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St Mary, Hemington, Somerset

(51°16′31″N, 2°23′33″W)
ST 727 530
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
  • Robin Downes
24 August 2007, 31 August 2007

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Hemington is a hamlet in the E of the county, 4½ miles NW of Frome. It stands at the head of a valley leading SE towards Frome, below the ridge carrying the A366 NE through Faulkland to Norton St Philip. To the SW runs the ridge carrying the A362 between Radstock and Frome. Church and manor house are adjacent. The church, very well maintained and a great pleasure to visit, testifies to considerable local wealth and continuing generous patronage. It is large and even grand. It consists of a clerestoried nave with a S aisle and S porch; a chancel with a S chapel and N vestry, and a W tower. Although the church is predominantly Perpendicular, it preserves considerable work of the Norman period, notably the N doorway, chancel arch and font. The S arcade is 13thc but exhibits some similarities with earlier forms, and photographs have been included but no detailed descriptions. Putative Saxon remains have also been discovered nearby [see under VII. HISTORY].


Hemington belonged to Baldwin, Sheriff of Exeter in 1086, and to Siward before 1066. It was assessed at 21 hides with 12 acres of meadow, 50 acres of underwood and pasture half a league in length and width. The Domesday Survey records a total of 45 inhabitants, suggesting a total number around 200. This is a very large manor indeed by Somerset standards, held by a man who was rewarded with much of Devon for helping William the Conqueror at the siege of Exeter. A century later his lands passed to the Courteneys.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




The churchyard survey (Oswin 2006) produced evidence of of a rectangular structure 4 metres wide and 6 metres long protruding from the east end of the chancel of the church. Given that parts of the chancel date back to Norman times, this new find may indicate a Saxon church underlying the east end of the present building. The magnetometer did not show this building, but it showed a circular feature which is interrupted close to where the resistance survey showed the structure.


EH, English Heritage Listed Building 267882.

J. Oswin, The Lost Houses of Hemington: Geophysical survey and demonstration, Unpublished Bath & Camerton Archaeological Society report 2006.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, Harmondsworth 1958, 203.

Somerset County Council, Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 21719.