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Description: Church Without Dedication
Date Listed: 17 April 1959
English Heritage Building ID: 263114
OS Grid Reference: ST4324029100
OS Grid Coordinates: 343240, 129100
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0584, -2.8113
Explore more of the area around High Ham, Somerset at Explore Britain.
HIGH HAM CP
5/50 Church without Dedication
Anglican Parish Church, formerly private chapel to manor. On site of earlier church, started early C17, damaged in
Civil War, completed in 1690. Local lias stone cut and squared, Ham stone dressings; Welsh slate roofs, coped gables
behind castellated parapets. In a Gothic survival style. Four-unit plan of 2-bay chancel, 3-bay nave, north and south
aisles, and a west tower. Chancel has plinth, cill and eaves courses, crenellated parapet with corner gargoyles, and
angled corner buttresses of nearly full height; east window of 3 lights in hollowed almost semi-circular arched recess,
with stilted headstop label, cinquefoil cusped lights below elaborate circular/ stellar tracery; in north and south
walls 2-light windows in pointed- arched hollowed recesses without labels, lights 'Y' traceried with reversed 'V'
subtracery; in north west corner a moulded cambered arched doorway with 3-panel plank and covermould door with carved
toprail incorporating arms and initials of George Stawel, who completed the church. Nave clerestorey has elaborate lead
stackheads each side; 3-light cinquefoil cusped windows in hollowed pointed-arched recesses, with quasi-gothic tracery
of three quatrefoils with added cusping, battlemented parapet above. Aisles match; plinth, cill and eaves courses,
crenellated parapets, bay buttresses; in both east walls and west wall of north aisle are single- light windows to
match detail of side chancel windows; in side walls 3- light cinquefoil cusped windows with almost reticulated tracery,
in almost semi-circular arched hollowed recesses. Tower of 3 stages; plinth, offset string courses, eaves course with
gargoyles and low crenellated parapet, half-height angled corner buttresses to west face, and half-height square-plan
stair turret on south east corner, with monopitch tarred stone roof: stage 1 has plain sides, but a west door with
triangular head in flat-arched hollowed surround having carved spandrils, framing 4-panel door with carved sunburst
overthrow and C17 hinges; above a 3-light window with 'correct' C15 tracery, possibly a re-use; to 3 sides of stage 2 a
single- light trefoil cusped window in rectangular chamfered recess without label, that on west masked by clockface; to
all faces stage 3 a 2-light C15 style traceried window in stilted pointed arched recess. Inside, the chancel mostly
C19, with arch-braced collar truss roof, C19 side panelling but C17 reredos and panelling to east wall, C17 altar
table, also 2 C17 benches; chancel arch a double unpanelled C15 style, with fine C17 screen which appears to
incorporate C15 fragments. Nave has C19 arch- braced collar truss roof, C15 style arcades, original stone flag floors
and C17 fittings including fine pulpit (originally in SS Peter and Paul, Muchelney, q.v.), reading desk and box-type
pews without doors. Aisles have matching pews, and lean-to roofs mostly C19 but with earlier fragments. Under the tower
a C19 octagonal font, a C17 chest and an elaborate stone and glazed screen with double doors is c1800, and was removed
by a former Lord Mayor of Bristol, Sir Charles Wathen also Lord of the Manor from his private chapel there. Stone
version of Royal arms in east wall, north aisle, and under it monument to Sir Edward Hext, died 1624, with effigies of
him and his wife, enclosed by wrot iron railings; on east wall of south aisle marble monument to Ralph Stawell, died
168i; a curtained plaque on elaborate plinth with flanking cherubs, to sides of plaque Corinthian columns carrying
segmental pediment with cartouche of arms, all enclosed by C17 railings, some with twists and a variety of spearheads.
Much C17 stained glass in chancel, including whole of east window. Two medieval bells in tower, one c1500, the other
not later than 1350. Until 1921 this church was the private chapel of the Lord of the Manor: the manor house was
demolished in late C17 and a sumptuous new manor begun south of the church, but never finished - it was eventually
demolished. (Pevsner N, Buildings of England, South and West Somerset, 1958; Rev. Terrell, R.C.P. A Guide to Low Ham
Church, Unpublished, Undated).
Listing NGR: ST4323929099
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.