Sunday, 22 November 2015

Churchyard without a Church, West Dowlish

500 metres to the south of the hamlet of Moolham, 200 metres to the west of Moolham Lane, a mile west of Dowlish Wake and bounded on 2 sides by an orchard, is a small isolated graveyard. It isn't even marked on the 1:50,000 scale Ordnance Survey map, although it is marked on the 1:25,000 scale Explorer map.  There is no sign of a church.  The graveyard contains a dozen or so old graves and about half a dozen more recent ones, including those of Baron Peter Pilkington of Oxenford and his wife Helen, who died in 2011 and 1997 respectively.

This is the churchyard of the long gone St John the Baptist Church, West Dowlish.  According to the Victoria County History of Somerset  the church had been demolished by 1575 and the rectory was annexed to Dowlish Wake in 1857.  Collinson's 1791 History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset noted that the church had been ruined for a century, that the churchyard was overgrown and the font had been moved to Dowlish Wake Church.

Grid Reference: ST 362 130

 Graveyard of St John the Baptist, West Dowlish
I did wonder if the occupant of this tomb had escaped!

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