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St Andrew, Mells, Somerset

(51°14′31″N, 2°23′27″W)
ST 728 493
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
medieval St Andrew
now St Andrew
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
16 Aug 2007

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Feature Sets

Mells is four miles W of Frome. Named after its pre-industrial mills, the village straddles the wooded valley of the E-flowing Mells Stream at about 100m OD, where the Mendip Hills decline eastwards. The view from the S, across the wooded valley, shows the church and adjacent manor house very much to their advantage. As usual in this area, limestone quarries dominate, with the Whatley Quarry to the S. There are no main roads in the vicinity. The Grade 1 listed church of St Andrew is largely built of Doulting ashlar and is predominantly late 15thc, with a famous Perp tower. There is a nave with N and S aisles which continue as chapels alongside the chapel; also a S porch. There was a mid-19thc restoration. There is a Romanesque tub font.


DB records that the manor was held by Glastonbury Abbey. In 1086 Godiva held 1 hide of this manor’s land from the Abbot. Her husband held it before 1066. The Bishop of Coutances held 5½ hides from the King, which belonged to this manor. Two thanes held them before 1066.





To judge by its general appearance and the fine new cover, the font is well looked after: deservedly so, since its design and execution, in white local stone, are fine. There are not many fonts which make such a bold statement, but one might offer as an analogue that at the South Somerset church of St Michael at Shepton Beauchamp. The cable moulding is quite finely-sculptured and precise in its execution, which may perhaps suggest a date closer to 1200 than 1100.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, III (London, 1899), 199.

Historic England listing 1295876.

V. Littlewood, The Church of St Andrews, Mells (Private Press, 1981).

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol (Harmondsworth, 1958), 224.