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St Bridget, Chelvey, Somerset

(51°24′42″N, 2°46′8″W)
ST 46618 68367
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now North Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
02 Jun 2009

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The hamlet of Chelvey (‘calf-farm’), comprising church, manor house and farm, is in an isolated setting at an altitude of about 10m above OD. It lies on the lane between Backwell (1 mile to the east) and Clevedon (4.5 miles to the west). Today it is only 0.5 miles from the southern edge of the rapidly expanded town of Nailsea, although Chelvey enjoys a fair measure of rural tranquillity. Church and manor house occupy the edge of a bluff towards the western extension of a Mercia Mudstone (Keuper Marl) projection into the Yeo valley Alluvium. The church of St Bridget, which is built of coursed rubble with freestone dressings, consists of a W tower, nave, S aisle and chapel, S porch and chancel. Romanesque elements comprise a doorway, the font, a window and some reset sculptural fragments.


In 1086 the manor was held by Rumald, sub-tenant of Matthew of Mortagne, apart from a virgate held by the Bishop of Coutances, the major landowner in the area.


Exterior Features



Interior Features

Interior Decoration





Altogether, however simple and conventional, the S portal is very gratifying in its quiet dignity and well-balanced design.

The two lengths of mouldings (one in the chancel, the other in the S aisle) may well be related, especailly as they are virtually identical in height and depth, and feature angle returns, although the lengths are a little different. They are difficult to date precisely - the chancel moulding in particular with its vertical cuts is somewhat unusual - though both could sit comfortably within a Romanesque date. one possibility is that they may have been abaci for a feature such as a chancel arch.

The unusual roll mouldings under the font bowl look cut off and the edges have noticeably less definition than the mouldings themselves, which suggests that alternate exterior faces of the bowl may have been been recut.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications (London, 1899), III, 83.

Historic England listing 1129822

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol (Harmondsworth, 1958), 155.

S. Rippon, 'Landscape, Community and Colonisation: the North Somerset Levels during the 1st to 2nd millennia AD', CBA Research Report 156 (2006).