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St John the Baptist, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

(51°21′10″N, 2°58′50″W)
ST 318 620
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now North Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
10 May 2023

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Feature Sets

Weston-super-mare (literally, translated from Latin, Weston-on-Sea) lies 20mi SW of Bristol in N Somerset. Geologically, the church of St John the Baptist rests on Clifton Down limestone (a quarry of which was close-by, up the hill from the church), above a thin band of Mercia Mudstone (Keuper Marl) and below Goblin Combe Oolite limestone, on the skirt of an E-W hill composed of limestone, with some basalt. The altitude of the church is about 16m. It is mostly built of limestone freestone and rubble, the latter presumably from the ground nearby and the former from the Oolite beds further up the hill. Replacing a medieval precursor, the present building in the neo-Perpendicular style dates from 1824, a response to the rapid population growth of the 19thc seaside resort. It has a W tower, nave with aisles and annexes. The only Romanesque feature is the font, recovered from an adjacent field in 1827.


Weston-super-Mare was a small village in the medieval period and is not recorded in DB.





Although the church guidebook claims that the font base is of a later date than the upper part, no evidence for this is given. The fieldworker sees nothing in the style of the base to place it in the EE category or later. If the stone used is limestone then its golden colour suggests that it is of the type known as Hamstone (although the Ham Hill quarries are near the southern edge of Somerset, at a considerable distance). Perhaps the base is simply composed of limestone of a lighter colour.


Anon., The Parish Church, Weston-super-Mare (Weston-super-Mare, 1972).

A. Brodie et al.,Weston-super-Mare: a Victorian Seaside Town (Swindon, 2019).

Historic England listing 1129734

North Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 1129734.

  1. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol (Harmondsworth, 1958), 337.