A History of All Saints Church, Nynehead

A.J.Lock, (Churchwarden)
[Revised October 2003]
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CLICK HERE to see a PDF [3200 KB] version of the church guide with illustrations of All Saints' Church, Nynehead research by Tony Lock and illustrations and updates by Allan HOWE [2009]

Churchyard & Surroundings | Church Exterior | Tower & Bells
Church Interior | Memorials & Artifacts | Finance | Incumbents

The village church is situated at the west end of the three hamlets of Nynehead and overlooks the school and the lower end of the village. It stands on fairly high ground and from the church tower, one has a panoramic view of the Blackdown Hills to the south and the Brendon and Quantock Hills to the north.

CHURCHYARD AND SURROUNDINGS The driveway up to the church is lined with large sweet chestnut trees and in the spring the churchyard is covered with snowdrops. These are followed by a yellow carpet of primroses which cover the ground between gravestones, some of which date back to the 16th century. Before the advent of tombstones, the ground was used over and over again. When one paid a fee to have a tombstone to mark a grave, one did not purchase the freehold but merely compensated the vicar for the loss of grass, the keep for his sheep. The Churchyard is the Vicar's freehold and it is still within the law for the vicar to keep sheep in the churchyard or to give permission for sheep to graze there, but not horses or cows. However, in modern times the care of the churchyard is generally vested in the Parochial Church Council which is responsible for its upkeep. Most of the inhabitants of the village have obviously been buried in the churchyard, but there is one interesting document which was found in the church chest and is now in the Somerset Records Office in Taunton. The document was a warrant for the burial of a criminal at the crossroads; owing to his crime he had lost the right to be buried in the churchyard. The document states

The above certificate being signed I do according to mine office condemn ye corps of ye felon to be buried at a cross roads, a stake struck through him and so forth interorem.
Your humble servant John Clarke
Jan 8th 1734.

The stake was driven through his body to pin him to the spot so that he could not then haunt the neighbourhood.

In the churchyard there is also a listed monument to the Chorley family. This monument is mid-nineteenth century, inscribed on the south side to John Chorley (1876) and his wife Mary (1857), and on the north side to their son John who pre-deceased them in 1847.

The Bee Bowls: On the brick wall between the church and Nynehead Court gardens, there are three curved structures which in one article, it stated that they were bee bowls and were at one time open at the back but they are now blocked off by a brick wall. These bowls had hives inside and the wax was used for making the altar candles for the church.

The Churchyard Cross: There is also the remains of the 14th Century Ham Stone churchyard cross which has been altered over time. The first churchyard cross was erected to mark the spot on which the church was to be built and such crosses were often called Preaching Crosses. The base of the present cross contains shields and monuments in the memory of the Jacobs, Ludlow, Bailey, Woodley, Chorley and Honniball families. In Charles Pooley's book 'An Historical and descriptive account of the Old Stone Crosses of Somerset' published in 1877 he stated “ Only two parts are left of this once beautiful churchyard cross, the base, which has a deep drip and a slayed set-off, and the square ornamental socket, which is set on a square plinth worked by chamfers from an octagonal bed. Each of the four sides is decorated with a shield, sculptured in relief in an oblong sunk panel, having a small recessed panel on each side. I have met with no Cross exactly similar to this. While the octagonal base is late 14th century, the socket exhibits characteristics of the late 15th century.”

The Dole Table: Amongst the gravestones there is the ancient village dole table constructed of red sandstone 16th or 17th century. The Parish Charities were laid out on this stone and were picked up by the recipients. These Dole tables are very rare in churchyards. In the Church Wardens Accounts from 1668 to 1685 there are many references to charitable giving. Poor travellers were relieved, having passes or certificates, “undone by fire” or “ruinated” and seamen “cast away” or “maimed” obtained relief e.g. in 1673 the accounts state:-

  Pd to poore travellers viz a man, his wife and family who had sustaynd great losses att sea by certificate appeareth   2s 10d
  Pd a poore crippled traviler y had a passé   1s 0d
  Pd 3 men and their families that lost their ship and goods att sea   1s 6d
  Pd poore travailers that had a pass   0s 6d
  It given to seven seamen being travellers with a lawful pass from Orford in Suffolk to Plymouth   1s 6d
  It given a seaman travelling from Yarmouth   0s 4d
  It given a solger with a lawful pass from Mons in Flanders to Cornwall   0s 4d
  It given a woman that had a lawful pass for her child from Wales to Totnes   0s 6d

It would appear that the church at Nynehead was on a route used by people in order to cross the country on foot, similar to a Monks Way.

