royal Forest was completed in 15 March 1820 to John Knight. This included 12 acres of land at Simonsbath Farm, which was staked out and reserved to the Crown as provision for a church, churchyard, parsonage house and homestead. At the time the Forest was extraparochial but the area became the Parish of Exmoor in 1856. [9] A letter from Robert Smith to Frederic Winn Knight dated 19 March 1852 states the following: "We shall be delighted to hear that you have decided about the Church, in fact it will be a great blefsing to every one now [underlined] upon the property, and of infinite [underlined] service in bringing other parties to the moor, as my past experience in the letting of the farms will testify, having lost many good men, owing to their [sic] being no church upon the property." [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Index: 2/1/1986. Thirty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park.
  • <2> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1974. Churches and Chapels of Exmoor. Exmoor Press. 79.
  • <3> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. 288.
  • <4> Website: Imperial War Museum. United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials. UKNIWM reference 24684.
  • <5> Monograph: Siraut, M.. Royal Forest, Exmoor: A guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 12, 26.
  • <6> Leaflet: 2013. Simonsbath, Exmoor: Exmoor moorland archaeology walks series. Exmoor National Park Authority.
  • <7> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <8> Serial: Exmoor Society. 1959-present. Exmoor Review. Volume 31 (1990), "The first curate of Exmoor", p50-53 (N Allen).
  • <9> Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition. p 43.
  • <10> Archive: Various. 1815-1999. Knight Archive. N/A. KN.CORR.017_1852.03.19, pp 2-3.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/11/12
  • Church Heritage Record ID: 601465
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10645
  • Local List Status (Rejected)
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 16498
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31131



Grid reference Centred SS 7757 3942 (31m by 14m)
Map sheet SS73NE

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Record last edited

Aug 17 2022 9:21AM


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