St Peter, Maperton, Somerset

Download as PDF

Feature Sets (3)


Maperton is a village in the South Somerset district of the county, 3 miles SW of Wincanton, on the S side of the A303 trunk road.  The village is clustered around the junction of the three minor roads, with the church at its centre.  The church consists of a three-bay chancel, a four-bay nave with a S porch, small N and S transepts, and a W tower.  The tower is late 15thc, and the remainder was rebuilt in 1869. Construction is of local stone cut and squared, with Doulting or Ham stone dressings.  The font is Romanesque, as are a carved head reset in the porch and another in the tower.  The worn lower stone of a niche in the porch is also included here, although a Romanesque date is by no means secure.


Maperton was held by Alwold in 1066, but by 1086 it had passed to Goisfrid who held it from Turstin fitzRolf.  The manor descended with North Cadbury, the overlordship passing from Turstin to Wynebald de Ballon (1092), and thence to his daughter Wynebald’s son Henry Newmarch (d.1198), who was succeeded by his two sons William (d.1204) and James (d.1216) in turn.  The later history may be seen on the VCH website.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


1. Head reset in S porch

A generally worn corbel-like human head carving reset in the interior E wall of the porch. The head is pear-shaped with a straight closed mouth, triangular nose, and close-set eyes, drilled for pupils.  The crown of the head is pointed and apparently bald.

Distance from outer portal arch 0.12m
Height above pavement 2.00m

2. Carved stone used as cill of niche in S porch

In the E wall of the S porch is a niche with a continuous pointed chamfered arch above a cill that is a damaged, reused carved stone of uncertain date. The cill may once have been a capital.  It is trapezoidal with the narrow side at the bottom, and has a lattice design inscribed on the front face and remains of deeply carved foliage below the upper angles.

Height above pavement 0.90m
Height of cill stone 0.26m
Maximum width of cill stone at top 0.36m

3. Head reset in W tower

An oval male human head mask carved in relief and set in the inner N wall of the tower.  The chin is pointed, the crown bald and broad, the eyes narrow and oval, the nose long and narrow, and the mouth open. Condition is good.

Distance from W wall 0.535m
Height above pavement 1.44m
Height of head 0.085m
Width of head 0.08m




The font stands in a confined space in the SW part of the nave, W of the S doorway and very close to the W wall of the nave, adjacent to the S pier of the tower arch. It consists of an octagonal bowl, curved in at the bottom, on a cylindrical shaft showing fairly regular vertical tooling.with a double-roll base and a square plinth. Between the shaft and the bowl is a torus of modest dimensions, and the upper rim of the bowl projects strongly. There is no lead lining, and the notably smooth internal sides curve gently into a dished bottom.  It is of a grey/yellow stone, with damage around the rim.


Circumference of base 2.18m
Circumference of stem 1.51m
Dimensions of plinth 0.83m x 0.83m
External width of bowl (across flats) 0.75m
Internal diameter of bowl 0.60m
Depth of basin 0.31m
Height of base 0.20m
Height of bowl (inc. lower torus) 0.41m
Height of plinth 0.08m
Height of stem 0.33m
Overall height of font 1.04m


The font dates from c.1200 or slightly later.  The low-relief head in the tower is more certainly Romanesque in style, being typically coarse but bold in design and in low relief.  The head in the porch is more difficult to date.  It might be 12thc, but its caricature-like quality is more suggestive of the 13thc (editor).  The niche cill stone has been included despite the fact that such foliage as survives is more likely to belong to the 13thc than the 12thc.


  • English Heritage Listed Building 262062 

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Harmondsworth 1958, 229.

  • Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 52179

  • Victoria County History, Somerset XI.   Draft Text accessed 28/09/12.

Exterior from SE


Site Location
National Grid Reference
ST 672 261 
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 Peter and St Paul
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Robin Downes 
Visit Date
9 October 2006