MSO8849 - St Mary Magdalene's Church, Withiel Florey (Building)


St Mary's Church is of 12th Century origins but most of the building dates to the Perpendicular period (15th Century) and it was restored in the 19th Century. It contains a Norman font.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 9869 3328. St Mary Magdalene's Church (NAT) [1] St Mary Magdalene's Church, Withiel Florey, is a small structure of as ingle aisle 62 feet long and 14 feet wide. [2] The west tower is partly 13th Century, the remainder Perpendicular and much restored. [3] In normal use. [4] 18/7 Listed Grade B Church of St Mary Magdalene Small and very plain 14/15th Century. Perpendicular building with roughcast exterior. Nave, chancel, south porch, embattled west tower, diagonal buttresses to lower stage, single bell chamber windows. Segmental headed south doorway, possibly Norman. Interior not accessible at time of listing. [5] Parish church. C12 in origin, C15 nave lengthened, tower and porch added, 1848 vestry added. Roughcast over flat bedded lias, red sandstone dressings, slate roofs, plain verges. West tower without stair turret, 2-bay nave with rood stair projection, south porch, 2-storey vestry with access to pulpit, single storey vestry opening out of chancel and containing organ, 2-bay chancel. Crenellated 2-stage diagonally buttressed tower, string courses, west front lit only by C19 3-light west window, north front 2-light trefoil headed louvred bell-opening, south front 2 small rectangular openings in upper stage, other openings possibly concealed beneath roughcast, 2-light window left of gabled single storey porch, pointed arch opening with C19 corbelled and ribbed inner arch, plastered barrel vault with moulded ribs, bosses and wallplate, segmental headed inner doorway, remains of medieval door with medieval iron work, tablet in gable end dated 1695. 3-light window right, rood stair projection with lancet, 2-light windows to diagonally buttressed chancel, chamfered, semi-circular headed priest's door, 3-light east window, vestry with lancet at east end, C20 half glazed door to upper room presumably over basement, 2-light C15 trefoil headed window right partially cut by vestry additon, otherwise north wall unlit with large rubble buttress. Interior: rendered. Nave walls very thick and splayed out. C19 pointed chancel arch, moulded 4-centered tower arch. Roofs: C19 arch braced roof on corbels to chancel, shallow plastered wagon roof to nave. Circular Norman font. C19 fittings including pulpit, harmonium, wrought iron altar rails, 2 wrought iron lamp holders in sanctuary and 4 corona lamp holders with crested decoration suspended by chains and still used to light the church. Mid C18 pedimented marble tablet with volutes and palm leaf decoration to the Bryant family. Access to the pulpit is via the small meeting room on the north front. (Photograph in NMR). [6] The church has an early foundation as in 1110 the living was appropriated to Taunton Priory and assessed in the 1292 taxation. The west tower is 13th Century but the rest of the building is Perpendicular with later restoration. A stone over the porch bears the date 1693. The pews in the nave were given in 1882, when the chancel was repaired and the stained glass window inserted, the cost being met by JH Insole, Lord of the Manor. A marble tablet over the organ commemorates James Bryant (died 1733) and another plaque is to GL Cornish (died 1913). In 1959 there were plans to demolish the church but vigorous local protests prevented this and since this time, much preservation work has been carried out and a maintenance trust fund raised. [7] Complex plan. Stone, Render, roughcast and pebbledash walls. Collar beam, arch-braced, Gabled roof [8] 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. [9] The Church is depicted and labelled "St Mary Magdalene's Church" on 2018 MasterMap data. [10] The site was photographed by the RCHME in April 1999. [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. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Collinson J. 1791. History of Somerset. 295-6.
  • <3> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. 349.
  • <4> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 4 August 1965.
  • <5> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: Dulverton RD Somer (September 1955) 2.
  • <6> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: District of West Somerset (August 1986) 20.
  • <7> Monograph: Allen, N.V.. 1974. Churches and Chapels of Exmoor. Exmoor Press. 89.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records.
  • <9> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <10>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap. [Mapped feature: #46478 ]
  • <11> Photograph: Hesketh-Roberth, M.. 1999. Job: Withiel Florey Church. Colour. Negative.
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36688, Extant 4 May 2022.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1648/4/34
  • Church Heritage Record ID: 601454
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10821
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11090
  • Local List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 SE4
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36688
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33387
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31356



Grid reference Centred SS 9869 3327 (21m by 11m)
Map sheet SS93SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

May 4 2022 1:10PM


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