St Margaret, Thorne St Margaret, Somerset

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Feature Sets (3)


The village of Thorne St Margaret stands on rising ground on the S bank of the River Tone, 7miles W of Taunton and less than 2 miles from the Devon border. The church is in the centre of the village, and consists of a 2-bay chancel with a S vestry and organ room, a nave with S aisle and S porch, and a W tower, all of red sandstone random rubble. The tower is 15thc and the remainder 19thc, but there are 12thc carved stones reused on the interior of the S doorway, and a 12thc font.


In 1086 Thorne St Margaret (Torne) was held by Alric from Roger of Courseulles, and before the Conquest it was held by 3 thegns, Almer and his 2 brothers. I paid geld for 1 hide and 3 virgates. The vill also included 4 acres of meadow, 30 acres of pasture, 8 acres of woodland and a mill.



Exterior Features


S nave doorway

The doorway is ogee-headed (i.e. 14thc or later), as is the rere-arch inside, but the latter has been assembled from two similar-sized flat slabs carved with chevron in low relief that meet at the apex of the arch which has been shaped to form an ogee at the intrados and a depressed round head at the extrados. The W piece is better-preserved and carved with 3 complete units of lateral chevron of hollow profile with stepped inner and outer edges. The E section may have been similar, but is worn towards the intrados so that only the outer chevron fillet remains.




Located at W end nave, N of centre, adjacent to the W wall, a chalice-shaped font of red sandstone, probably from Devon, consisting of a cup-shaped bowl with a cylindrical stem on an Attic base. This stands on an unattractive modern step.

The lead lining comes up to and across the rim.

Depth of bowl 0.26m
Ext. diameter of bowl at rim 0.69m
Height of base 0.25m
Height of bowl 0.35m
Height of stem 0.24m
Int. diameter of bowl at rim 0.47m
Total height of font (excluding step) 0.95m


The EH list description describes the chevron inside the S doorway as ‘Norman zig-zag moulding on reredos of entrance, probably reset', and the font as Saxon. Neither was noted by Pevsner.

The author remarks that the bowl itself is rounded so as to curve in from a point about ¼ from the top, which seems very satisfying. Such a good shape needed no decoration, which perhaps would have been more difficult to execute in this sandstone than in the more usual limestone


  • EH, English Heritage Listed Building 271133.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, Harmondsworth 1958, 322.

  • Somerset County Council, Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 41081.

Exterior from N
THORNE, groundplan of St Margaret's by C.E. Giles (?), 1863-5. Image from Church Plans Online (Published by the NOF Digitise Architecture England Consortium).


Site Location
Thorne St Margaret
National Grid Reference
ST 098 211 
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 Margaret
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Robin Downes 
Visit Date
27 July 2004