St Mary Magdalene, Barwick, Somerset

Download as PDF

Feature Sets (2)


Barwick is in the south of the county on the Dorset border, 1½ miles S of Yeovil. The village lies 300m E of the Roman road from Ilchester (Lindinis) to Dorchester (Durnovaria), now the A37, with the church just outside it to the NW. It dates largely from the 13thc, and is of Hamstone roughly squared & coursed, with ashlar dressings. It has a 2-bay chancel and a 3-bay aisled nave with a S porch. The tower is at the NE corner. The chancel was rebuilt in 1855 reusing earlier fragments. The font is the only Romanesque feature.


Barwick is not mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey. In 1228 Henry III granted a fair, and in 1231 a market, both to William de Cantilupe and both to be held at the manor.





The Hamstone font is positioned fairly centrally within a raised area at the W end of the N aisle, nowadays adapted for use by children. It consists of a cylindrical, fluted bowl with a double-torus upper rim and a band of cable moulding at the bottom, between the bowl and the stem. The stem is cylindrical and stands on a cylindrical base with a narrow chamfered upper edge. The condition is generally good, but the cable band is broken off at the W (severely) and the S (slightly), and the rim is damaged at SW & NE (possible evidence of previous lock-fitting). The bowl is lead-lined, the lining going over the edge of the rim. Inside, the sides fall vertically to a flattish bottom and the drain-hole is very much off-centre.

Circumference of base 2.06m
Circumference of bowl 1.94m
Circumference of stem 1.91m
Depth of bowl 0.25m
Ext. diameter of bowl 0.63m
h of base 0.33m
h of bowl (incl. lower cable band) 0.31m
h of stem 0.12m
Int. diameter of bowl 0.48m
Overall h of font 0.78m


Pevsner and the EH list description agree on the date of the font; EH describing it as 'early 12c', Pevsner merely as Norman.


  • English Heritage Listed Building 263559.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, Harmondsworth 1958, 84.

  • N. Pevsner and J. Sherwood, The Buildings of England. Oxfordshire, Harmondsworth 1974, 763.

  • Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 50350.

  • G Waldron, Guide to Barwick Church, 1968.


Exterior from W


Site Location
National Grid Reference
ST 558 139 
now: Somerset
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Somerset
now: Bath & Wells
medieval: Sherborne (to 909), Wells (to 1090), Bath (to 1245), Bath & Wells (from 1245)
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Mary Magdalene
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Robin Downes 
Visit Date
28 November 2005