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St John the Baptist, South Brewham, Somerset

(51°7′24″N, 2°24′5″W)
South Brewham
ST 720 361
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
30 July 2008

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The village of South Brewham lies on the river Brue only about 2 miles from its source and about 2.5 miles upstream of the larger settlement of Bruton, 7 miles SE of Shepton Mallett. This is frontier country: hills rise gently eastwards up to the ridge of Gault along which runs the border with Wiltshire. South Brewham itself lies partly on the S side of the Brue and partly straddling it. The church St John the Baptist, on the S side, is at an altitude of about 100m OD on the N-facing slope of a hill which rises to just over 130m OD. The church has 13thc origins but has much late 19thc rebuilding. It consists of a SW tower, nave with N and S aisles and chancel. The S doorway may incorporate fragments of Romanesque sculpture, and there is a piece of loose sculpture at the E wall of the S aisle.


In 1066 North and South Brewham were held by Robert son of Wimarc and in 1086 by William de Mohun (I) with the addition of land formerly held by Almar. The manor continued to be held of the Mohuns and their successors the Luttrells of the honor of Dunster until at least 1746. (VCH)


Exterior Features


Loose Sculpture


The loose sculpture is interpreted by the fieldworker as the stem of a pillar piscina without its bowl. This would explain the hole through the middle, and the proportions (23cm or 9 inches square) would seem about right for such a feature. Alternatively, it could be part of a pair of matching bases supporting columns either side of a larger doorway.

The surrounding masonry of the S door is pointed in cement, suggesting that it may have been rebuilt in the 19thc. Moreover, they both have a pink tinge compared to the surrounding masonry, which could imply salvage after a fire in the distant past. Could the imposts and the base be fragments from the same original feature?

The fieldworker also notes the presence of six roughly-cut corbels above the S door which could be early in date, although as they are non-scuptural they are not relevant to this report.


A. P. Baggs & M. C. Siraut, 'Brewham', 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), pp. 6-15. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/som/vol7/pp6-15 [accessed 26 July 2022].

Historic England listing 1056463

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

Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 50716. Online at http://webapp1.somerset.gov.uk/her/text.asp