070226.Monkton Combe, St. Michael’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

February 26, 2007 at 12:25 AM | Posted in Architecture, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Monkton Combe, Overcast, Pevsner, roofs, somerset, Towers, Trees | 6 Comments

070215.78.Somset.MonktonCombe.St Michaels
The church is a small structure, 50 feet in length and 16 feet in breadth, covered with tiles; at the west end in a little stone turret hangs two small bells. It is dedicated to St. Michael.” -John Collinson, History of Somerset, 1791.

The original structure in the 1924 area guide was considered to be an “ancient Norman” one, and the parish minutes of 1757 give a glimpse of the small church structure having a chancel with at least two pews in it. “About the beginning of the XIX century,, when this little old church, after long neglect, needed extensive repairs, the inhabitant instead of repairing it, pulled it down and out of its materials build a new church of about the same size, seating only 95 persons, but to their minds no doubt more comfortable. It was erected in 1814 and did not last long. The Rev. Francis Pocock, being appointed vicar of Monkton Combe in 1863, found this church in a dilapidated state, and…for the needs for the parish, and had the courage to undertake the entire rebuilding of the sacred edifice.”– D. Lee Pitcairn and Alfred Richardson, An Historical Guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton (Bath: F. Goodall Printer, 1924) 28-29.

It was first suggested that an aisle should be added to the edifice, but this, it was found, could not be done, and it was finally decided to raze the old structure and erect and entirely new building. Mr. C. E. Giles, of London, designer of St. John’s, Bathwick, was the architect, and the builder was Mr. S. G. Mitchell of this city [Bath]. The church was opened on Tuesday, July 4th…capable of seating 300 worshipers.” —Bath Chronicle, July 6, 1865.

St. Michael. 1865, by C. E. Giles, enlarged in 1886 (GR), rather terrible piece of architecture. Inside a Venetian later C16 painting attributed to Schiavone (on loan). –Plate. Chalice and Cover 1634; Spoon 1797.” – Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1958), 229.
070215.56.Somset.MonktonCombe.St Michaels.1865.d.CE Giles.rd1886
Typically unforunate with Victorian churches and other structures is its Welsh Slate roof. If I may add something to this list of quotes it is that I agree with Pevsner here. This is why the people of Monkton Combe can’t have nice things….


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  1. 1. Why is this a “rather terrible piece of architecture?”
    2. What’s wrong with slate roofs? Or Welsh Slate roofs, if there’s a difference.

  2. I like the clock…they always stand out up there on those towers for some reason…hmmmmm…jetlag! Jetlag! That’s my excuse! 😉 You never cease to amaze me with your knowledge J! HI JC! =)

  3. cette eglise est tres belle, j’aime beaucoup la deuxieme photo.

    this church is very beautiful, I like much the second photograph.

  4. Lovely old church!

  5. You see this type of slate all over Victorian buildings….it’s dull. It’s even all over upstate New York, etc. (slightly diff. material but the form is the same). The problem here is that they’re attempting to go for a Early English Revival but they’re using a type of roofing material that’s lighter so it can increase the pitch of the roof…leading to a severe contrast in attempted historical style and Victorian silhouette.
    It’s just…just a very unimpressive building, the one the average person just wouldn’t be drawn to.
    And yeah, the clock is cool. I wonder when that went on…but it’s kinda sad that that’s the best view of this thing. I wouldn’t have thought the second photo was better than the first but I’m clearly prejudiced – and the more of this church is blocked from view the better.

  6. Living in the village of Monkton Combe I love the church as do all the people who regularly fill it on a Sunday. It is a little cornerstone of England and dearly loved by all who live there. It may not appeal in look to some people, but to those of us who live in MC, we wouldnt want it to look any different.

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