Bawdrip: Church

A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1992.

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A P Baggs, M C Siraut, 'Bawdrip: Church', in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes), ed. R W Dunning, C R Elrington( London, 1992), British History Online [accessed 13 July 2024].

A P Baggs, M C Siraut, 'Bawdrip: Church', in A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes). Edited by R W Dunning, C R Elrington( London, 1992), British History Online, accessed July 13, 2024,

A P Baggs, M C Siraut. "Bawdrip: Church". A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6, Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and Neighbouring Parishes). Ed. R W Dunning, C R Elrington(London, 1992), , British History Online. Web. 13 July 2024.


Bawdrip church was recorded c. 1195 when the abbot of Athelney released his claim to the advowson to William of Bawdrip in return for an annual pension. (fn. 1) The pension, amounting to £2, continued to be paid by the rectors to the abbey until the Dissolution, thereafter to the Crown until 1790, when the pension was sold to John Day Blake. It was held in trust for successive patrons until 1872 when it was bought by the Revd. John Warren and merged with the rectory. (fn. 2) The living remained a sole benefice until 1987, and since then it has been held with Cossington. (fn. 3)

The advowson was held with Bawdrip manor until c. 1770 (fn. 4) when it was bought by John Stradling, (fn. 5) in whose family it remained until the death of the Revd. John Stradling, rector of Bawdrip, in 1804. (fn. 6) It was settled on the Revd. William Smith Knott, rector 1806-28, whose trustees presented in 1828. (fn. 7) By 1831 it had been acquired by Edward Page, rector 1835-54, (fn. 8) and succeeding incumbents were both rectors and patrons until c. 1902 when the trustees of William Brice held the advowson. (fn. 9) They remained patrons until c. 1950 when patronage passed to the bishop. (fn. 10)

The church was valued at £8 in 1291, (fn. 11) £18 12s. 8d. gross in 1535, (fn. 12) and c. £90 in 1668. (fn. 13) The tithes in 1535 were valued at £17 4s. 8d. (fn. 14) In 1703 (fn. 15) and 1776 the lords of Ford paid a modus of 8s. 1½d. for tithes. (fn. 16) In 1836 Ford farm was described as 'titheless' (fn. 17) and in 1841 as exempt from tithe from time immemorial on payment of 8s. 4d. a year. Tithes of the whole parish were commuted for a rent charge of £355. (fn. 18) In 1280 the rector held an estate at Crandon. (fn. 19) The glebe was valued at £1 8s. in 1535 (fn. 20) and in 1617 consisted of 44½ a. of which 12¼ a. were meadow and the rest lay in the open arable fields. (fn. 21) Following inclosure the glebe in 1841 consisted of 38 a. of scattered closes, (fn. 22) still so owned in 1978. (fn. 23)

In the mid 15th century the rector was ordered to repair his buildings (fn. 24) and in 1568 the parsonage was in decay. (fn. 25) In 1606 the buildings included bakehouse, barn, stable, and cattle stall. (fn. 26) The house was probably rebuilt in the early 19th century, (fn. 27) the barn and stables were rebuilt before 1840, (fn. 28) and the house was enlarged in 1848. By 1861 the rector had moved to Uplands House, (fn. 29) on the north side of the village. The house, recorded in 1822 (fn. 30) and rebuilt, probably for the Revd. John Warren, in the late 1850s, had ten bedrooms and a large service wing. Later known as Bawdrip House, it was acquired by Somerset county council for use as a smallpox hospital (fn. 31) and in 1988 was a family residential centre. Warren's successor, the Revd. J. M. Warren, returned to the rectory house, which was occupied by successive rectors until 1987 when it was divided into two private dwellings.

