The Churches of Britain and Ireland

  Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Shepton Mallet on Wikipedia.

Baptist Church on Commercial Road, built as Independent in 1801. ST 61798 43549. Steve Bulman (2010). Two additional views - 1, 2, both Carole Sage (2018). Link. Grade II listed.

The former Convent of the Order of the Visitation of Mary. Also known as the Salesian Sisters, the convent was established in 1810 by French Nuns who had been driven out of France in the aftermath of the French Revolution. They first occupied a mansion on Draycott Road, but they left in 1831 (perhaps tiring of repeated flooding from the River Sheppey) to establish a new foundation at Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol. The L-shaped building they used to occupy in Draycott Road, now known as Sales House, is currently used for social housing. ST 61720 43877. Carole Sage (2018). Grade II listed.

The former Ebenezer Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (1819) on Paul Street. Still an active Methodist Church in the early years of the present century, it's now in use as a community centre, and the former congregation now meet in the parish church. ST 62007 43502. Carole Sage (2018). Grade II listed.

The former Garston Street Baptist Chapel is at least as old 1886, when it shows on a map of that vintage. It seems to have still been active relatively recently, but has since been converted to residential use. ST 62349 43703. Carole Sage (2018).

The former Gospel Hall in Board Cross. It's shown as such on a map of 1930, but by 1968 it was in use as a Salvation Army Hall, presumably the predecessor of the current building on Commercial Road (see below). It's since been converted to residential use. ST 61572 43567. Carole Sage (2018).

The former Hephzibah Congregational Chapel on Commercial Road. Carole has found a reference giving its dates as 1816-1961, however the 1930 O.S. map marks it as Baptist. The 1968 map simply shows it as a "Hall". In commercial use more recently, it has been up for sale in 2016. Another view. ST 61698 43728. Both Carole Sage (2018).

St. Michael (R.C., consecrated 1965) on Park Road. ST 61946 43281. Steve Bulman (2010). Link, with a useful history page here. It was preceded by an earlier church (1804) at Townsend, at ST 61663 43399. Originally dedicated to St. Nicholas, it was re-dedicated as St. Michael in 1862. When the present church opened, the old church was used by various commercial and industrial endeavours. Another view. Both Carole Sage (2018). Grade II* listed.

St. Peter and St. Paul on Peter Street. The outside is difficult to photograph. Much of the fabric is of the 12th-14th centuries, though there were extensive 19th century alterations too. There was a Saxon church on the site, and the Wikipedia entry says that the "walls around the chancel arch" are a Saxon survival, as is possibly one of the fonts. The interior is very rewarding, with a fine ceiling. Window, organ and the excellent stone pulpit of circa 1550. We ran out of time when we visited - there was much more to see! ST 6197 4367. All Steve Bulman (2010). Another view, John Balaam (2019). A distant view shows the capped off stump of the spire, which was started but abandoned. The tower. A couple of the grotesques - 1, 2 (the latter very handsome), three statues on the west side of the tower, and the weather vane. Inside there are two fonts - 1, 2, and an eagle lectern. The ceiling (detail), is highly regarded by Pevsner, who dates it to the 15th century. The interior western wall shows the ghost of the Norman roof-line. Another interior view, and the chancel. The stairs to the pulpit are the re-purposed rood loft stairs. There are stone effigies of knights in the north aisle - 1, 2. Adjacent to the church are Strodes Almshouses, and the Bread Room, from where bread was distributed to the poor of the parish. All Carole Sage (2018). Link. Church - grade I listed, almshouses and bread room - grade II listed.

Salvation Army on Commercial Road. See also the Gospel Hall entry, above. ST 617 435. Link. Steve Bulman (2010).

The former Saviour Convent on Paul Street. In 1908 the Sisters of the Saviour and the Blessed Virgin set up the convent, opening a boarding and day school for girls. In 1934 a new building was added to the side of the original building to accommodate the growing numbers of pupils. Still active in 1951, Carole doesn't know when the nuns left. The building is now part of a Church of England Junior School. ST 61902 43525. Carole Sage (2018).

Shepton Mallet Prison originally dates from 1625, though the present buildings are of the 1830's and 1840's. The chapel itself was built in 1840, and was latterly used as a gym. Closed in 2013, the prison is now open to visitors. ST 62134 43626. Carole's photo just shows the prison entrance. Carole Sage (2018). The prison as a whole is grade II* listed.

The former Shepton Mallet Workhouse Chapel, at West Shepton. The workhouse itself dates from 1836, but the block with the chapel was only built in 1848. The chapel was on the ground floor, in the block at the extreme left in Carole's photo. Now in use as a hospital, the chapel windows have been blocked up, as seen here. ST 61126 43367. Both Carole Sage (2018). The building is grade II listed, but the brief text makes no mention of the chapel.

Shepton Mallet Burial Ground has two mortuary chapels, the Church of England Chapel at ST 61757 44121 (grade II listed), and the Non-conformist Chapel at ST 61810 44103 (grade II listed). Both probably date from the opening of the cemetery (1856), but they were certainly built before 1868. Both Carole Sage (2018).

The former Unitarian Chapel (1696) on Cowl Street. Closed in 1961, it was subsequently converted for residential use. Another view. ST 61909 44103. Both Carole Sage (2018). Grade II listed.





04 March 2023

Steve Bulman

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