MSO7735 - St Beuno's Church, Culbone (Building)

Summary

A parish church thought to be pre-Norman in origin. It is claimed to be the smallest Parish Church in England. There is evidence of an Anchorite's cell on the north side. It was known as St Culbone's Church at the end of the 19th Century.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 8422 4822) St Culbone's Church (NR). [1] St Culbone's, a very small church, only 35 feet in overall length, comprising chancel and nave with south porch and a small spirelet over the west end of the nave. The rubble walls are probably late 12th century or even earlier, and the proportions of the building, lofty nave etc., suggest that parts of it may be Saxon. There is also some 13th, 14th and 15th century work. (See Illustrations Card). [2] In normal use. [3] Probably Norman origin. Claims to be the smallest complete parish church in England. Windows mainly Perpendicular except one in chancel which has 2 round-headed openings out in single stone with carved mask in low relief between arches. 15th or 16th Century oak benches, 15 Century oak chancel screen, Norman tub font. Ceiled barrel roof to nave. [4] St Culbone's Church contains remains of ? Norman masonry in the chancel. There is fragmentary evidence of an Anchorite's cell on the north side. [5] SS84NW OARE CP CULBONE 2/28 Culbone Church 22.5.69 GV I Parish church, dedication unknown. Probably pre-Norman in origin, C13 porch, late C15-early C16 nave refenestrated and reroofed, c1810 spirelet added, 1888 chancel reroofed and east wall rebuilt, nave roof repaired 1928. Random rubble local stone part whitewashed, slate roofs, slate hung spirelet. Two bay nave with bell-cote, south porch, chancel. West end unlit, single storey gabled porch, semi-circular headed opening, barrel vault roof with remains of wallplate, cambered headed door ith medieval metalwork; 2-light trefoil-headed mullioned window, wall breaks forward slightly to right lancet in south wall of chancel, C19 3-light east window, north wall Saxon 2-light window with leopard face carved in low relief in spandrel, north wall of nave 2-light wooden cinquefoil headed mullioned window under hoodmould. Interior: rendered. Pointed chancel arch unmoulded. C19 wagon roof to chancel, original ceiled wagon roof to nave with crenellated wall plate. Norman baluster font. Circa 1400 3-bay screen partly renewed. C17 box pew, and plain bench ends thought to be pre-Reformation. Reredos designed 1927 by CFA Voysey and made by Mr Huish. One of the 2 bells is said to date from the C14. The church seats about 40 people and has a good claim to be considered the smallest complete church in England. (Photograph in NMR). [7] An 'example of the use of wood for stone in a window in the north side; and the screen with a carving of a Devonshire...type...'. [8] Parish church, dedication unknown. Probably pre-Norman in origin with a 13th Century porch, The spirelet was added circa 1810 and in 1888 chancel reroofed and east wall rebuilt, the nave roof was repaired 1928. One of the 2 bells is said to date from the 14th century. The church seats about 40 people and has a good claim to be considered the smallest complete church in England. (Photograph in NMR) [12] The rood screen probably dates to 1400. [13] A Church guide for St Beuno's notes that the Assize Rolls of 1280 record Thomas, chaplain of Cattenor (Culbone) was indicted for killing Albert of Esshe. It suggests the walls are 12th Century but that parts of the building may be of Saxon origins. The large box pew was used by the Lovelace family from Ashley Combe House and the reredos was designed by CF Annesley Voisey, made by Mr Huish of Porlock and installed in 1928. St Beuno was a famous Welsh saint, born in the late 6th Century and who died in AD642. He rescued St Winifred from King Caradog. [14] The building was visited in June 2013 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [16] The building is labelled "St Beuno's Church" on 2020 MasterMap data. [17] The building is labelled "St Culbone's Church" on the 25 inch 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. [18] The alleged Saxon arch and carved leopard head is not listed in the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, and is therefore probably Mediaeval. [22,23] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [24]

Sources/Archives (24)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1904. 6 inch: 1904. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Eeles F.C. 1928. Oare and Culbone. P. 11-16.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Mid 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 13 July 1965.
  • <4> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . Williton RD Devon March 1962. P. 52.
  • <5> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. P. 144-5.
  • <6> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1974. Churches and Chapels of Exmoor. Exmoor Press. P. 47-8.
  • <7> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . DOE (HHR) West Somerset District (Exford et al) Somer (2 January 1986) 16.
  • <8> Article in serial: Anonymous. 1889. Culbone Church. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 35. Part I, pp 24-25. P. 25.
  • <9> Serial: 1888-. Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset. (F.W.W) Volume 15 (1916), p59.
  • <10> Monograph: Baring-Gould, S. & Fisher, J.. 1908. The Lives of the British Saints: The Saints of Wales, Cornwall and Irish Saints: Volume 2. P. 166.
  • <11> Monograph: Dobson, D.P.. 1931. The Archaeology of Somerset. P. 237.
  • <12> Index: 2/1/1986. Thirty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park.
  • <13> Monograph: Layley, C.G.. 1985. St. Beuno's Culbone: The Smallest Complete Parish Church in England. Culbone Parochial Church Council. P. 6.
  • <14> Leaflet: St Beuno's Church, Culbone.
  • <15> Technical drawing: EDJ. 1999. Culbone Church window/ink survey. 1:5. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <16> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <17> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500.
  • <18> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <19> Photograph: F Frith and Company Limited. 1900-1925. Culbone Church and the base of the church cross, taken from the south. Unknown. Postcard.
  • <20> Article in serial: Anonymous. 1906. Culbone Church. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 52. Part I, pp 26-28.
  • <21> Article in serial: [Unknown]. 1942. [Unknown]. Country Life. 92. p 659,467.
  • <22> Monograph: Cramp, R.. 2006. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture. Oxford University Press. Volume VII.
  • <23> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. RJ Fitz-Gerald, Heritage Data Management, English Heritage, 7 May 2013.
  • <24> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35881, Extant 21 February 2022.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8421 4822 (13m by 12m) MasterMap
Map sheet SS84NW
Civil Parish OARE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (1)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (2)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/2/28
  • Church Heritage Record ID: 601460
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10661
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12039
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NW2
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35881
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33845
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31152
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34885

Record last edited

Jun 1 2022 12:14PM

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