No doubt after having received the charities from the church the travellers then went on to the next place where charities were disbursed. It is most probable that the charities were used to buy food and drink.

Village Stocks: There were obviously village stocks in the churchyard at one time, or at least the maintenance of the village stocks was the responsibility of the church, as in the church wardens accounts of 1679 there was a reference to the stocks being repaired.

Upping Stone: Just outside the South Porch is an upping stone, a large upright stone. When people came to church on horseback they dismounted and mounted their horse using such a stone.

Parish Bier: Jeboult, in 1873, said in his book that the old parish bier stood in the church porch and that it was unusual and quite a curiosity. Unfortunately there are no photographs or drawings of the bier nor is there any trace of it today.

The Vicarage: According to Jeboult in 1873 the new vicarage is in a field to the North East of the Church, which in fact was at the top of the Hollow. Prior to this new vicarage, the vicarage was the thatched cottage adjacent to where the school now stands.

Church House: In a picture of Nynehead Court of 1872, which can be seen in the Court today, there is a large Church House in the paddock by the graveyard.

The CHURCH EXTERIOR The church itself is one of the real gems of Somerset and owes a great deal to the Sanford family who in the past furnished it with many of the art treasures. The manor was granted to the Bishop of Winchester in 737AD, so it is likely that there was some form of a church here at that time. A church in Nynehead is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1068. By a charter dated 1091, William, Count of Mortain, founder of the Montacute Priory, granted to the monks of Montacute the manor and church of Nynehead. It was the only Cluniac Order in the county, an order which was developed from Cluny in Burgundy.

In the early 19th century a carved stone head was found while some restoration of the church was in progress so this would indicate that the present church was built from the remains of a former building. The actual building is built mostly of local red Permo-Triassic rock, (a form of sandstone) mixed with various other types of stone and is of a perpendicular style. There is a piscina in the south wall of the sanctuary which is of the 13th century (1220AD) and the foundations of the chancel are also 13th century, although the present chancel was built in the time of Henry 4th (1399-1413).

When the ceiling dropped in the ringing chamber in September 1989 it was found that the builder had only secured the centre beam (which held the ceiling in place) with a couple of nails and had not sunk the beam into the wall. When the ceiling was removed a piece of paper containing the name of the plasterer and his labourer was found i.e. dated June 27th 1909 J.Edbrooke plasterer 49 years of age and P.J.Cook 22 years of age who was the labourer. On removal of the ceiling it was found that a variety of sound proofing material had been used between the ceiling and the layer above. On further investigation it was found that a further ceiling was above the original which again contained sound proofing material in the form of saw dust. All the layers were removed in order to investigate the extent of the beetle attack and wood rot. Because the tower is built largely of local sandstone which is porous, in 1682 the tower was 'ruf cast rendered using lyme, graivile and sundry burshells of heaire.'

Extracts from the Churchwardens accounts of 1682

Feb 20th It for fower Hogsheads and halfe of Lyme to ruf cast the church £1 1s 4d
  It for six burshells of heaire and fetching it   4s 8d
  It for 2 harffes and a man one day to fetch graivile to ruf cast
the church
  2s 6d
March 3rd It for fower scoare and five foots of boards to make a cradle to rufe cast ye tower   10s 7d
  It fower pounds of Board naile to make it   1s 8½d
  It for five bushels of Heaire to plaster the tower and fetching it   3s 1¼d
  It for fower Hogsheads of Lyme and fetching   18s 0d
  It given them in Beare while ruf casting   2s 6d
  It paid John Burt towards the ruf casting of the church and tower £3 10s 0d

The original roof might well have been thatched but by the late 17th century it was tiled. In 1674 John Buryman was paid £1 -10s - 0d for retiling the roof, a job which took him three weeks and three days, while John Fursland received £1 - 6s - 3d for tending and working the stones and a boy 13s - 9d for 15 days for making mortar and carrying stones.

In 1912 it was said that “Until quite recently the north side of the nave had two ugly domestic windows, brought from a neighbouring house. These were taken out and two windows similar to that in the tower were put in instead”. It appears as if the north wall was in fact rebuilt at this time as the stonework is very regular, although some older stone carvings were obviously used as well.

