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Set in a beautiful coombe below the Mendip Hills in Somerset is the tranquil village of Compton Bishop. At its heart, as it has been for over 700 years, is St Andrew’s church. Consecrated by Bishop Jocelin in 1236 the church is thought to be on the site of an older building, indeed the Norman font within is thought by many to indicate this is so. The church is of a simple design and looks perfectly right for its setting surrounded by fields stretching up the hillside and a close community of pretty cottages.
The churchyard, which is well maintained and a haven for much wildlife, contains an ancient cross set on four steps.
Inside the porch on either side of the door are two headstops described by Pevsner as ‘exceedingly good’ and within the church is a carved stone pulpit thought to be one of the best in Somerset and also some fragments of medieval stained glass.
No great events are known to have taken place in Compton Bishop church and that surely is a great part of its charm and its worth. It is, and has been for over 700 years, the parish church witnessing the baptisms, marriages and burials of those who lived here. Many memorials, both inside and outside, record their lives.
Simon Jenkins in his book England’s Thousand Best Churches says “The true pleasure of Somerset’s churches lies in the experience of visiting them. They offer the perfection of English building set against the perfection of the English countryside”.


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