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St James, South Stoke, Somerset

(51°20′57″N, 2°21′57″W)
South Stoke
ST 746 612
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
medieval St James
now St James
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
11 February 2010

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=9507.

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Feature Sets

South Stoke village is a mere 500m from the good roads which run across the downs south of Bath but is shielded from all the hustle and bustle by being just beneath the lip of the valley scarp. Geologically, the plateau N of the village is of Great Oolite Limestone, the valley to the S an area of landslip. The parish boundary follows Wansdyke to the N, Horsecombe Brook to the NE down to Midford Brook, Cam Brook to the Sand a side valley of the Cam Valley to the W. The church, on the SW edge of the small village along with the manor farm etc., lies at an altitude of 145m. It consists of a W tower, a nave, a N porch, a S aisle and a chancel; the N doorway is the only Romanesque remain.


There is no mention in Domesday Book for South Stoke.


Exterior Features



The rosettes with pelleted circles are rather unusual. They appear to parallel the pateræ or roundels found at Old Sarum and Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire; St Nicholas, Kenilworth, Warwickshire; Lullington, Somerset; Portchester Priory, Hampshire; Bishop Alexander of Lincoln’s castle at Newark, Nottinghamshire; Llandaff and Hereford Cathedrals and Ashchurch and Forthampton, Gloucestershire. Roger Stalley attributes the distribution of these roundels to the family and political connections of Bishop Roger of Salisbury. Allan Brodie (in the CRSBI entry for Codford, St Mary) suggests that other examples, such as those at Codford St Mary, Wiltshire, may have been made by sculptors during the diaspora of workers from Bishop Roger’s workshop after the bishop’s death (see CRSBI site reports).

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications, London 1899, III, 267.

Historic England listing 1277046

  1. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, Harmondsworth 1958, 261.

R. Stalley ‘A Twelfth Century Patron of Architecture’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, Vol XXXIV, 3rd series (1971), 67, n.6.

W. W. Wheatley. Sepia and grey watercolour and pencil drawing of Norman entrance doorway, 1843. Held in Braikenridge Collection, SANHS, Somerset Heritage Centre, reference number A/DAS/1/357/2.