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All Saints, Selworthy, Somerset

All Saints' Church, Selworthy, Minehead TA24 8TR, United Kingdom (51°12′36″N, 3°32′51″W)
SS 919 468
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
5 May 2005

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Selworthy lies 3 miles from Minehead, on the northern fringes of Exmoor, Somerset. It was rebuilt as a model village in 1828 by Sir Thomas Acland. The village and the surrounding Holnicote estate was given to the National Trust in 1944 by Sir Richard Acland. The church of All Saints, which is built of whitewashed roughcast-rendered rubble with Hamstone dressings, is described by the official Historic England listing text as 'one of the finest churches in the county'. It consists of a W tower, nave with N and S aisles, chancel and S porch. The Romanesque elements consist of a font and a piece of loose sculpture.


The name of the village means "enclosure or settlement near sallows or willows". In 1066 it was held by Queen Edith and was held by Ralph de Limesy in 1086. In 1301 Edward I awarded the estate to Henry de Pynkeny.




Loose Sculpture


The ex-situ piece is an interesting and puzzling piece of loose sculpture. Its date is not clear; it is not mentioned in the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, for instance, and its small scale of just over 30 cm (1ft) in diameter makes its suggested use as a font somewhat dubious. There is no evidence of a drain hole either which would be necessary for a piscina. Could this have been a stoup or a lavabo?

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications (London, 1899), III, 250.

F. Hancock, The Parish of Selworthy in the County of Somerset (1897), online at www.archive.org/stream/parishofselworth00hanc/parishofselworth00hanc_djvu.txt

Historic England listing 1296005, online at CHURCH OF ALL SAINTS, Selworthy - 1296005 | Historic England

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England South and West Somerset (Harmondsworth, 1958), 285.

J. Savage, History of the Hundred of Carhampton: In the County of Somerset (London, 1830), 182–196.