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St Peter, Shepton Montague, Somerset

(51°5′1″N, 2°27′19″W)
Shepton Montague
ST 682 317
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
medieval St Peter
now St Peter
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
10 July 2007

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Feature Sets

The parish of Shepton Montague, Somerset, is sited midway between Wincanton, Bruton and Castle Cary. It comprises the hamlets of Higher and Lower Shepton in the west, Knowle in the centre, and Stoney Stoke, formerly Stoke Holloway, in the east. Much of the northern and part of the southern boundaries of the main part of the parish follow streams which flow into the river Brue. The church comprised a nave, 13thc chancel, and S porch tower. It suffered a very damaging fire in 1964 and the present reconstruction dates from 1965-6, incorporating the original nave and Perp. tower. The 12thc sculptural fragments now attached to the exterior of the E wall were discovered embedded in the 13thc chancel remains during building work.


In 1066 Shepton was held by Toli, and Stoney Stoke by Robert son of Wimarc. In 1086 both were both owned by Robert, count of Mortain, and were then considered a single manor, held of him by Drew. Probably between 1166 and 1169 Alice de Piro granted the church to the canons of Bruton. The grant of 'so much as belongs to the patron' was confirmed c. 1216 and the patronage was confirmed to the canons of Bruton in 1236.


Loose Sculpture


Note: the Pevsner volume (which predates the 1960s rebuilding) does not mention the Romanesque sculpture because it had not yet come to light.

Fragment 1: in the opinion of the fieldworker, the head seems typically Romanesque with its bulbous eyes.

Fragment 2: As it is not possible to determine the curvature, if any, of the fragment, its original position and function is uncertain but it might have been part of the original chancel arch.

Fragment 3: This is reminiscent of a Romanesque type of impost used between the jamb and arch of a portal or chancel arch. The R hand side suggests that the block might have belonged on the N side of the original feture, perhaps the chancel arch.

Fragments 2 and 4 could be part of string-courses, and they are stylistically related through the use of the octagonal ball motif. Fragment 3 could imply the presence of a lost doorway or chancel arch. Given that they were found in the fill of the 13thc chancel, the features may well have been visible for only 150 years or so before the new chancel was built. One wonders how much other recycled early material in similar contexts elsewhere is yet to be discovered.

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications (London, 1899), III, 252.

'Shepton Montague', in A P Baggs and M C Siraut, A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 7, Bruton, Horethorne and Norton Ferris Hundreds, ed. C R J Currie and R W Dunning (London, 1999), pp. 192-201. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=18753. [accessed 10 October 2022].

Historic England listing 1252084

  1. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West (Harmondsworth, 1958), 288.

Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 54463. Online at http://webapp1.somerset.gov.uk/her/text.asp