Now within the civil parish of Hemington, the tiny hamlet of Hardington Bampfylde (not to be confused with Hardington Mandeville in South Somerset), hardly more than church and farm, lies in a valley in gently undulating country between Frome and Radstock, 3½ mls NW of Frome. Like Hemington, a mile to the NW, Hardington lies below and within the angle formed by two main roads: the A362 between Frome and Radstock, and the A366 to Trowbridge in Wiltshire via Norton St Philip. Vestiges of a more considerable former context for the present severely truncated settlement are the Domesday entry, the evidence for a deerpark to the NW, between Hardington and Hemington, focused on Hardington Hill (see Somerset Historic Environment Record 23662), a shrunken village (ibid., 23660), a manor house site with accessories (23661, 23664/5) and a moated site which may indicate an earlier manor house (23666). The church and farm lie on a terrace at about 100m above OD; to the N is the slope up Hemington Hill (155m above OD at the summit), to the S is a short steeper drop to Hardington Brook.
St Mary's is a building of coursed rubble and ashlar dating from the 11thc to the 15thc. It consists of a nave, chancel and W tower and is externally mostly in the Decorated style. There is some dispute over the date of the chancel arch, which may be 12thc and is thus included here. The font is certainly 12thc.
The manor was held by three thegns in 1066 and by Ralph Rufus from the Bishop of Coutances in 1086. It was assessed at 4 hides and in addition to the ploughland contained 36 acres of meadow and 12 acres of underwood. One hide of this manor belonged to the manor of Hemington, and was held by Baldwin.
By the time of Henry III the manor was held by William and Alexander de Hardington, and in 1315/16 it was held by the heirs of John le Sure (Collinson (1791).
Two orders to W, depressed round headed.
Originally with detached nook shafts, both now missing. Their capitals remain and are tall cushions with plain roll neckings carrying imposts continuous with those of the 1st order. The S jamb, hidden by the pulpit, has been cut back and there are losses to the capital and impost on this side.
Now that the church is not regularly used for worship and furniture has been cleared, the font is in splendid isolation with ample ambient space. Unusually but not uniquely (cf. Whatley, for example), it sits opposite the S door to the N of centre and quite near the N wall of the nave. Its design is simple and striking.
Especially pleasing is the articulation in the form of the bowl from circular bottom to square top: the faces are cleanly cut to make cushion shapes. The plinth is a simple square block with sides flush to the base and corners rounded down; it is much smaller than usual and is without any place for ewer or celebrant, although that does not seem to spoil the overall balance. The base consists of two plain and slightly rounded rolls gently differentiated in size. The cylindrical stem is marked off at each end with delicate rolls. The bowl is not now equipped with lead. Overall condition is good.
|Height of base||0.07/0.085m|
|Height of bowl||0.40m|
|Height of plinth||0.11m|
|Height of stem||1.23m|
|Max. height of flat side of bowl||0.305m|
|Circumference of stem||1.23m|
|Depth of bowl||0.235m|
|Dimensions of bowl at top||0.665m x 0.665m|
|Width of rim of bowl||0.095m|
J. Collinson, The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset, 3 Vols, Bath 1791, I, 453.
Historic England Listed building 267878.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings ofEngland: North Somerset andBristol. Harmondsworth 1958, 202.
Somerset County Council Historic Environment Record 21715