The original door in the North West corner of the church can be seen with the square top. This was blocked off when the Sanford family extended the church in 1869 in order to accommodate their mortuary chapel. The original door would have been built in the time of Henry 4th (1399-1413).

The foundation-stone of the Sanford Memorial Chapel and new vestry was laid in June 1869 by Mr Sanford's grandson and the work was substantial, so much so that the church had to be closed during the work. Services were then held in the Orangery of Nynehead Court and on the completion of the work there was a celebratory service. With the building of the mortuary chapel and the extension in which the organ now stands it was said that nothing of importance was sacrificed except a three light window in the former short transeptal chapel and two small windows in the north wall of the chancel. John Sanford put the two large rose windows in place. The change in the shape of the church on the north side can be seen in a drawing of the church by Wheatley in 1838. The present vestry door did not exist and there was a door on the north wall of the nave. The drawing also indicates that there was a boiler house under where the Sanford Chapel and extension is now as there is a chimney in the drawing. There is some indication of a doorway arch at ground level on the east wall of the Sanford Chapel.

Some of the buttresses on the south wall appear to be relatively modern and may have been added in 1869 when the major renovations to the church took place. There may have been some subsidence due to the building of the Sanford vault under the south aisle. It is said that the vault contains the remains of the early members of the Sanford family, many of which are in lead coffins. The effect of movement can also be seen inside the church as some of the pillars on the north side of the south aisle lean at a slight angle.

The TOWER AND BELLS This is a two stage crenellated tower which is diagonally buttressed. It has two bell openings which contain the Somerset Tracery. In actual fact the tower is wider at the base than at the top. The tower contains 6 bells and these were restored in 2008 after having not been used since 1989 because the death watch beetle had had a good feast on the wooden beams supporting the bells and over time damp had caused a certain amount of damage to the beam structure. Prior to the Reformation in 1530, Nynehead Church had only one bell and this was rung three times at the Elevation of the Host in order to let the people in the village know that the most important moment in the mass had arrived. This pre-reformation bell is still in the tower and it was cast by Thomas Geffries in about 1500. This is the only known bell where the founder used capital letters throughout. Thomas Geffries was Sheriff of Bristol in 1525 and died in 1545. It was the custom in those days to cast bells in the churchyard. At the Reformation bells were broken up for the metal but it is said that this bell was buried in the churchyard, then some years later it was then dug up and restored to the tower. The inscription on the bell reads as follows:- “ Sanctus Maria Ora pro Nobis” Holy Mary pray for us. This bell is the tenor, is 44 inches in diameter and weighs about three quarters of a ton. Its' note is F.

The treble bell is 29¼ inches in diameter and was cast by J.Taylor and Son of Loughborough. The inscription on the bell reads “ The worshippers in this church put me here in 1907. Vicar H.C.Launder M.A. Churchwardens James Bailey and E.C.A.Sanford C.M.G.”. Its note is D and it weighs 5 cwt.

The second bell is 30½ inches in diameter and is marked “ANNO DOMINI 1630 ”. This bell was cast by Richard and Roger Purdue of Stoford and Glastonbury. Stoford was near Yeovil Its' note is C and it weighs 5 cwt.

The third bell is 32½ inches in diameter and is marked Thomas Shippeard C/W. I.P.Exon 1661. This bell was cast by John Pennington of Exeter. His mark is well authenticated and this is the only bell by him now existing in the county. Its' note is Bb and it weighs 6cwt.

The fourth bell is 35½ inches in diameter and is marked ANNO DOMINI 1630 and was cast by Richard and Roger Purdue of Stoford. Its' note is A and it weighs 8cwt.

The fifth bell is 39 inches in diameter and is marked Recast by J.Taylor of Loughborough in 1894. ANNO DOMINI 1622 R.P. Its' note is G and it weighs 11 cwt.

The CHURCH INTERIOR A survey by Edmund Rack in the 1780's gives a full description of the church, much of which we would recognise today. However, there were differences: Inside the church there was a singing gallery at the west end under the tower, and a pulpit and reading desk, all of neat panelled wainscot. The church was not kept in good condition. The communion table was covered with an old wormeaten blue cloth fringd white while the floor, comprising of mixed bricks and stone was not damp but kept dirtily One hundred years later the church looked very different. The singing gallery had been removed and an organ had been installed in 1821 under the tower, which was later to be removed to the present position after the Sanford extension had been built.

