St Andrew, Withypool, Somerset

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Feature Sets (2)


Withypool is a remotely placed village on Exmoor, on the river Barle, 10 miles SW of Minehead. Village clusters around a junction of minor roads at the river crossing, with the church at the centre. St Andrew’s is a late-medieval building consisting of a chancel, a three-bay nave with a N aisle and a S porch. The W tower was rebuilt in the early 17thc. The church is constructed of random rubble from a local source and was restored and refitted in 1887 and restored again, and the tower rebuilt, in 1902. The only Romanesque feature is a font carved with scallops and chevron ornament.


Withypool was held by Robert d’Auberville in 1086, and by 3 foresters before the Conquest. It was assessed at just half a hide.






The font is located at the W end of the nave, N of the central aisle and close to the W wall. It is chalice-shaped with a round, multi-scalloped bowl without defined shields, but with a thick band of nested chevron around the upper rim. The rim itself is relatively broad & the lead comes up to & across a small inner section. The bowl stands on a cylindrical shaft, and that on a drum base with a quadrant roll around the upper edge of the drum and a thinner one at the foot of the shaft, and a row of worn billet in the hollow between them. The font is of clean white stone (limestone?) and in reasonable condition except for the wear to the billet band on the base.


Depth of bowl 0.26m
External diameter of bowl at rim 0.77m
height of bowl 0.38m
Internal diameter of bowl at rim 0.52m
Total height of font 0.95m


The editor notes the similarity of this font to those of the Aylesbury Group, and thus suggests a date after c.1170 without suggesting any connection at the level of production whatsoever. More locally, the plainer font at Mapperton (Dorset) has scallops on the bowl.


  • EH, English Heritage Listed Building 265578.

  • Exmoor National Park HER, ENPHER Monument Number MSO8668.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, Harmondsworth 1958, 350.

Exterior from SE


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SS 846 356 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Somerset
now: Somerset
now: Bath & Wells
medieval: Sherborne (to 909), Wells (to 1090), Bath (to 1245), Bath & Wells (from 1245)
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Andrew
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Robin Downes 
Visit Date
06 July 2004