Ancient Monuments

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Chapel east of Adscombe Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Over Stowey, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1335 / 51°8'0"N

Longitude: -3.1674 / 3°10'2"W

OS Eastings: 318413.896924

OS Northings: 137782.107912

OS Grid: ST184377

Mapcode National: GBR LY.8WZ6

Mapcode Global: VH6GZ.1RWY

Entry Name: Chapel E of Adscombe Farm

Scheduled Date: 30 March 1977

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006133

English Heritage Legacy ID: SO 452

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Over Stowey

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


Medieval chapel 280m east of Adscombe Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 August 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a medieval chapel situated on the north west facing slope of a prominent ridge. The chapel survives as a small rectangular roofless building measuring approximately 13m long by 6m wide internally and defined by low stone walls or rubble banks of up to 0.6m thick and 0.9m high with parts of diagonal buttresses visible to the north west and south west corners and standing up to 1.3m high. Some worked stone including pieces from window and door mouldings lie within the interior. The building is set onto a terraced area measuring approximately 25m by 15m. It is thought the chapel began as a grange of Athelney suggested by documentary references that rents provided for the monk’s kitchen. After the dissolution it may have been used for a short time as a secular chapel. It is believed this chapel is the one featured in the poem ‘The Foster-Mother’s Tale’ by Coleridge.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards. Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a track-way, as well as later industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on the hills through time. These earthwork features are one of the key components of the Quantocks' broader landscape character. A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar.

Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment. Despite woodland growth the medieval chapel 280m east of Adscombe Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, abandonment, social and religious significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-189492

Source: Historic England

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