Today the interior of the church is one of the gems of the county, reflecting the influence of the successive owners of the Court and of craftsmen and artists from the locality and further afield.

The Wyke family who lived at Nynehead Court in the fifteenth century made various additions to the church building. The first record of the de Wyke family appears in the Barons' Charter of 1166 in which Thomas de Wiche is returned as holding two knights' fees in the County of Somerset of Robert, Bishop of Bath. The historian Collinson suggested that the de Wyke family were seated at that time at Wick (or Week) St. Lawrence and took their name from the parish. However, this is thought to be incorrect because Week St. Lawrence then formed part of the great Manor of Congresbury which had been held directly by the Crown from before 1066 and this manor was not granted to the Bishop of Bath until the time of King John (1199 - 1216). Furthermore, in the 14th century the two knights' fees held by later members of the Wyke family can be identified as relating to the Manors of Milton (by Wells) and Wyke (by Yatton). It is reasonable to assume that the same two manors were held by Thomas de Wicha in 1166. The name Wyke is derived from the Old English 'wic', meaning 'a dwelling, a building or collection of buildings for special purposes, a farm, a dairy farm and in the plural 'a hamlet, a village.' The use of the word Wick in the sense of a dairy farm was very common in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The de Wyke family held the manor of Nynehead as well as the Manors of Milton and Wyke. Although the family disposed of the manors of Milton and Wyke by 1356, they continued to own the manor of Nynehead until 1590, when Richard Wyke the last of the Wyke family of Nynehead died.

Squint At the entrance to the Sanford Chapel in the rood screen pillar there is a hagioscope or squint which enabled the people to see the Host during the Mass.

The arch between the Sanford Chapel and the organ is of a much later period and is considered to be of the late 1930's. The arch is of hamstone, very narrow and pointed.

Rose Windows The Rose window in the mortuary chapel and the one on the east wall above the organ were made by Messrs Heaton, Butler and Bain of London in 1869.

The arch into the mortuary chapel was formed from an original window.

The south aisle was added to the church by the de Wyke family in 1410 and the chancel arch was also added by the family in 1412. The oak rood screen was put in by the son of Richard de Wyke in 1480 along with the rood screen stairs. The rood screen was repaired in 1840 with parts of the screen from Hillfarrance church and further repairs were carried out in 1957. The fan vaulted screen is of the West Somerset type having pointed heads to the central arch and 4 lights which are filled with tracery of the Exe Valley type with foliated bosses at the intersections, the central arch bearing the arms of Richard De Wyke (3 millrinds). Below these are plain panels, those on the north having been renewed, but on the south the originals remain, constructed of single huge sheets of oak. These bear traces of apparently applied tracery and colour. The eastern chancel face (i.e. top part) looks to be original but the west looks to be relatively modern work with roll and torus mouldings. The rood figures are no longer in situ, though the rood screen stairs remain. It was probably mutilated at the time of the Reformation. Originally the screen had doors in the archway so that it could be sealed off from the congregation and the position of the hinges can still be seen today. There were probably curtains behind the screen so that the congregation could not see into the sanctuary. The only place that one could see the altar would have been through the squint. This was particularly important at the time of consecrating the host.

Wagon roofs: The wagon roof in the chancel has a wall plate which is beautifully carved with a festoon of roses, with foliage and flowers both large and small. The roof of the nave is divided into 24 sections and each intersection is marked by a carved boss. Three of the bosses represent grotesque masks, crudely carved and the rest are roses. The wagon roof of the south aisle is of a later date (early 15th century) and the intersections are marked by bosses carved in concentric circles. The nave roof was repaired in 1971 but the bosses are original and a metre of the original wall plate can be seen by the rood screen on the north side. This is probably a portion of the original 15th century roof.

Chancel arch - This was built in 1412 by one of the de Wyke family.

Sanctuary windows The small enamels in the south wall of the sanctuary were made from designs of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792); they were designed on one of his visits to Nynehead Court. The window on the south wall is thought to have been designed by a different artist as it is of the Italian Renaissance style.

