Kingston St Mary, Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom Kingston St Mary, Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom Kingston St Mary, Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom

A history of St Mary's Church

The Church of St Mary with its fine tower still dominates the village as it has done for many centuries.
The body of the church dates from the 13th century but there have been many changes over the years.

St Mary's Church
The South Aisle is dominated by the great marble tomb of John de la Warre, who fought at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. His family settled at Hestercombe, which was then part of the parish and where later members of the family created the famous landscape garden which is open to the public.

The fine porch with its lovely fan-vault dates from about 1520 and leads you into the church where the interior is notable for its carved oak bench ends installed just after the porch had been completed.

This was a period of prosperity for the village from the Somerset weaving industry and the bench ends are a demonstration of this new wealth with scenes from everyday life as well as religious themes.
The same prosperity built the fine Tudor house, now known as the Manor, in Lodes Lane to the west of the church. The pulpit dates from 1742 and the handsome brass chandelier from 1773.

Inspecting St Mary's Church Tower The tower of c.1490 is perhaps the best of the well-known group of Somerset towers, which have been called 'among the greatest masterpieces of English architecture'.

The so-called "hunky-punks", decorative carvings of figures perched high on the corners of the tower, are a noteworthy but enigmatic feature. They actually serve no function unlike gargoyles which carry off water.

There is a window by Burne-Jones in the west end of the north aisle and there are other interesting monuments and many fine furnishings donated by parishioners both ancient and modern.

A guide book is available in the church and there are explanatory notices.