MSO8364 - St James' Church and Churchyard, Upton Farm (Building)


The remains of the 14th Century former parish church, of which only the west tower and the lowest courses of the nave and chancel survive.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 9802 2950] St James's Church (NR). [1] St James, Upton. Only the west tower stands and the lowest courses of nave and chancel. The unbuttressed tower with low east arch can hardly be later than the first half of the 14th century. [2] The ruin of this church is as described above. (See [11]). [3] 23/5 Remains of St James's Church. Listed Grade II. Consists of ruins of rebuilt tower of original mediaeval church and remains of nave walls, about 2 feet above ground. Tower obscured by heavy overgrowth but shows part of panel-traceried tower arch. Inside tower is painted wooden Decalogue and wooden strip with painted inscription to the effect that the church was seated in 1793. [4] (SS 98022950) St James's Church (NR) (remains of) (NAT). [5] Remains of the former parish church of St James. Grade II*. [6] In the 1860s the church was considered to be too far from the village and a new one was built in 1867 in Upton village. The nave and chancel of the old church were pulled down in 1891, and the tower was made safe in 1973. [7] The remains of Upton church, stand within a large graveyard. The ruins consist of the west tower and the lower courses of the nave and chancel. They have been consolidated in recent years but require further work. [8] The graveyard has been in use since at least medieval times. [10] The church orginally consisted of three cells on a linear plan; a square chancel at the east end, a recentgular nave, a square west tower and a south porch. The church according to measurements taken in 1791 was 20.12 metres by 3.96 metres, excluding the tower. A photograph taken the 1880's (Figure 2.1) shows two entrances in the south side of the building. The footprint of the building, the tower and the east tower window and carvings on the arch are considered to hold high historical significance. [12] The building was visited in March 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. The nave and chancel received a BAR score of 1A and the tower a score of 4A. [13] On 22 June 1986 over 100 people attended a service at the church. This is held every five years by kind permission of the landowner. When the original church was abandoned in 1867 and replaced by the building by the side of the main road, the Rev J Cowden Cole conducted a long campaign to preserve the old church, on a stipend of 40 pounds a year. He apparently "made such a nuisance of himself to the authorities that in the end he was dismissed by a Consistory Court for alleged neglect of duties." [14] A file of material on the church is held by the Historic England Archive. [15] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [16]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. P. 326.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 4 August 1965.
  • <4> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . DOE (HHR) Dulverton RD Somer Sept 1955 21.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1975. 1:10,000 Map, 1975. 1:10,000.
  • <6> Index: 4/8/1986. 36th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park..
  • <7> Unpublished document: Ackland M.E. Ackland M.E to Somerset County Council.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 29 June 1998.
  • <9> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1974. Churches and Chapels of Exmoor. Exmoor Press. P. 84.
  • <10> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. M Aston, 10 December 1976.
  • <11> Photograph: REMAINS OF 14TH CENTURY ST. OS65/F179/3. B/W. MICROFILM.
  • <12> Report: Rushton, N. & Tomlinson, W.. 2012. The Old Church of St James', Upton, West Somerset: Assessment of significance.
  • <13> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <14> Serial: Exmoor Society. 1959-present. Exmoor Review. Volume 29 (1988), "Upton Old Church", p12-13 (V Bonham-Carter).
  • <15> Archive: Unknown. Unknown. Volume: St James Church, Upton.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36507, Extant 28 March 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 9803 2950 (57m by 59m)
Map sheet SS92NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (1A): 1648/10/110
  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (4A): 1648/10/110
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10860
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11650
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO8374
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 92 NE7
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NBR Index Number: 52151
  • NBR Index Number: 52151
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36507
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34157
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34147

Record last edited

Mar 28 2022 3:42PM


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