St Michael’s Church History and Information

St Michael’s Church History and Information

St. Michael’s is part of the Chipstable with Raddington parish which contains 3 churches – All Saints Chipstable, St. Michael’s Raddington and Waterrow Church and Community Hall. For more information on the parish please visit their parish website.

St Michaels
St Michael’s Church, Raddington

“The church stands on a little eminence, with deep narrow valley to the south.  The situation is beautiful, the surface of the country being spread into lofty swelling hills, cut into large enclosures by quick hedges, with deep vales winding between them.  Here are no wheeled carriages”

 The History and antiquities of Somerset –  John Collinson 1791

Raddington is the smallest and most westerly parish in the Benefice of Wiveliscombe and the Hills.  St Michael’s has neither water nor electricity, but the absence of stained glass means the church is flooded with natural light.  The church is only accessible on foot through the adjoining fields or footpaths.  Visitors are welcomed from far and wide and are often surprised and delighted to find that the door is open.  St Michael’s is a place of pilgrimage, peace and spiritual renewal.

Images from St. Michael's Church

Parish History

There are suggestions of an Iron Age settlement in the combe behind the church but the first written references date from 891, when King Alfred gave to his companion Bertolph land in Raddington, free of common dues.  At the time of the Domesday records the parish was mainly the land of two manorial estates, today known as Chubworthy and Washer’s Farms.  There was a corn mill serving the manor recorded in 1086 and a Rectory provided the parish “living” from 1262.  A further six farms were established from gradual enclosure of common land and division of the two main holdings over the following 600 years or so and these remain the key settlements.  The population peaked at 126 individuals in 1841 and has steadily fallen to around 55 today.

Images from St. Michael's Church

St. Michael

The situation and dedication of St Michael (by 1510) provides two clues to the history of the church.  This ancient sacred site is likely to have formerly been a pagan one, as are all those dedicated to St Michael.  He is supposed to have thrown the devil out of heaven and Anglo Saxons called on him when consecrating pagan sites for Christianity.  It is claimed that like many, if not all St Michaels’ churches, it lies directly on a ley line, one of those mysterious lines of energy that are believed to radiate from that most hallowed of English sites—Glastonbury.

The Building

The tiny 13th century, Grade I listed gem of a church, sits on a knoll on a south facing slope.  The ancient building is packed with features of architectural interest and beauty.  Many of its finest features date from the 14th century including the beautifully carved and gilded Rood Screen, the fine door with its decorative hinges and the medieval tiles that cover the threshold.  The font, of octagonal Purbeck type, dates from the 13th century with a later cover.  The church roof is studded with unique ceiling bosses including one thought to depict St Michael or possibly a “green man”.  Recent work has seen the restoration of the 13th century tower and uncovered wall paintings including the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer.

Please visit our parish website for further information: