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St Peter and St Paul, Chiselborough, Somerset

(50°55′51″N, 2°45′30″W)
ST 468 149
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
22 November 2005, 18 March 2008, 20 April 2022

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=13104.

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Chiselborough is 6 miles NE of Crewkerne. The place-name is derived from the Saxon ‘cisel’ [= gravel, shingle] and ‘beorg’ [= hill] so it may be construed as Saxon for ‘Sandy Hill’. The settlement occupies a narrow NW/SE valley running up into the limestone hills composed of the famous Hamstone. The photograph taken from Ham Hill, the site of the quarries, shows the NW end of the village projecting onto lower ground between Gawler’s and Balham Hills. The church (whose steeple is visible in the photograph) is almost the last building in the NW direction. The church has 12thc origins with a 17thc chancel; a rebuilding of the nave took place in 1842. The building features a 3-cell plan of a 2-bay chancel, a crossing tower with a spire, and a 5-bay nave with matching N and S porches. Construction is of Hamstone coursed rubble in the tower, cut and squared in the chancel and ashlar in the nave.

The W crossing arch is a structure of 1911 incorporating three re-used 12thc elements that were found buried in the walls. Further re-used Romanesque features are two heads fixed to the E wall of the chancel.


Domesday Book reports that Chiselborough was held by Alvred from the Count of Mortain in 1086 and by two thegns in 1066. It was assessed at 5 hides and also contained 38 acres of meadow, 3 acres of scrubland and a mill.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

The W crossing arch is fully described although it is entirely modern except for the N capital and both nook-shaft bases. The two heads on the E wall are mentioned neither by Pevsner nor in the list description.

Thanks are due to Brian and Moira Gittos for drawing the attention of the report author to these sculptures.

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications, London 1899, III, 86.

Historic England listing 1345758

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, Harmondsworth 1958, 125.

Somerset Historic Environment Record 56170