Reredos - The reredos of the altar, dated 1871, is in three parts. On each side are lovely enamel paintings on opaque glass; they were made and burnt in by Messrs. Powell of London in 1871 and are some of his earliest work. These panels are numbered 21 in his order book and he made some 968 in all. The one on the right is listed as 'Walk to Emmaus' and depicts Jesus and Peter and the one on the left is 'Feeding my lambs'. They were designed by Holiday and cost 6 guineas (£6 - 30p) in total. The bas-relief of the Ascension in the centre was carved by Mr Seymour of Taunton.

Mosaic Tablets- On the east wall on either side of the altar are two large mosaic tablets. The tablet on the left depicts 'The Sermon on the Mount' and the one on the right 'The Last Supper'. They are made from marble and glass enamel. They were produced in 1881 by James Powell of Whitefriars at a cost of £28 and £33 respectively and were designed by Hardgrave. Mr Powell was concerned about the waste of contaminated glass in his factory. He discovered that tiny specks of clay from the crucibles in which the glass was melted was causing the contamination. Not being one to tolerate waste, he experimented and found that this waste glass could be ground to a powder and baked. This would produce a solid material with an 'eggshell' surface, which could be used for mosaics. The range of colours was almost unlimited. The technique employed by James Powell was known as 'Opus Sectile'. Rather than small regularly shaped pieces being used to make up the picture, each piece is cut to fit a component part of the design.

In a book written in 1934 it stated that Gainsborough had stayed at the Court at one time and had painted a picture on the east wall but there is no sign of this at the present time.

SOUTH AISLE: This can be dated by the Will of John De Wyke, who in the year 1410 left a sum of money for the building of the south aisle. The south porch was built a little later. The south door is of the 14th century style but is probably 17th century.

East window - The east window of the south transept is by Mr Drake of Exeter; one female figure in the top left hand corner is of the 15th century, the rest was copied from the original which was in a state of disrepair. This is the All Saints window. The Saints are:- St Matthew with the collecting box; St Philip with the wooden cross; St Stephen with the basket of bread; St Bartholomew with the butchers knife; St Andrew with the cross saltire; St Paul with the sword and book; St Peter with the crossed keys; St Simon with the saw; St John with the eagle and chalice; St James the Great with the staff and cockleshell; St Thomas with the spear; St Jude or Thaddeus with the club; St Matthias with the axe and St James the lesser with the club. The small female Saints are:- St Margaret killing the dragon; St Barbara with the tower and palm; St Catherine with the sword and wheel; two unidentified; St Cecilia.

Windows on the south side:- The St James and the Mary Magdalene windows along with the window in the west wall of the south aisle date from about 1850 and are by Mr Toms of Wellington. The Toms Organ and stained glass works was on the corner of High Street and South Street in Wellington. At the west end of the south aisle is a domestic window which was presented to the church in 1850. The Royal Arms were repaired by Mr Toms. The rest of the window is of the Elizabethan period. (16th century) or earlier. This window was donated by Lady Caroline Anne Stanhope, second wife of Edward Sanford (1841).

The tower - The tower at the west end of the church was built about the time of Richard 11 (1377-99). The tower arch is a little earlier namely 13th century and is of the early pointed style. Under the tower is the old doorway to the former stairway leading to the ringing chamber.

Tower window - High up in the west wall of the tower is a window to the memory of the Rev Walrond, vicar 1866-1884. It was made by Messrs.Powell & Son. The Rev. Walrond died in 1887.

Church restoration In the year 1869 the church was closed for major restoration and extension. During the time of closure, services were held in the 'Orangery' of Nynehead Court. The restoration involved the removal of all the horsebox pews which were replaced by modern oak pews. The Mortuary Chapel and organ chamber were built on the north side. The organ was moved from under the tower to its new chamber by Mr John Toms of Wellington and it was enlarged.

In 1912 the north wall of the nave was rebuilt replacing some of the original 13th century building.

In 1959 the tie bars were placed between the walls of the nave in order to stabilise the building.

In a painting of the interior of the church, which was done by Miss Barbara Anne Hoyles in 1928, it showed that the lighting was then in the form of chandeliers. The main lighting seemed to be 6 candles mounted on a blue base ring and there was another smaller version mounted above the pulpit which contained 4 candles. No doubt there were a number of chandeliers positioned in the body of the church. The main lights were fixed on chains which hung from the ceiling and the one above the pulpit hung from a bracket which was fixed to the top of the rood screen. The picture also shows that there were scrolls on the pulpit front which are now missing.

