Heritage Highlights: Early 18th century memorial to Sir Edward Seyymour by Michael Rysbrack
The oldest features of the curent building are the north aisles arcades, which were built around 1175. The 3 westernmost arches are among the earliest examples of pointed arches in Britain.
Despite the 12th century remains, the church we see today is largely the result of a rebuilding in 1385. High on the south aisle walls are 14th century stone corbels that supported the medieval roof. Each corbel head is unique; one shows a queen, one humourous corbel shows a fat man.
One of the interior highlights is a large monument to Sir Edward Seymour (d. 1707), sculpted in white marble by Michael Rysbrack in 1730. Seymour lived at Bradley House, visible through trees beside the church. The sculpture shows Seymour reclining, wearing a Roman toga, a luxuriant wig upon his head. Seymour was a descendent of the Lord Protector Somerset, and served as Speaker of the House of Commons, Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, Privy Councillor, and Treasurer of the Navy.
In the 17th century the medieval benches were replaced with lovely box pews, which are one of the highlights of the current building. The pews are decorated with beautifully carved shell-head carvings and friezes of strapwork.
The pews were reputed to have been given as an act of thanks for the restoration of the monarchy by the Seymour family. The pews are similar to those at Mere church, which we know were carved by William Walter, so it seems reasonable to assume that Maiden Bradley's pews were also carved by Walter, who was a resident of the village.
On the tower wall is a royal coat of arms to Charles II. The font dates to 1200 and has a nicely carved Jacobean cover. Also Jacobean is the pulpit. There is very nice stained glass by Christopher Whall, who also supplied glass for Gloucester Cathedral. Whall's glass was paid for by Duchess Susan of Somerset, in memory of Algernon, the 15th Duke of Somerset.
In the churchyard are gravestones to several Dukes of Somerset and their families (look outside the north west corner of the church for the gravestones). Near the churchyard path is an ancient yew tree, which the church guide suggests may indicate an ancient, pagan origin.
England, BA12 7HA
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: At the southern edge of the village on the east side of the B3092. Parking along the road. Usually open daylight hours.