MSO12041 - All Saints Church, Selworthy (Building)


Also known as St John the Baptist Church, it is mostly Perpendicular with parts dating to 1527. The north aisle dates to c.1390 and has a window that contains fragments of medieval glass.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 91994681] Ch. (NAT). [1] The church of St John Baptist or All Saints. The greater part is Perpendicular and the south aisle, the latest part of the building, is dated 1527. The north aisle is c1390. The font-bowl is Saxon and the tower was evidently part of an earlier church. [2] Except for the lower parts of the west tower, which seems to be 14th Century, this is a Perpendicular church. [3] In normal use. [4] Church of All Saints. Grade B. Perpendicular, 14th, 15th, and 16th Century. Norman font. [5] (SS 91994681) All Saints' Church (C of E) (NAT). [6] Parish Church of All Saints', Selworthy Village. Grade I. 14th century lower stage of tower, rest Perpendicular, south aisle date 1538, 1875 restoration revealed wall paintings now much eroded. Coffin family chest tomb, in churchyard one metre east of chancel. Grade II. 18th century. Trill family chest tomb in churchyard about 1.5 metres east of chancel. 18th century. [For full description see list]. [7] A roll of honour in an oak frame and decorated with an illuminated tree of life in the centre, names 46 parishioners who served in World War One and 48 who served in World War Two, with 8 people who also died in each of the conflicts. A white marble tablet on a black marble backboard commemorates the 8 parishioners who died in World War One. The tablet is ornamented with a gilt wreath and cross on a blue background. A rectangular marble tablet commemorates 8 parishioners who died in World War Two. A plaque in an oak frame commemorates Calverley Hancock, second son of the Reverend Frederick Hancock of Selworthy, who was killed in Bethlehem, South Africa during the Boer War in 1900. [10] The building was visited in May 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [13] The north aisle of the church was built by the Arundells in the 17th Century. The Steynings (for some time owners of the Manor) probably built the south aisle in the early 16th Century as there is a date of 1538 high up in the west end. There are good 16th and 17th Century brasses to various members of this family on the wall. The Parish Church of All Saints dates from the 14th century, although much is Perpendicular. An 1875 restoration, less drastic than most of the period, revealed wall paintings, much eroded. The church is built of roughcast over rubble with Ham Hill stone dressings. The ceiled wagon roof to the nave has ornate carved bosses, and that to the south chancel is especially fine with moulded ribs and a wall plate frieze. The wagon-roof in the chancel and north aisle is 19th Century. A local woodworking class carved the bosses in the latter. There is some good 17th and 18th century fittings, including a pulpit of re-set medieval panelling with sounding board and hourglass. The oak panelled gallery was added c.1750, and the Squire’s pew with canopied gallery over the doorway was erected in 1804. There are some fragments of medieval glass in the east window of the north aisle. The listing details refer to this church as “one of the finest in the county” and Pevsner in “The Buildings of England”, refers to the south chancel as its “great glory” and “unsurpassed in the county”. It is also the resting place of Francis Eeles who was founder and first secretary of the Council for the Care of Churches. [14] The building is labelled "Church" on 2020 MasterMap data. [15] Two early 20th Century images of the church are held by the Historic England Archive. [16,17] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [18] The building is mentioned in the 2017 Conservation Area Appraisal for Selworthy, which notes its high landscape value, with its visibility from the moorland to the south. [19]

Sources/Archives (19)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1903-1949. County Series; 3rd Edition (2nd Revision) 6 Inch Map. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Hancock, F. 1897. The Parish of Selworthy. 41-63.
  • <3> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. 285-6.
  • <4> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Mid 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 15 July 1965.
  • <5> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: Williton RD Somerset (March 1962) 76.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1972. 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <7> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: West Somerset District (Exford Et Al) Somerset (2 January 1986) 59-61.
  • <8> Article in serial: Anonymous. 1889. Forty first Annual Meeting. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 35. Part 1, pp 1-46. 20-21.
  • <9> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1974. Churches and Chapels of Exmoor. Exmoor Press. 78.
  • <10> Website: Imperial War Museum. United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials. UKNIWM references 24676, 24677, 24678 and 24679.
  • <11> Monograph: Eeles F.C. 1970. The Church of All Saints, Selworthy and its Chapels of Lynch and Tivington. Barnicotts Limited.
  • <12> Monograph: Collinson, J.. 1791 (2006). The History and Antiquities of Somerset. Archive CD Books Ltd.
  • <13> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <14> Report: Fisher, J.. 2004. Selworthy: Conservation Area Character Appraisal. 5,9.
  • <15>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #46836 ]
  • <16> Photograph: Vowles, A.. 1900-1925. View looking past the east end of St John the Baptist's Church and the cross to Zeals house, taken form the south. B/W. Postcard.
  • <17> Photograph: F Frith and Company Limited. 1900-1925. St John the Baptist's Church, taken from the south-west. B/W. Postcard.
  • <18> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36768, Extant 10 May 2022.
  • <19> Report: Pratt, N.. 2017. Selworthy Conservation Area: appraisal document. Exmoor National Park Authority. p 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, 53, Figures 1, 4, 10.

External Links (6)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/26/106
  • Church Heritage Record ID: 601477
  • Exmoor National Park Authority HER number: MEM24902
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10739
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8009
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 NW3
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36768
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31236
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34889



Grid reference Centred SS 9198 4680 (26m by 24m)
Map sheet SS94NW

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Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Nov 3 2022 2:35PM


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