St Mary Magdalene Church

Church Square, Taunton, TA1 1SA

St Mary Magdalene Church

Description

The foundations of St Mary Magdalene church were probably laid in the early eighth century when Ina, king of the West Saxons established Christianity in Taunton. St Mary’s was made into the Parish Church of Taunton by the Bishop of Winchester in 1308, with the structure itself being completed in 1508.

The church is mainly built of sandstone and has a painted interior, except for the ‘forest’ of pillars which line the four aisles – a rare feature in a parish church. Most of the statues and stained glass date from a restoration project during the Victorian era. In 2008 glass 'Angel Doors' were installed at the entrance to the church to celebrate the 700th anniversary of St Mary's becoming the Parish Church.

The tower was built in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was rebuilt in 1858-62 (in replica) under the guidance of the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and is considered to be one of the best examples of a Somerset tower. At 163 feet (50m) tall it stands as the tallest church in Somerset. On completion of the re-build, the donkey which had hauled all the stone up the tower was himself hoisted to the top from whence to survey his handiwork! Taunton's first known fire engine was housed in the tower in 1734 and today it is home to a pair of nesting peregrine falcons. 

The Father Willis Organ was opened at a ceremony in 1882 and was built by a firm that was the 'Rolls Royce' brand of its time. The quality of Willis’ work is especially evident in the harmonically rich and assertive main principal chorus, the blending reeds, the solo Corno di bassetto on the Choir manual, the sweet and fulsome Harmonic flute, and the rasp of the pedal Ophicleide.

Sunday and weekday services welcome locals and those from further afield. The Coffee Shop and The Book & Gift Shop provide a place to stay and relax whilst enjoying a cup of tea with friends or browsing the shelves. Both are non-profit making, with any money made going back into supporting the work of the church.

St Mary's also hosts a wealth of concerts and events throughout the year from the Mayor's Charity Concert and the Chamber Philharmonia Cologne to Tower Open Days.


Opening Hours

Coffee Shop
Monday to Saturday: 10am - 2pm
Closed Bank Holidays and over the Christmas holidays

Books & Gift Shop
Winter
Monday to Friday: 10am - 3pm
Saturday 10am - 1pm

Summer
Monday to Friday: 10am - 4pm
Saturday: 10am - 1pm
Closed Bank Holidays and over the Christmas holidays

Contact

St Mary Magdalene Church
Church Square
Taunton
Somerset
TA1 1SA


T: 01823 272441

E: office@stmarymagdalenetaunton.org.uk

W: stmarymagdalenetaunton.org.uk/



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