Muchelney, Somerset

St Peter & St Paul

An evocative setting, in front of Muchelney Abbey (English Heritage) and opposite the medieval Priest’s House (National Trust). Internally, the ceiling is one of the beauties of the church. Painted in the1600’s, the angels wear Tudor costumes, and, unusually, some are very feminine. It is almost unique. Around the altar are ancient tiles dating from the 12th century. They came from the Lady Chapel of the Abbey & had been buried for 300 years.

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Visiting information

  • Architecture

  • Stained glass

  • Interior features

  • Atmosphere / quiet space

  • Churchyard

  • Links to national heritage

Features

  • Mostly accessible to all

  • Parking at church or nearby

  • St Peter & St Paul

  • St Peter & St Paul

Although the church was never part of the abbey, the Abbot was the patron. The current church is in perpendicular style and completed in the early 15th century.

Internally, the ceiling is one of the beauties of the church. Painted in the1600s, the angels wear Tudor costumes, and, unusually, some are very feminine. It was painted in the days when such representations in churches were frowned upon and it is almost unique. There are little cherubs in the bottom panels.

Around the altar are ancient tiles dating from the 12th century. They came from the Lady Chapel of the Abbey and had been buried for 300 years, which is why some of them are in poor condition. If you look carefully you can see knights on horseback, elephants with howdahs, the Abbey with two west towers, a double headed eagle and a pelican.

The font is from the 14th century. The tall panels in the east end window are full of colourful Victorian glass. Above are small panels of medieval glass made about 1200AD. The picture behind the altar is a copy of a work by Sir Anthony Van Dyke. It was almost certainly painted by Lady Mary Long in the middle of the 19th century. Her family, though never living locally, owned the village of Muchelney at that time. On the altar is a blue crucifix showing, simply, Christ in Glory. That is our Jesus, Jesus is alive, real, now!

Some of the box type pews are 17th century, others were added in 1849. The barrel organ above the vestry door on the south side is a working organ. It was used in the church until 1872. The organ is tuned and in full working order and is played on August Bank Holiday Monday when the church Fete is held in a garden opposite the church! In the floods of 2014, when the village became an island, the church acted as post office, doctors surgery, shop, and R&R for the fire crew operating the ferry boat, as well as hosting ‘flood lunches’ and of, course, our regular services, the Vicar arriving by boat!

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