Taunton, St Mary Magdalene
"Taunton comprises the parishes of St. James and St. Mary Magdalene, the former containing 4047, and the latter 8019, inhabitants; but many houses extend into the adjoining parishes of Wilton and Bishop's-Hull. The living of St. Mary Magdalene's is a vicarage, also in the gift of Dr. Cottle: the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £380. There is an afternoon lecture on Thursday, endowed by Thomas Poyntington, who bequeathed property in 1732, now producing about £50 per annum, which sum is paid to the vicar agreeably with the will of the donor. The church, standing near the centre of the town, was originally a chapel to St. James, but was made parochial in 1308, under Walter Huselshaw, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and is a magnificent edifice in the decorated and later English styles, consisting of a chancel, nave, and four aisles. At the west end is a quadrangular tower, an elegant structure in four compartments, containing thirteen windows, which, by the variety of their ornaments, add much to its lightness and beauty; it is 121 feet in height, exclusively of its pinnacles of 32 feet, which are richly adorned with carved work. The restoration of this church was completed at the close of 1845, at a cost of £7000, chiefly defrayed by the vicar." [A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848 by Samuel Lewis]
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