MSO8544 - St Mary Magdalene's Church, Winsford (Building)


The church is also known as St Peter's. It contains a Norman font but most of the fabric dates from the 14th and 15th Centuries and was restored in 1890-1891. A 1609 panel with the Royal Coat of Arms of James I is said to be one of four extant.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 9047 3498] St Mary Magdalene's Church (NR) [1] The church of St Peter (the dedication of which is sometimes given as St Mary Magdalene, but the evidence of wills proves it to be St. Peter) consists of chancel, wide and lofty nave with narrow aisles, south porch and west tower. The Norman font-basin indicates a church here at least as early as the 12th Century. The fabric consists of 13th - 16th Century work with restorations in 1890-1. [2] The Vicar confirmed that the church is known as St Mary Magdalene's. It is in normal use. [3] 16/1 Church of St Mary Magdalene (or, as sometimes given, St Peter the Apostle). Listed Grade B. Mainly C.14/C.15. Perpendicular but retains C.13 single lancet each side of chancel S. doorway. Consists of wide and lofty nave with narrow aisles, chancel S. porch, W. tower. Nave and aisles under oneroof externally but with separate wagon roofs internally. Three-stageembattled tower, octagonal stair turret, setback angle buttresses, single Perpendicular bell-camber windows. Norman font bowl, Jacobean pulpit and alter rails, painted Royal Arms of James I dated 1609. Church restored by J. D. Sedding in 1890-91. [4] Additional references. [5,6] SS93SW WINSFORD CP THE STEEP (West side) WINSFORD VILLAGE 19/148 6.4.59 Church of St Mary Magdalene I Parish church. Some Norman work, C13 chancel, Perpendicular nave,aisles added and tower c1450, restored 1850, restored 1858 when west end gallery removed and 1813 screen destroyed, restored 1890-1, church reseated and nave and aisles roofs renewed by J D Sedding. Roughcast nave, tower coursed lias rubble, slate roofs, nave and aisles beneath one roof, coped verges. West tower, 4-bay nave and north and south aisles, south aisles, south porch. Crenellated 3-stage tower, set back buttresses, string courses, crenellated northeast stair turret, 2-light louvred bell openings, 2 x 4 light west window, moulded surround to C19 west door; 2 and 3-light right of single storey gabled porch, unbuttressed, moulded arched opening, round arched inner doorway (possibly reset Norman work), Perpendicular statue niche above, open wagon roof with bosses, C13 iron work to early medieval door; 3-light east window to aisle, two 2-light trefoilheaded mullioned windows forming clearstorey in chancel arch wall, lancet and 2-light window flanking priest's door, 2 x 3 light east window, 3-light cinquefoil headed mullioned window and lancet, rood stair projection in angle with north aisle, 3-light east window, one 3-light and two 2-light windows with grotesque terminals to hoodmoulds, stepped buttress to right of blocked, moulded 4-centred arch doorway, west end 2-light window and external chimney stack. Interior: rendered. Four bay standard Perpendicular arcade, moulded tower arch with partially dressed corbels. Renewed open wagon roofs,chancel roof restored with original bosses and wallplate. Doorway torood stair with loft opening above in north east corner of chancel arch wall. Norman font with arcade of twisted columns and frieze of saltire crosses above. Jacobean pulpit. Pointed panel of the Royal Coat of Arms of James I dated 1609, said to be one of only 4 extant. C 18 turned baluster altar rails. Piece of C14 stained glass depicting the Virgin in East window. Chest tomb without effigy let into north wall of chancel. Some C18 slate wall tablets. It is very rare in the West Country to find the nave wall lit this way at the chancel end. Formerly known as the Church of St Peter the Apostle. (Photograph in NMR). [7] There are several war memorials within the church. A plaque commemorates Owen Vincent who was killed in 1915 during an air fight in France in World War One. Below the inscription are depicted the badges of the Royal Flying Corps, Queens Regiment and Pilot's Wings. A large plaque commemorates 11 men from Winsford who died in World War One. The plaque was made by the Birmingham Guild. A smaller plaque beneath also commemorates 3 members of the parish who died in World War Two. [8] A watching brief was undertaken in the churchyard in July and August 2012 during the excavation of a drainage trench to the north, west and south of the church. This suggested the church is built on terracing cut into the bedrock of the slope, probably later extended to the north. Backfilling of the eastern portion of the terrace, thought to date from the initial construction phase of the site, contained building materials and a 12th or 13th Century tile fragment. A possible early boundary feature was noted, containing a quantity of rounded quartz. [9] The building was visited in March 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [10] The substantial Parish Church with its tall late 15th Century tower indicates that Winsford has been an important community since at least medieval times. The Parish Church font has some fine Norman carving, the chancel is 13th century and there is a remnant of 14th Century stained glass in the east window. The tower is built of coursed lias rubble, more usually found further east in Somerset. The Parish Church, recorded in the listing details as formerly dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle, has been dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene since the late 19th Century. [11] Individual aspects of the church fabric and fittings are discussed in A Winsford Anthology. [12] An historic photograph of the church and churchyard is held by the Winsford Archive. [13] The Priory at Barlynch was given a ferling of land in North Wynesforde manor by William de Regny and before 1268, the Prior and Canons of Barlynch purchased a rent of 100 shillings a year and half a virgate of land in Winsford, together with the advowson of the church. A dispute arose of ownership of land and the church at Winsford between Barlynch and Wells, which was settled when Hugo de Romenall supplied Barlynch's Prior the means to compensate the authorities at Wells for the loss of the church, and all rights were transferred to the Priory. The Prior of Barlynch in 1483 was John Chester, and he became Vicar of Winsford Church in 1483 concurrently. The church was dedicated to St Peter until the Reformation, when it changed to St Mary Magdalene. The church may have been rebuilt around the mid 15th Century, when the vicarage was endowed with the glebe lands by the Priory. The building underwent continuous repairs during the 18th and early 19th Centuries, including the roof being ceiled and plastered in 1804-6, and a new screen erected in 1813. The latter was removed in 1858, when the south porch was rebuilt. The church was restored in 1890-1 by Mr Sedding and a local contractor at a cost of £1200. [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] The site is labelled "St Mary Magdalene's Church" on the 2022 MasterMap data. [17] Winsford was designated as a conservation area in 2023. The new appraisal was produced as part of the adoption of the conservation area. [18]

