Our recent trip led us from our hometown in Portsmouth, southwest towards Yeovil and 10 miles from Glastonbury to a National Trust Heritage site named Barrow Mump.
Barrow Mump is an isolated conical hill that rises just over 70 feet above the flat somerset lands and on top of this hill is a church named St Michael’s Church. Interestingly enough the name of this church is of the same as the church that stands on Glastonbury Tor, just 10 miles away, but they are both different in ages.
The church on Barrow Mump was said to be built in the 15th century by the Romans but rebuilt on top of around 1793, as dated on the church itself. It is believed that it was built as a religious site dedicated to Saint Micheal but due to ongoing financial problems, the building suffered and as you can see by the structure it was never actually finished.
In photos, the church doesn’t have a roof, but you can see the structure of the arched windows, the front of the tower and the high walls. We think there is something so photogenic about this hilltop church.
The hill is iconic in its own manner, surrounded by marshy levels, wildlife and the somerset lands, the hill consists of sandstone and marl and is around 600 metres in diameter. You will find as you walk up the steep slopes that the hill is circular in outline but then with a flat top where the church lays. Presumably the way the grassy sides are formed and with parallel terraces it is thought that during medieval times the slopes would be used for agricultural purposes. You will also notice a trail that leads up to the church but just be wary that it can get a little slippy.
With its odd position on top of a steep hill, the local community wanted their church to be more easily accessible, so a replacement was built in the village and the hilltop site was abandoned around the 1840’s. Nowadays the ruined church and the hill are dedicated as a memorial to Somerset soldiers killed in both the first and second world wars.
The site is free to enter but has a charity box near the entrance with an ask to donate towards the national trust and keeping these historic sites open and free for us to visit all year round.
Our one bit of advice is to make sure you walk the hill carefully as it can be quite slippy and make sure you do this on your way down unless you follow the gradient and take your time. Overall, the site only took us 15-20 minutes but it really is an interesting part of history and there is something so beautiful about how it stands proudly on top of the hill.
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