The church was re-wired in 1968

In 1971 the nave roof of the church had to be replaced, which took three months, during which time the services were held at the village Memorial Hall. In order to fund this work, the church had to sell a marble tabernacle which was in the south transept. This tabernacle was the work of Mino Di Giovanni (1431-1486) called Da Fiesole. He was born at Poppi in Casentino and had property in Fiesole, hence his name. The sculpture was remarkable for its gem like finish and extreme delicacy of detail. Mino Da Fiesole made a marble tabernacle for the Holy Oils for a church in Italy; it was so lovely that the order was given for a replica to be made for another church. The church in which the replica was placed was bombed during the first world war (1914-18) but it is thought that the original tabernacle was the one in Nynehead Church. The tabernacle had been given to the church by the Rev Sanford in 1830. The tabernacle was purchased by the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff in 1970 for £12,500.

Locke memorial - On the east wall of the south transept is a slate memorial to John Locke (1632-1704), the great philosopher, who was a great friend of Mr Edward Clarke of Chipley Park, Nynehead. John Locke lived with the Clarke family for some time and wrote some of his articles at Chipley Park.. The inscription on the memorial reads as follows:
A little booke and taper's light
Did solace me in my last night;
My taper spent, booke clos'ed I sate
In bed thereon to meditate;
With what improvement thinke I know
Then volumes more, or sunne can show.

A memorial tablet to Richard de Wyke and his wife can be seen on the north side of the altar and the inscription reads:- Heere liethe interred Richard Wike of Ninhed in the county of Somerset, esquire, who died 17 of June, 1590 being then of the age of 65 years and Margaret his wife, daughter of Georg Role of Steventon in the county of Devon esquire who died 12 of August 1578, being then of the age of 41 years and parents of 17 children, vic. 6 sonnes and 11 daughters.

As mentioned earlier under the south aisle there is the Sanford Vault which contains the body of Henrietta Sanford nee Langham who died in 1835. She was the founder of the village school and the education provided was based upon the writings of John Locke. For many years the school was run at her expense and it was stated in the Church Monthly of 1891 that the school was started in about 1818.

Clarke Memorial - In the south east corner of the south transept is a large memorial to Elizabeth Clarke of Chipley Park, who died in 1667 aged 42. The monument was made at Milverton and cost £25. Edward Clarke of Bradford on Tone, a widower with three small children (Ursula, Anne and Edward) married Elizabeth Lottisham who was the granddaughter and ultimate heiress of Edward Warre of Chipley. She and Edward had no children and she bequeathed Chipley to her step son Edward, who took over the running of the estate on his father's death in 1679.

The sanctuary/chancel: On the north wall above the choir stalls are two arches containing figures. The one on the left is a bronze figure of Moses by Barbedienne and is copied from the great statue by Michaelangelo (1475-1564). This bronze was bought by William Sanford on the 28th January 1884 from suppliers at 25 Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, London. The bronze was sent that day by Great Western Fast Goods Train. The price of the bronze was fr500 or £20 and the cost of transporting it from Paris was 5s 10d (information from a receipt for payment sent to William Sanford on 11th March 1884 by the suppliers). Moses has horns but there does not seem to be any record of Moses being symbolised with horns other than in the statue by Michaelangelo. It is thought that the horns were due to a mis-translation of the Vulgate Bible, the actual translation states that Moses' face glowed as he came down from Mount Sinai. The manufacturers mark on the bronze is F.Barbedienne Fonfeur. Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-92) was a prominent Second Empire furniture manufacturer and the best known 19th century Parisian bronze founder. He worked for Barye and other leading sculptors. From 1839 he worked in association with Achille Collas who had devised a method for making reductions of sculptures and by 1847 had established a factory for the production of bronzes in Paris. Therefore the bronze of Moses must have been produced sometime between 1840 - 92.

The statue in the right hand arch is a beautiful figure of Christ made in porcelain; it is a copy of the statue by Thorvaldson of Copenhagen and was made in the city in 1830.

Pulpit: This is 19th century (probably from the 1869 restoration) and originally there were scroll pieces between the front pillars as seen in a painting by Barbara Hoyle which she painted in 1928, the slots for the scrolls are readily visible. The two bolts on the top indicate where candles sticks formerly stood.

