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St Martin, Fivehead, Somerset

(51°0′6″N, 2°55′29″W)
ST 352 229
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
  • Robin Downes
31 March 2005

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Fivehead is a good-sized village in central Somerset, 8 miles E of Taunton. The village stands on the slopes of Fivehead Hill, on land that runs gently down to the Fivehead River, a tributary of the river Isle. The church is in the centre of the village and Langford manor house is just outside the centre, to the E.

St Martin’s is of Lias rubble, mostly squared and coursed, with Hamstone dressings. It consists of a nave with a S aisle and S porch, a chancel and a W tower. The church dates mostly from the 13thc and 15thc, and was restored in the 19thc and 20thc. The only Romanesque features are a small section of chip-carved stringcourse set in the inner S wall of the nave at its E end, and the font.


In 1086 Bertram held Fivehead from Roger de Courseulles, and it was assessed at 1½ hides with 15 acres of meadow and 20 acres of woodland. Cathanger in Fivehead was one of the holdings of Muchelney Abbey, valued at 1½ hides. Of this, Ingulf held one hide and there were 6 acres of meadow and 15 acres of woodland.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration





The vill is called Fifhide in the Domesday Survey, and according to Mills this indicates its size (5 hides), but no estate of this size was recorded in 1086. The chip-carved stone is the only evidence of 12thc fabric, but as it is reset it offers no clue to its original location. It could date from c.1080-1120.


EH, English Heritage Listed Building 431724.

A. D. Mills, A Dictionary of English Place-names, Oxford 1991 (reprinted and corrected 1995), 132.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, Harmondsworth 1958, 149.

Somerset County Council, Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 22691.

VCH, Victoria County History: Somerset, II, London 1911, 103-07 (on Muchelney).