Sources/Archives (18)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <2> Monograph: Eeles F.C.. 1928. Somerset Churches Near Dulverton. p23-27.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 11 August 1963.
  • <4> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . DOE (HHR) Dulverton RD Somer (September 1955) 22.
  • <5> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. p348-9.
  • <6> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1974. Churches and Chapels of Exmoor. Exmoor Press. 88.
  • <7> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: West Somer Dist (Exford et al) (2 January 1986) 79.
  • <8> Website: Imperial War Museum. United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials. References: 24746 (WW1), 24747 (WW2), 24748 (Le Bas).
  • <9> Unpublished document: Brigers, J.L.. 2012. Report on the results of an archaeological watching brief in the churchyard adjacent to the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Winsford.
  • <10> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <11> Report: Fisher, J.. 2005. Winsford: Village Character Appraisal. 4,6,7,8,11,12, 13,17.
  • <12> Leaflet: Various. 2004. A Winsford Anthology. 5-9, 53.
  • <13> Archive: Winsford History Society. Various. Winsford Archive.
  • <14> Leaflet: Fox, P.D.. Unknown. Winsford Parish Church Guide. N/A.
  • <15> Article in serial: Dicker, W.. 1900. Notes on the History of Winsford. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 46. pp 188-195.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36697, Extant 8 May 2022.
  • <17>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2022. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #47950 ]
  • <18> Report: Thurlow, T.. 2023. Winsford Conservation Area Appraisal. Exmoor National Park Authority.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/19/148
  • Church Heritage Record ID: 601485
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10780
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11652
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 SW1
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36697
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34210
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31280



Grid reference Centred SS 2905 135e (31m by 19m)
Map sheet SS21SE

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Record last edited

Oct 19 2023 3:46PM


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