Font - The font is of the perpendicular style of the 15th century

Elijah statue- which is situated at the entrance of the Sanford memorial chapel is a splendid statue of Elijah by Mr William Josiah Giles of Wellington (1861 - 1908). He was born in Courtland Road, Wellington and learned his trade of sculptor in wood, stone and clay. He was the younger son of John Giles, an overlooker in the blanket weaving shed at Messrs Fox's factory at Tonedale. His business premises were at 76 North Street. He had been a pupil of Harry Hems, the well known Exeter sculptor. William Giles especially liked using the clay from Poole for many of his models. He also carved the pulpits at Sampford Arundel, Rockwell Green and West Buckland churches as well as the lectern and credence table at Langford Budville church. His premature death at the age of 46 was caused by a fall.

Church Chest- At the west end of the church under the tower stands the church chest. In 1559 Queen Elizabeth 1 ordered that a chest with three different locks should be provided in which to keep the registers and other important papers of the church, one key was to be kept by the vicar and the other two by the wardens with the result that no one person could open the chest on their own i.e. all three had to be present. The present chest was purchased in 1748 from William Cox for 10s-0d (50p), the three locks cost 2s 0d (10p), and the clasps 7s 6d ( 37½p). The parish coffer contained the usual parish papers - books of accounts, apprenticeship indentures and a warrant for the burial of a fel-de-se at the crossroads.

Della Robbias- Among the great treasures of Nynehead Church are the Della Robbia reliefs, these were brought from Italy by the Reverend John Sanford in 1833. He spent some time in Florence and made a collection of paintings and sculpture. Under the tower is a splendid Madonna; the Virgin Mary is depicted kneeling in adoration and the child lies in a fold of her cloak. The sculpture, executed in enamelled terra-cotta, is the work of Luca Della Robbia (1399-1482), the medium being a secret of Della Robbia. Luca Della Robbia was born in Florence and was the great scholar of Donatello the Italian sculptor. Luca Della Robbia found that marble was too slow to work in order to convey his ideas, so he invented a method of using Terra Cotta and then glazing it. On the west wall of the south transept there is also an enamelled terra-cotta sculpture of the Virgin and child but this is the work of Andrea Della Robbia, the nephew of the great master (1435-1523). This piece lacks the touch of the master Luca but never the less it is a fine piece of work.

British Legion Standard- The British Legion Standard was 'laid up' in the Parish Church after the closure of the Nynehead Branch of the British Legion in May 1970.

Servant's memorial By the squint on the floor is a memorial stone to Elliannor Pike. It is very rare that monuments to servants were placed inside the church. Elliannor had in fact asked in her will of 1719 to be buried with relations at Bishops Lydeard, but a codicil requested burial at Nynehead.

Here lyeth y Body of Elliannor Pike, spinster, who departed this life Aprile 8th 1722, Aged 72. Having liv'd a true and faithfyll Servant above 50 years with Edward and Jepp Clarke of Chipley Esq. To whose memory this stone was plac'd by Mrs Anne Sanford, widdow, one of y daughters of y said Edw. Clarke Esq. May y 18 1722.

Sanford Chapel In the Sanford Mortuary Chapel stands a life size figure of a male angel. It was carved in marble by Costoli of Florence in 1840 who was one of the best pupils of the great master Canova who carved the Three Graces. Also in the mortuary chapel is a bust on a pillar of Rev John Sanford which was also carved by Costoli. Rev John Sanford died in 1855. The Mortuary Chapel windows east and west are a series of roundels of coats of arms, which give a history of the Sanford family. The earliest roundel dates from 1638 and the latest is 19th century. The last 3 roundels were made by Messrs. Heaton, Butler and Bain of London. There are also several memorials to the Sanford family and they trace the history of the family. In the alcove behind the male angel are three figures which represent the ascension of Christ.

In the side of the arch between the Sanford Chapel and the organ is a rose marble insertwhich is a memorial to Lady Mary Ethel (Ettie) Methuen's two sisters. The translation of the inscription is 'to dear sisters by a sister'. Lady Methuen died in 1941 and her sisters in 1935 and 1936. Lady Methuen was the second daughter of W.A.Sanford.

The organ The organ is thought to have originally come from Chipley Park and was bought by the churchwardens in 1821 for £87. It was originally a one manual instrument and was placed under the tower. It is thought that the original single great manual was manufactured in the 18th century. Later it was enlarged to a two manual instrument with pedals and was moved to its present position when the Sanford's extended the church in 1869. It is thought that the swell was manufactured in the 19th century and was made by Vowles of Bristol. The carving on the front of the organ case was once part of the rood screen from the church at Hillfarrance.

