Bridgwater Heritage Group

St Mary's Church
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St Mary's Corporation Pews


The 'Corporation Pews' were originally a screen outwith the older rood screen which divided the chancel from the nave. They dated to either the Tudor or Jacobean periods, representing a post-Reformation re-ordering of the medieval church. The screen was moved during the major Victorian 'restoration' of the church in 1849 and were used to mark the Corporation Chapel, where the Town Council would sit during service.

With the move there were some panels left over, and these were turned into a sideboard. In turn, these panels were recycled in the 1930s, when the sideboard was dismantled, and were incorporated into the sanctuary at the church at Moorland (Northmoor Green), whose vicar had been a curate at Saint Mary's.

In the nineteenth century the rich carvings were often studied by London architects and craftsmen as good exemplars of Tudor/Jacobean carving. Jarman, writing in 1885, lamented the new location of the pews due to the 'indifferent light in which they were placed'. This certainly makes photographing them difficult!


The Screen in 1834 in its original location.

Front Rear


The Heads


Woolrich, Cattermole and Kerr-Peterson, 2015. All Content © Bridgwater Heritage Group, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, do not reproduce material without permission.

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