Historic Environment Record images

MSO7737 - St Mary's Church and Churchyard, Oare

ENPHER Number:MSO7737
Name:St Mary's Church and Churchyard, Oare
Type of Record:Building
Grid Reference:SS 8020 4730

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record caveat document.


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).

Monument Types

  • CHURCHYARD (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD? to 2050 AD (Unclassified))
  • PARISH CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 2050 AD (Unclassified))

Designated Status

  • Listed Building (II*) 1345381: CHURCH OF ST MARY


(SS 80214731) 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 DARE CP DARE 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. R D 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]

The graveyard has been in use since at least medieval times. [9]

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. [10]

Mochan, P, Unknown, Lorna Doone of Exmoor: Fact fiction or legend (Monograph). SEM8194.

<1> Ordnance Survey, 1902-1907, County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map, 1905 (Map). SEM7190.

<2> Eeles F.C, 1928, Oare and Culbone, 3-10, illustrations (Monograph). SSO1108.

<3> PALMER, JP, Field Investigators Comments, Ordnance Survey visit, 8 July 1965 (Unpublished document). SMO7316.

<4> Department of the Environment, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest , DOE (HHR) Williton RD Somer (March 1962) 53 (Index). SMO5109.

<5> Department of the Environment, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest , West Somer Dist (Exford et al) (2 January 1986) 21 (Index). SMO5109.

<5> Allen, N.V., 1974, Churches and Chapels of Exmoor (Monograph). SSO727.

<7> Devonshire Association, 1862 -, Devonshire Association reports and transactions, Volume 60 (1928), 26-7 (Serial). SMO5393.

<8> Pevsner, N., 1958, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, 265-6 (Monograph). SMO5711.

<9> Various, Various, Oral Information or Staff Comments, M Aston, Somerset County Council, 7 December 1976 (Verbal communication). SMO5308.

<10> Lawrence, G., 2014, Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13 (Report). SEM8060.

<11> Mochan, P, Unknown, Lorna Doone of Exmoor: Fact fiction or legend (Monograph). SEM8194.

Other 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 (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NW4
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35887
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33844
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31163
Date Last Edited:Jan 30 2017 12:59PM


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