Financial matters In 1292 the rectorial tithe was worth six and a half marks - a mark was a bar of silver in weight about half a pound. The tithe at this time went to the Taunton Priory and one of the monks would have served as the parish priest. After the reformation the tithe reverted to the Crown. In 1554 Queen Mary presented the vicar to the parish. Queen Elizabeth 1st presented three vicars in 1564, 1567 and 1570. James 1st presented one vicar in 1618. Charles 1st presented the vicarage in 1638. Charles 2nd presented two vicars, William 3rd , George 1st, George 2nd and George 3rd all presented vicars to Nynehead. The last vicar to be presented by the Crown was Dr Thomas Bovet in 1786; after this the patronage came into possession of the Sanford family until the late 20th century. The value of the living in 1695 was £8 7s 11d but by 1788 it had risen to £70. In 1923 the vicarial tithe was £225 per year, with residence and eleven and a half acres of glebe (land for the vicar to farm). From the churchwardens accounts of 1680 it is interesting to read:- Paid a man and a horse for one days' work 3s 6d; 3 days work on the bells 4s -0d; Parish Clerk's wages £2 - 10s -0d a year; tending and working stones for the church building 3 weeks and 3 days £1 - 6s - 0d; paid a boy for 15 days work making mortar and carrying stones 13s - 9d.

Incumbents 1292 to date
1292 Rev Dr Bovett
1315 Rich le Bellringer (ref: Bishop Drokenford's register)
1347 William Wysman (ref: History of Taunton Priory by Rev Thomas Hugo
1350 John Crispyn
1350 William Esch
1360 William de Esse
1362 William Donekyn (from Bishop Ralph's Register)
1403 John Shotel
1434 Thomas Bonda
1435 John Webb
1437 Peter Bysshop
1438 Robert Asshcombe
1439 John Erle
1445 Walt Loveskyn
1451 Nick Cokesdone
1497 John Prowse
1501 John Samson
1507 John Trigge
1508 Thomas Cokysden
1528 Joh Marler
1554 Henry Dunscombe
1564 Thos Mudforde
1567 Pet Pancharde
1570 Anthony Middleton
1618 Thos. Pearse A.B.
1638 Sam Perian
1641 Francis Gough
1671 Rich Pearse
1680 Jeff Hill
1700 Jac Knight A.B.
1721 Sam Thornbury
1722 Sam Shenton
1723 Joh Dossy A.B.
1760 Phil Atherton
1782 Robert Baker
1786 Thos. Bovet D.C.L.
1798 J. Williams
1810 John Sanford
1834 Thomas Charles Tanner
1866 William Henry Walrond
1884 James Arthur Hervey
1890 John Davidson Munro Murray
1895 Harry Commins Launder
1920 Dallas George Brooks
1923 William Edward Catlow
1944 H.W.F.Fagan
1946 Canon H.G.England
1949 Preb. J.H.Grinter
1955 (May) R.J.C.Lloyd (licensed curate in charge, became vicar)
1956 (December) to October 1966 R.J.C.Lloyd
1967 (May) Preb C.M.Wedgewood M.A. (first vicar of united benefices 21/12/67) resigned March 1972.
Interegnum Rev Basil Bazell
1972 Preb John T. George
1982 Preb. Terence Stokes
2000 Rev Colin Randall

2006 Rev.M. R. Campbell


1888 S.Bailey and J.Kidner
1892 W.A.Sanford and S.Bailey
1906 J.R.Ash and J Bailey
1907 J.Bailey and Col E.C.A.Sanford
1913 G.S. Lysaght and L.Mortimer
1917 C.Ludlow and L.Mortimer
1934 Major Stobart
1940 W.C.A.Sanford
1941 W.T.Baker and W.C.A.Sanford
1944 W.T.Baker and T.Luxton
1964 W.T.Baker and Mrs G.I.Janson-Potts
1969 I.W.Darby and Mrs G.I.Janson-Potts
1972 F.C.Baker and I.W.Darby
1973 I.W.Darby and A.J.Howe
1985 I.W.Darby and A.J.Lock
1996 A.J.Lock and G.J.Sparks
2003 A.J.Lock and A.J.Howe
2005 J.M.Harding and A.J.Howe

A.J.Lock and A.J.Howe