Church History

There is no mention of Radstock in the Doomsday book compiled in 1086, although there is of the part of the parish known as Writhlington Radstock is, mentioned a little later as part of the 'Hundreds of Kilmerson' A Norman church was built, an exact date not own, around 11-12th century. The tower and the corner of the existing church across to the pillars are all that is left. Lanking at the windows inside, to the right of the door and two to the left Show
the Norman arches. The one to the right is unusual in that it depicts accurate botanical drawings. The front also dates from that period. It has had a chequered history, in that one previous Rector took it too use as a flower planter at the Rectory. The Rectory was them on the old RadCo site alongside the stream.Later it became a cattle trough in Manor Farm and was identified, rescued and restored Although very modern in design, it needs to be viewed from various postions to see that it's not circular, but misshapen because it is handcarved. The cover is not the original one. There are two carved panels showing points of history of the area and the church, and also the various Rectors of the parish Rectors are recorded from 1297, but there was almost certainly a church before this. These carvings are the work of Mrs Angell, daughter of the Rev. A. Bax The Preaching cross at the rear of the church (currently in the vestry] dates from the 13th Century Che site represents the crucifixion and the other the Virgin and chit. It would have stood in the Churchyard as a village cross and been the focal point for visiting preachers. Monks from Glastonbury possibly visited the area preaching and teaching as might have, the Wesley brothers. Damage to the cross was caused by weather and also, probably the Puritan Soldiers in Cromwell's time.

It was then built into the east wall of the porch until 1922 when it was recognised lind as a preaching cross. In 1924 it was reunited with the base.
The flight of stairs inside the south wall now goes nowhere, but would either of lead to the three story oak pulpit, that was in the original church. Alternatively it could led to the top of a 'rood screen' ree being much more substantial to the current one at the entrance to the Chancel. It might also have been to the upper gallery which is shown n some of the early plans. On the right of the porch entrance, about five feet above the ground is a primitive sundial or scratch dial. Looking like radiating spokes, of the same length, apart from the mid-day one, which is longer. A straight rod would have been fixed at right angles to the wall. The scratch dial is of C14th origin and would of marked the hour for Mass. Inside on the South wall near the doorway to the stairs is a piscine, which is a sink or basin to wash the sacred communion vessels. Nearer the Porch is a stoup, a basin for holy water to
rinse hands and to cross them selves on the forehead. The sundial outside the church on the South wall, it is similar to the one at Brasenose College, Oxford, The club-brass represented on the dial is that of the Old Radstock Village Miner's Club. In the Chancel are small pews that Mrs Angell also carved showing Parish history. It is interesting to see that family names are still in the area four centuries on.

The nave was extended to the east and the new chancel built and then in 1889 the Church was extended to the North,almost doubling the size. A
large organ was installed in the North aisle. In 1997 the flooring was found to be badly rotten. At the same time a major re-ordering undertaken, removing the pews and organ and then carpeting to allow for greater flexibility of use. The Chancel Screen is a memorial to Rev. Horatio Nelson-Ward. a Grandson of Lord Horatio Nelson the great British Naval hero. The graves of Rev. Horatio, his wife and his brother can be found in the Churchyard to the left at the top of the yew tree walk. The pulpit was also a memorial to Rev. Nelson-Ward.

Extracts taken from
History of the Parish of Radstock, G.A. Foster Pub: 1947 Ed
Church Rambler 1870, from Somerset 100 yrs. ago, Robert Dunning
Notes by D. Neighbour, 2004

Powered by Church Edit