East Lyng is in the Sedgemoor district of Somerset, 7½ miles NE of Taunton and 5½ miles SE of Bridgwater. The three Lyngs (East Lyng, West Lyng and Lyng) lie along a ridge that extends eastwards like a tongue from the Quantock hills into the low drained moorland of the river Parrett floodplain.East Lyng is the largest of the three, and the only one with a church. The settlement is clustered around a junction on the A361 running E from Taunton towards Street and Glastonbury. The church stands in the centre of the village, alongside the main road.
The church dates from the 14thc and 15thc and consists of a 3-bay nave with N and S porches, a 2-bay chancel and a W tower. It is built of coursed and squared blue lias rubble with freestone dressings, and was restored in the mid-19thc. The only Romanesque feature is the plain font.
The ancient parish of Lyng included a Saxon burh, now occupied by the village of East Lyng, and the Isle of Athelney to the E. Athelney abbey was founded by King Alfred in 888, and the rest of Lyng was added to the abbey’s holdings by Athelstan in 937. Lyng church was described as a chapel in 1291, when it was presumably an outpost of the abbey church, staffed by the monks. A vicarage was ordained here by 1348, and the advowson remained with the abbey until the Dissolution. In 1086 Lyng was held by the Benedictine abbey of Athelney, and it consisted then of just 1 hide of ploughland, 12 acres of meadow and 50 acres of woodland.
A weekly market was granted by Henry III to the prior and convent of Athelney, to be held at Lyng manor, in 1267, but this had ceased to operate by 1349. An annual fair was recorded in 1349-50, and this had lapsed by 1399.
Located at the W end of the nave, in the central aisle, forward of the tower arch, a Norman tub, in hamstone or similar, although the superficial whiteness may be evidence of it having been painted at some time. The bowl is supported on a shallow cylindrical stem, and this on a base with a plinth below.
The bowl is of the usual tub form. There is a strong torus roll running round the rim. The lead lining reaches across nearly half the rim. There is evidence of lock fittings on the W and E sides of the rim. Also in the rim, on the N side, there is a repair from some other fitting. The surface is vertically tooled, and the internal sides curve slightly at their base into the usual dished bottom.
The stem is a relatively shallow cylinder apparently in two blocks, and between stem and bowl is a narrow roll. The base of the font is basically circular but has been cut back almost flush to the stem on the W side. The top of the base is chamfered but there is a substantial shelf between the top of the chamfer & the bottom of the stem of the font. The plinth underneath the font is a substantial block apparently of blue lias in two levels, but the extension to the W (for the priest’s platform) conforms in height with the lower of the two levels. The surface of the W extension has been neatly tooled with a broad instrument. The top surface of the main block has been worn or roughly chamfered in parts.
|Depth of basin||0.28m|
|Height of base||0.20m|
|Height of bowl (inc. roll below)||0.43m|
|Height of plinth||0.16m|
|Height of stem||0.17m|
|Overall height of font||1.07m|
|Circumference of base||2.11m|
|Circumference of bowl||2.00m|
|Circumference of stem||1,53m|
|External diameter of bowl at rim||0.65m|
|Internal diameter of bowl at rim||0.48m|
English Listed Building 269544
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Harmondsworth 1958, 227.
Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Records 10548, 13821.
Victoria County History: Somerset, II (1911), 99-103 (on Athelney).
Victoria County History: Somerset, VI (1992), 53-64.