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Church of St Peter and St Paul, South Petherton facts for kids

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Church of St Peter and St Paul
South Petherton church.jpg
Location South Petherton, Somerset, England
Built 13th century
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated 19 April 1961
Reference no. 264257
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The Church of St Peter and St Paul in South Petherton, Somerset, England has Saxon origins. It retains a 13th-century crosswing, with the remainder of the buildings dating from the 15th century, however it underwent major restorations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been designated as a grade I listed building.

History and architecture

In its early history the church was connected to Bruton Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries.

The tower is an irregular octagon on plan, wider on its east–west axis, which is believed to be the tallest octagonal church tower in the United Kingdom. It was erected in stages, the lower portion is from the 13th century with the upper stages added in the 15th.


In the far right corner, on the right of the chancel, is the Daubeney Family chapel. This chapel is home to several fine brass effigies. The effigies of Sir Giles Daubeney (d. 1445/46), and his first wife Joan. The effigies were engraved in around 1430.

Also in the South Chapel is a Ham stone effigy of an earlier member of the Daubeney family dating from no later than 1300. The effigy is of a man clad in mail and was found at Pitway, South Petherton on 7 March 1929.

There is some stained glass but much of it was destroyed during the English Civil War.


The tower houses a ring of 12 bells, augmented by a flat sixth which enables two octaves to be rung. The bells were recast in 1998; the treble weighs 4 long cwt 0 qr 6 lb (454 lb or 206 kg) while the heaviest bell, the tenor, weighs 22 long cwt 3 qr 15 lb (2,563 lb or 1,163 kg).

On 17 October 2015, the church was the venue for a successful attempt at a change ringing record, when 21,216 changes of the Cambridge Surprise Maximus method were rung non-stop by a band of twelve visiting ringers between 7am and 9.30pm. This broke the previous record of 16,368 changes set in 1965 at Birmingham Cathedral, and followed a previous unsuccessful attempt at South Petherton in 2014. The record stood for just over two years before being broken by a peal of 25,056 changes of Bristol Surprise Maximus rung in just over 16 hours at St Anne's on Alderney in the Channel Islands on 25 October 2017.

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