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St Thomas a Becket, Pylle, Somerset

(51°8′33″N, 2°33′47″W)
ST 607 383
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
31 July 2007, 12 May 2022

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Feature Sets

The village of Pylle is 4 miles SW of Shepton Mallet and 7 miles from Wells in the Mendips, Somerset. The line of the Roman Fosse Way, perpetuated by the A37, runs only 0.5 mile E of the village (and defines the E boundary of the parish except for a small salient further E). The church, manor house and farm rest on Lower Lias bedrock (specifically, the Langport Member known as ‘Blue Lias’), in a lush pastoral landscape. The church was rebuilt 1868 for the Portman family, except for the 15thc tower; it houses a Romanesque tub font.


In DB Pylle was part of the manor of Pilton, held by Glastonbury Abbey; Serlo held 5 hides in Pylle from the Abbey.





The font is something of an enigma. Its basic shape is conventional, yet is missing a base and pedestal (perhaps lost in the 19thc). Of more consequence is the highly unusual appearance of a well-known scalloped motif normally used on capitals rather than fonts, but its very uneven lower edge is distinctively freehand in style and very rough, even for this period. Could it perhaps be unfinished?

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications (London, 1899), III, 231.

Historic England listing 1175680

  1. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset (Harmondsworth, 1958), 279.

Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 21275. Available online at http://webapp1.somerset.gov.uk/her/text.asp