The first recorded rector, William of Bawdrip, had been succeeded by 1280 by Anthony of Bradney, lord of Bradney. (fn. 32) Thomas Keke, rector 1400-20, was granted a year's study leave in 1402 (fn. 33) and his successor Walter Woodward was appointed in 1420 while only an acolyte. (fn. 34) John Bulcombe, instituted in 1475, was made bishop of Waterford and Lismore in the same year but retained the living until 1482. (fn. 35) John Pokeswell, both rector and chaplain of Ford from 1530 to 1547, employed a curate. (fn. 36) The rectory was let at farm in 1568 and curates were employed to serve the church. (fn. 37) John Atherton, rector from 1585, was the father of John Atherton, bishop of Waterford and Lismore, hanged in 1640. (fn. 38) Rectors were resident from the late 18th century and there were between 12 and 16 communicants c. 1770. (fn. 39) In the early 19th century the rector also served as curate to neighbouring churches. (fn. 40) In 1827 there was one Sunday service and a second every alternate Sunday. (fn. 41) John Bowen, instituted in 1828, was a deputy lieutenant for the county and founder president of the Royal Harmonic Society. (fn. 42) His successor employed a curate (fn. 43) and there were two Sunday services and 8 celebrations of communion by 1843, (fn. 44) rising to 14 or 15 by 1870. (fn. 45) During the early 20th century there were four Sunday services. (fn. 46)

The church house was recorded in the 16th century (fn. 47) and in 1634 it was said to have been used to house the poor. (fn. 48)

In 1330 Simon of Bradney was licensed to give land to support a chaplain celebrating for the souls of his family on five days each week in the Lady chapel, probably in the north transept. (fn. 49) No further record has been found.

The church of St. Michael the Archangel, so dedicated by 1330 (fn. 50) but later known as ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, (fn. 51) is built of lias with dressings of Ham stone and has a chancel, a central tower with north and south transepts, and a nave with south vestry and south porch. The small nave may be of 12th-century origin but has no features earlier than the 14th century. The crossing arches of the central tower are late 13th-century and have double-chamfered arches resting on foliate capitals above human corbel heads. The middle stage of the tower, the porch, the transepts, and the chancel were rebuilt or added in the 14th century, the piscinae indicating the use of the transepts as chapels. There is a blocked 14th-century doorway in the north wall of the chancel. The north transept was originally unlit but windows were inserted in both transept and nave in the 19th century. A 13th-century effigy lies in the north transept under a later cusped arch. (fn. 52) The medieval font and floor tiles were removed in 1865 (fn. 53) but a small Madonna and Child, possibly from a reredos, are preserved in the chancel. A planned rebuilding in 1865 was abandoned for shortage of funds but extensive alterations were carried out by C. E. Giles. The windows were replaced, except for the west window, and the floor was dug out to increase the internal height. (fn. 54) New seating replaced box pews and a gallery in the north transept. (fn. 55) During the twoyear closure of the church services were held in a barn at the rectory. (fn. 56)

The bells, housed in a late-medieval bell cage, comprise two by Roger London (d. 1448?) of Wokingham (Berks.), one of 1671 by Thomas Purdue, and one of 1745 by Thomas Bayley. (fn. 57) The church possesses a set of silver plate of 1763 by Fuller White given by Denis Rolle. (fn. 58) The registers date from 1748 and are complete. (fn. 59)

There was a chapel of ALL SAINTS at Bradney by 1330 when Simon of Bradney was licensed to alienate land for a chaplain to celebrate mass there on Wednesdays and Fridays for the souls of his family. (fn. 60) There is no further record of the chapel.

In 1306 Adam de la Ford was licensed to endow the newly built chapel of ST. MARY within the manor house or court at Ford, (fn. 61) later described as a perpetual chantry (fn. 62) and a free chapel. (fn. 63) The advowson descended with Ford manor. (fn. 64) In 1455, when the chapel was said to be desolate and ruinous, the chaplain was required to say prayers for the dead and a monthly mass for the founder. (fn. 65) The income from the endowment was worth 26s. 8d. in 1535 and 1548, (fn. 66) but in 1548 there was neither plate nor ornament. (fn. 67) The last chaplain, appointed in 1530, was already rector of Bawdrip. (fn. 68) The chapel was suppressed in 1548 and its land at Stawell was sold. (fn. 69)


