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St Augustine of Hippo, Clutton, Somerset

(51°19′40″N, 2°32′32″W)
ST623 589
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes

5 May 2010

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Clutton is a village on the edge of the Chew vally elevated at between 100m and 200m in the Mendip Hills, astride and aside to the east of the main A37 road running south from Bristol to the English Channel coast, 9 miles from Bristol and Bath, and 11 miles from Wells. The church of St Augustine of Hippo which is built of squared and coursed sandstone with freestone dressings to tower, is at an altitude of c.120m above OD, 300m east of the main road, adjacent to the usual farm, whose fields surround the church except to the east. The church consists of a W tower, nave, chancel, N and S aisles and S porch. The Romanesque elements comprise the late 12thc. S doorway and chancel arch.


Like much land in North Somerset, in 1086 the manor belonged to the Bishop of Coutances.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

The author wishes to record his thanks for access to the church (closed for building works and refurbishment during the winter of 2009/2010) to the churchwarden Rose Mays.

The doorway depends heavily on the roll-moulding as a unifying principle of design: the first order has chamfered plain jambs supporting a plain chamfered arch; the second order has nook-shafts with capitals supporting (through rounded imposts) an arch composed of three rolls; the third order is a continuous roll; the hoodmould is another roll terminating just above the imposts. In terms of date, the base mouldings (as restored, at least) approximate to a Transitional ‘water-holding’ profile, the capitals (the tips of the leaves rather damaged) are also of a Transitional type and the presence of a keel-moulding all suggest a date in the very late 12th century. Indeed, the ensemble of the roll mouldings is almost EE in feel.

The chancel arch, which is probably c.1190, is quite an ambitious feature, with its point-to-point chevron and roll, and elaborate capitals, suggesting plentiful patronage. Like the doorway, the first order is plain except for a chamfer, the third order is a continuous keel-moulded roll, and the hoodmoulding is yet another roll. This suggests that the two features are closely related and may well be part of the same building campaign.

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

Historic England Listing 1320766

  1. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol (Harmondsworth, 1958), 171.