Church of the Holy Ghost, Midsomer Norton
The Church of the Holy Ghost, Midsomer Norton, Somerset, England is a Roman Catholic parish church housed in a converted tithe barn. It is served by monks of the Order of St. Benedict from Downside Abbey and is a Grade II* listed building.
History of the building
The building was formerly a tithe barn built and owned by the Augustinian Canons at Merton Priory, Surrey. It is the second-oldest existing building in Midsomer Norton (after the old priory itself), with Pevsner assigning it to the 15th century.
Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, the barn was handed over to the King along with all of the Priory's property, and subsequently became part of the patrimony of Christ Church, Oxford. By 1886 it was no longer needed for the storing of tithes in kind and was sold to a private owner in auction.
Conversion to church use
In 1906 the building was purchased by Downside Abbey for use as a church. Since its auction in 1886 the barn had been used as a kennels, a stable and even a chicken house and was by now in a very poor state. Abbot Edmund Ford engaged the services of the architect Giles Gilbert Scott to plan restoration and conversion of the building. In addition to restoring the splendid timber roof and timbers, Scott made several structural changes to the building, including new doorways and a new gothic style window in the south wall, the tracery for which was copied from that of a room above the porch.
The barn was blessed as a church on 17 May 1913.
The tabernacle of the church is elaborately carved in wood and richly gilded. It dates from 1794, and previously stood on the High Altar of the Chapel of the Bavarian Embassy, Golden Square, London. The Stations of the Cross are Flemish and are early examples of the painted depiction of the stations, dating from the end of the 18th century.
Other church furnishings, including the Jacobean panelling behind the High Altar (now carrying the words "Deus Caritas Est", or God is Love), were taken from the buildings of Downside Abbey and School. The pulpit used to be the Prefect's desk in the school's study room.
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday 9.30 am
Wednesday 6.15 pm
Saturday 10.00 am to 10.45 am
- Historic England. "Church of the Holy Ghost (1115202)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- "About". Moody Goose. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- Dunning, Robert (2007). Somerset Churches and Chapels: Building Repair and Restoration. Halsgrove. p. 67. ISBN 978-1841145921.
- "Footballer Damien Duff marries his bride in town". Western Daily Press. Retrieved 12 February 2014.