MSO7737 - St Mary's Church, Oare (Building)


Of medieval origin but much restored and altered, containing 18th Century features such as box pews, a readers' desk and a pulpit. RD Blackmore's grandfather was Rector here (1809-42).

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 8021 4731) St Mary's Church (NAT). [1] St Mary's has an inner and outer chancel of which the inner one is probably 15th Century; the rest of the church is mainly modern. [2] In normal use. [3] Church of St. Mary. Medieval origin but much restored and altered. Nave, choir (originally the chancel), later chancel, south porch, west tower of plain moorland type, 2-stage, embattled, single bell-chamber windows. Some lancets, 2 with tre-foiled heads, other windows later. Complete set of 18th Century box pews and pulpit, painted Royal Arms (Hanover), 18th Century wall tablets. Tub font on later pedestal, piscina with bowl formed from grotesque head. Visited by large numbers of tourists on account of associations with "Lorna Doone". [4] SS84NW OARE CP OARE VILLAGE 2/39 Church of St Mary 22.5.69 II* Parish church. C15 nave and inner chancel, outer chancel added and tower rebuilt mid C19. Local stone coursed rubble C19 work, earlier parts roughcast, 3 separate slate roofs, no coped verges, decorative ridge tiles. West tower, 3-bay nave, one bay inner chancel, one bay outer chancel. Crenellated 3-stage tower, unbuttressed, string courses, single light louvred bell opening, 2-light west window under square hoodmould and pointed relieving arch, pointed arch west door; three C19 2 and 3-light wooden mullioned windows to nave, lancet to inner chancel, unlit south side, mullioned and transomed 2-light east window, 2-light window on north wall of outer chancel, trefoil-headed lancet to inner chancel, nave unlit; gabled single storey porch, semi-circular headed opening, inner chamfered pointed arch wooden doorway, perhaps C16 with C19 door. Interior: rendered. No chancel arch, bosses from roof reset on cambered beam to inner chancel; unmoulded pointed tower arch. Barrel vault to nave and inner chancel, C19 outer chancel roof. Norman circular font. C18 box pews, readers desk and pulpit. Unusual piscina in the form of man's head clasped between 2 hands, possibly C15. Good collection of painted C18 slate tablets to Spurry family. Ten Commandments painted on two wooden boards. Unususal painted wooden panel inscribed Peter Spurrye, Churchwarden 1718 and thought to represent Moses. RD Blackmore's grandfather was rector here 1809-42 and the church attracts many visitors as the scene of the marriage of Jan Ridd in Blackmore's book "Lorna Doone". (Photograph in NMR) [5,6] 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. [9] The building is labelled "St Mary's Church" on 2021 MasterMap data. [11] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1905.
  • <2> Monograph: Eeles F.C. 1928. Oare and Culbone. 3-10, illustrations.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Mid 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 8 July 1965.
  • <4> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . DOE (HHR) Williton RD Somer (March 1962) 53.
  • <5> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1974. Churches and Chapels of Exmoor. Exmoor Press.
  • <6> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . West Somer Dist (Exford et al) (2 January 1986) 21.
  • <7> Serial: Devonshire Association. 1862 -. Devonshire Association reports and transactions. Volume 60 (1928), 26-7.
  • <8> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. 265-6.
  • <9> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <10> Monograph: Mochan, P. Unknown. Lorna Doone of Exmoor: Fact fiction or legend. N.J Clarke Publications.
  • <11>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #46941 ]
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35887, Extant 22 February 2022.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/2/39
  • Church Heritage Record ID: 601474
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10672
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12038
  • Local List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NW4
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35887
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33844
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31163



Grid reference Centred SS 8020 4731 (22m by 10m)
Map sheet SS84NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jun 1 2022 12:13PM


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