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St Leonard, Pitcombe, Somerset

(51°5′33″N, 2°28′5″W)
ST 673 327
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
8 Dec 2005

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Feature Sets

The village of Pitcombe lies 1.5 miles SW of Bruton. The ancient parish of Pitcombe, originally part of the minster parish of Bruton, occupied a crescent-shaped area to its S and SW. It included the village of Pitcombe in a valley at the centre of the crescent and the hamlets of Cole to the N, Honeywick and Hadspen to the W, and Hadspen House towards the S. The church (with the exception of the tower) was rebuilt in 1857-8 to designs by G. E. Street and has a chancel with N vestry, a nave with N aisle and S porch, and a W tower. The font is believed to be 12thc.


DB records that Alweald held Pitcombe in 1066, and that is was held in 1086 by Turstin son of Rolf from the king. By 1212 and possibly much earlier Pitcombe manor was held by the Lovels and was often regarded as part of Castle Cary manor. (VCH). Pitcombe was initially probably a dependent chapel of the minster, and certainly of the later priory, at Bruton. The chapel was dedicated and endowed around 1197 but remained dependent on Bruton priory until that was dissolved in 1539. (VCH)





Given that Pitcombe was a dependant chapel of Bruton, the font, if early 12thc, may signify that partial independence had been achieved by then.

Altogether, all aspects of the font unite into an impressive and handsome whole. Only the bowl is convincingly original, but the other parts are fitting accompaniment and support. It is assumed to be Romanesque, although it has to be said that fonts of this jewelled design are notoriously difficult to date and the possibility remains that it could be 13thc or later work made to a simple design.


A. P. Baggs and M. C. Siraut, 'Pitcombe', in 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), 50-59. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/som/vol7/pp50-59 [accessed 6 March 2023].

Historic England listing 1251821.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset (Harmondsworth, 1958), 273.