Where ancestors rest (part 2)

You may know that the tall person is English. His ancestors were landowners in the County of Somerset in England.

On his last visit to England, the tall person went to see his brother who lives in their ancestral village of Stogursey in Somerset.

The village is very old and contains the remains of a moated 11th century castle built after the Norman Conquest.

The tall person and his brother went to the village church of St. Andrew where several of their ancestors from the seventeenth century are buried.

The church is a legacy of a Benedictine Priory that was established by a Norman lord, William de Falaise, who had been given the village by William the Conqueror as a reward for faithful service.

Remains of the Priory walls and a beautifully restored Dove Cot still remain.

The church was already in existence when the monks took over the Priory. The herring-bone in the tower masonry uncovered during restoration work in 1954, together with the pier capitals in the church, date the building to the last decade of the 11th century.

The church tower, which is capped by a spire, survives from the late 11th century and holds six bells, the oldest of which dates from 1611.

The bells are still rung regularly. The tenor bell weighs an impressive 1.25 imperial tons!

The beautifully carved pew ends date from 1525. The tombstone is one of the tall person’s ancestors.

It is set in the stone floor in front of the sanctuary inside the church, a place reserved for important members of the community. The tall person’s ancestors owned much land in the parish of Stogursey and also in surrounding parishes.









The church has a graveyard that has several very old lichen covered tombstones.

This one probably pre-dates the tree that has grown alongside it and displaced it.

15 thoughts on “Where ancestors rest (part 2)

  1. What a great post! I love history and love seeing the beautiful church and old graveyard. It is hard to imagine that people have been going to church here for over 800 years! Amazing!! Part of my ancestry comes from England also. I want to go to England someday. My Grandmother’s family had their ancestry traced back to King John…. yeah.. that King John… ahem. So, I want to visit to see the graves of those who would be my ancestors…. This of course tweeks the collies for they are Scottish….. LOL The last picture with the tree and ivy growing up out of the grave is a great picture!!! The tall person should be a professional photographer if he isn’t already! 🙂 Keep up the great work! 🙂

  2. Another interesting ancestors post, Bassa! The graveyard is very different the one we have in Japan. Besides the church! which has been well kept since very old time! Amazing! The photos of the church, tombstone, graveyard and the tree, everything looks so enigmatic to me!!! It reminds me my mom’s favorite ” Harry Potter” films! Woo woo! 🙂

  3. Coincidentally some of my ancestors come from Somerset too. In the 18th Century they lived in Pilton which is about 30 miles from Stogursey. In the 19th Century some of my ancestors spent time in Shepton Mallet workhouse, but luckily a few years later my great, great, great grandmother decided to travel to work in Hounslow where she met my great, great, great grandfather. Interestingly in the 17th and 18th Century on both the paternal and maternal sides of my family they were sheep farmers and years ago before I knew this I did a course on sheep husbandry – must be in the blood!

    • That is amazing Clare. Tall person’s grandmother spent all of her life in Bedfont, which is a couple of miles from Hounslow. In the depression in the 1930s the tall person’s grandfather (to be) walked from Wales to London to look for work. He met my grandmother in Bedfont and they married and lived there for the rest of their lives.

  4. Wonderful photos and so much history. I love the picture of the tree displacing the grave stone. We leave traces of our lives for those who come after us, but the natural world likes to take over.

  5. Bassa,

    Please tell the tall person that I appreciate this post so much. It’s an inside look of England (other than the highly popular cities) which I don’t see often. I am quite interested in church architectures as they usually say a lot about the era they were built in. Spires, if I remember correctly, were predominant during the Gothic era.

    Beautiful pictures. 🙂 Would there be more posts about Somerset?


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