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North Curry, Somerset

(51°1′32″N, 2°58′20″W)
North Curry
ST 319 256
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Somerset
now Somerset
medieval Wells
now Bath & Wells
  • Robin Downes
  • Robin Downes
18 Mar 2008, 23 Mar 2022

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Feature Sets

North Curry is a village 5 miles E of Taunton. The village straddles and straggles along a low Mercia Mudstone ridge extending over the low moors NE of Taunton terminated by the River Parrett at Stathe. It lies just S of the River Tone at about 25m OD, and 8km E of Taunton. North Curry, like Stoke St Gregory, is one of the two largest villages, both of which are blessed with parish churches. Although a road runs along the ridge, it is not now more than locally important.

The church of St Peter and Paul, sometimes known as 'Cathedral of the Moors' stands to the N of the village centre on the crest of the scarp, and commands a fine prospect across the low moors. The striking edifice can be very clearly seen from afar to the north, and its builders through the ages may well have been conscious of it making a strong statement on the landscape. Its building development suggests that there was no shortage of resources, particularly around 1300 and 1500 by which time the church had been largely rebuilt. The N doorway is Romanesque.


Earl Harold held North Curry before 1066; in 1086 it was held by the King. Unusually DB records that the church was held by Bishop Maurice. Around 1194, Richard I deeded North Curry to the Bishop of Wells, along with other possessions, in exchange for cash to pay off his ransom to the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI (Bond, 1998).


Exterior Features



The W capital looks like an abbreviation or approximation of its counterpart, as if executed later or more rapidly ― certainly less competently: the upper ‘wings’ design, very simply moulded, is not taken down the sides of the lower field, which looks more like brawny fists of foliage.

The church also houses a plain wooden chest which is considered to be 12thc. As it is devoid of any sculpture, it does not form part of this report.

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications (London, 1899), III, 101.

J. Bond, Somerset Parks and Gardens (Wellington, 1998), 25.

E. Buckle, 'North Curry Church', Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society 44 (1898), 33-36, available online at www.archive.org/stream/proceedingsofsom44some/proceedingsofsom44some_djvu.txt

  1. N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset (Harmondsworth, 1958), 258.