  • 1. Devon R.O. 96 M 83/7.
  • 2. S.R.O., DD/S/ST 7; DD/DHR 44.
  • 3. Dioc. Dir.
  • 4. S.R.O., DD/X/EDS 2.
  • 5. Ibid. D/D/B reg. 28, f. 85.
  • 6. Ibid. D/D/Vc 88; M.I. in ch.
  • 7. S.R.O., D/P/baw 2/1/6.
  • 8. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, pp. 126-7; S.R.O., D/P/baw 2/1/6.
  • 9. S.R.O., D/P/baw 2/1/6; Kelly's Dir. Som. (1902, 1906).
  • 10. Kelly's Dir. Som. (1939); Crockford (1953-4).
  • 11. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 198.
  • 12. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 212.
  • 13. S.R.O., D/D/Vc 24.
  • 14. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 212.
  • 15. S.R.O., DD/BR/py 13.
  • 16. Ibid. DD/CH 48.
  • 17. Ibid. D/P/baw 13/1/1.
  • 18. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 19. S.R.S. xliv. 267.
  • 20. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 212.
  • 21. S.R.O., D/D/Rg 198.
  • 22. Ibid. tithe award.
  • 23. Inf. from Dioc. Office.
  • 24. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. cvi. 58.
  • 25. S.R.O., D/D/Ca 40.
  • 26. Ibid. D/D/Rg 198.
  • 27. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, pp. 126-7.
  • 28. S.R.O., D/D/Va 1840.
  • 29. P.R.O., RG 9/1628.
  • 30. S.R.O., D/D/Rm, box 2.
  • 31. Ibid. D/R/bw 22/1/57; D/PC/baw 3/2/2.
  • 32. S.R.S. xliv. 267; Cal. Papal Reg. i. 587.
  • 33. S.R.S. xiii, p. 35.
  • 34. Ibid. xxx, p. 399.
  • 35. Ibid. lii, pp. 58, 117; Cal. Papal Reg. xiii. 451, 838.
  • 36. S.R.S. ii. 64.
  • 37. P.R.O., SC 2/198/7; C 3/55, no. 85.
  • 38. Collinson, Hist. Som. iii. 93; D.N.B.
  • 39. S.R.O., D/D/Vc 88.
  • 40. Ibid. D/D/Rb 1815, 1827.
  • 41. Ibid. 1827.
  • 42. Ibid. D/P/baw 2/1/6.
  • 43. Rep. Com. Eccl. Revenues, pp. 126-7.
  • 44. S.R.O., D/D/Va 1843.
  • 45. Ibid. 1870.
  • 46. Ibid. D/P/baw 2/5/1-5.
  • 47. P.R.O., SC 12/22/31.
  • 48. Above, local govt.
  • 49. Cal. Pat. 1330-4, 17.
  • 50. Ibid.
  • 51. Dioc. Dir.
  • 52. Pevsner, S. & W. Som. 86.
  • 53. Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. lxvi, p. xxviii.
  • 54. S.R.O., D/D/Cf 1865/1; D/P/baw 6/1/1, 23/1; Pevsner, S. & W. Som. 86.
  • 55. Photos. in private possession.
  • 56. S.R.O., D/P/baw 23/1.
  • 57. Ibid. 6/3/1; DD/SAS CH 16/1.
  • 58. Ibid. D/P/baw 5/2/1; Pevsner, S. & W. Som. 86.
  • 59. S.R.O., D/P/baw 2/1/1-6.
  • 60. Cal. Pat. 1330-4, 17.
  • 61. Ibid. 1301-7, 413 (wrongly identified in index); S.R.S. i. 276; ix, p. 373; P.R.O., C 143/51, no. 12.
  • 62. S.R.S. xlix, p. 102.
  • 63. Ibid. lv, p. 15.
  • 64. Som. Incumbents, ed. Weaver, 22; above, manors.
  • 65. S.R.S. xlix, p. 249.
  • 66. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i. 213; S.R.S. ii. 64.
  • 67. S.R.S. ii. 64.
  • 68. Som. Incumbents, ed. Weaver, 22; S.R.S. lv, pp. 59, 61.
  • 69. S.R.S. ii. 64; Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 407.