Curry Mallet Heritage

All Saints Church is part of the Seven Sowers Benefice, seven rural parishes led by the Team Rector.  All Saints, formerly known as St. James, has 13th century origins and was designated as a Grade I listed building in 1959 – English Heritage Building ID: 431242OS.

Most of the church has 15th century architecture with some restoration work done in the 19th century.  It has a three stage tower and inside the church is a 15th century font.

Two of the six bells date from pre-Reformation times when a widow, Johanna Sturdy, was in charge of the bell foundry in London.

The Communion Cup dates from 1574, and was made by Henry Arnold, a silversmith from Taunton (no silverware of any value is kept in the church).

As mentioned in other parts of the Curry Mallet website William Malet the second was a guarantor of the Magna Carta in 1215.  He is said to be buried in the tomb at the eastern end of the north aisle. He died in 1216. The effigy on top of this tomb was moved from the adjacent niche in recent times and the bones of a child, about one year-old, were discovered.  They are reputed to be those of William Malet’s only son.

The imposing figure on the north wall of the chancel is Rector Ralph Mighill, a Puritan, (d 1633) – still preaching?! The lock on the south door is immense and the door is made of only two planks of wood, each 25.5 inches (65cm) wide. 

The church upholds the medieval service of “Blessing the Plough” traditionally held on the Sunday after Epiphany.  Farmers of the parish carry the seed corn to be blessed and the farm workers bring their tools of trade and process to the altar, followed by the plough which is carried in. The ancient plough is kept permanently in the church.

The church is open every day and is often visited by walkers.  A public footpath runs alongside the churchyard which itself is also visited by folk looking for family graves.

 

 

An Architectural Description of the church follows:

Anglican parish church. C13, Mainly C15, C19 restoration. Coursed and squared lias with Ham stone dressings, slate and lead-sheeting roofs, coped verges, cruciform finials. Nave, chancel, south aisle, north chapel, north porch, west tower. Predominantly Perpendicular.

Three-stage embattled tower, gargoyles, polygonal stair-turret to the south-east, embattled capping, sat-back buttresses terminating as uncapped shafts on the third stage, 2-light traceried bell-chamber windows with stone grilles, single-light window to east on ringing- chamber stage; handsome 4-light transomed
east window, below door opening in a pointed arch moulded surround, paired ribbed and studded doors.

North aisle of 3 bays, buttresses, 3-light windows, small doorway with carved heads as label stops, similar carved heads to window labels, embattled parapet.

Architecture at All Saints Church

Small lofty 2 bay north chapel, buttresses, 3 and 4-light windows.

Lean-to porch to west of this chapel, simple moulded outer door opening, elaborate moulding to the inner-doorway, label, ribbed and studded door with scrolly iron strap hinges, above niche with a later figure; secondary door opening with a cambered head leads into the chapel, ribbed and studded door; inside of porch on a flagstone floor, stone bench to the west wall,

Chancel on plinth with wide offset, a square-headed 3-light window to the north and the south, pointed-arch west window, re-traceried C19, label with grotesque heads as stops, possibly C13, above datestone 1786, C13 priest's door to south with a continuous moulding, ribbed and studded door. Interior plastered on lias flagstones.

Chancel under a plastered wagon roof, plain timber wallplate; nave under similar roof, except the area over the former rood ribbed and panelled with carved bosses, colouring; north aisle with plastered lean-to roof, moulded ribs with large carved bosses, unceiled wagon roof to south chapel. Panelled tower, chancel, and south chapel arches.

Three bay arcade to north aisle, thick piers of 4-hollows section.

Piscinae to north aisle and nave. North aisle with medieval stone altar, this aisle also with small recumbant C15 effigy in a niche.

Good C15 octagonal font with a blank shield to each face, In south, chapel a large bracket in the form of an angel, probably resited, Upper and lower entrances to the rood.

Much good Jacobean woodwork including pews, alms box; tower-screen, chapel screen, reader (dated 1633), chancel panellinq, credence table and altar table. Cl9 altar rails and pulpit. Three good C17 wall monuments with carved figures and colouring, particularly that to Payne family in south chapel. Further C18, C19, and C20 monuments.

Three late C19 stained glass windows.

Wheeled bier dated 1903