The Parish Church of St Margaret of Antioch
Welcome to St Margaret’s Church which is not only a beautiful Grade One listed historic village building, but the pastoral centre for private prayer and reflection, daily worship, and ministering through the Christian life of baptism, confirmation, marriage and committal. The Church naturally has close ties to the Church of England voluntary aided village school.
Saint Margaret of Antioch
Margaret came from Antioch, in modern Turkey. She is said to have been martyred there in 304. We know no facts of her life but there is a legendary story of her having been swallowed by Satan in the form of a dragon. A cross she was wearing caused the dragon to spew her out and she escaped. She is often pictured with a dragon at her feet, as in the east window above the altar.
Although Pope Gelasius I tried to suppress her cult because of the legendary nature of her story, she became very popular at the time of the Crusades and more than 250 churches are dedicated to her in England, including St Margaret’s, Westminster, the parish church of the Houses of Parliament.
The Church in Tintinhull
St Margaret’s was built because Christians needed a place to worship. What was true then is true today. The Church building remains here because it is a place where the Church, the people of God, meet to offer praise and worship to the God who sent his Son into the world to save us from our sins. (John 3.16).
A Brief History
St Margaret’s has been a centre of Christian worship for at least 800 years. There are records which indicate the presence of a church here from at least the early 12th century but the present building dates substantially from the early 13th century. The church in Tintinhull had connections to nearby Montacute Priory from the time of the founding of the community there in the late 11th or early 12th century to the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century.
The main structure of the building dates from the early 13th century but parts of the east wall may have formed part of an earlier building. The chancel arch was probably added when the church was remodelled in the 14th century.
Work to build the tower probably started soon after the building of the church but was not completed until 1516.
The south porch, which was originally thatched, dates from the middle of the 15th century. The vestry at the west end of the church was added in 1952 in thanksgiving for the safe return of all of those who served in the Second World War. In 2013 there was some re-ordering of the west end of the church and the installation of level access for wheelchair users and a toilet.
Things to look out for
The church contains a double piscina, where the priest washed his hands at mass, typical of the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). There is a second piscina set into the north side of the lower stone wall at the chancel arch. It may suggest that there was once an altar in that area.
At the west end of the church path is the Stonyng Door. The Latin inscription reads “Truly this is a holy place” (on the west face) and “Let us go into the house of God rejoicing” (on the east)
The font dates from the 15th Century.
Old Bench Ends
The three oldest, with a seat – probably for a servant – were made in 1511-12.
Brasses on the chancel floor including a half length effigy of John Heth (15th Century Rector). The inscription reads –
“Master John Heth Canon of Salisbury, Rector of Tyncnell and Chiselborough, who died on the 4th day of February 1464, on whose soul may God have mercy. Amen. Be thou witness O Christ that this stone does not lie here that the body may be adorned but that the spirit should be remembered”
- Old encaustic tiles – Set into the sanctuary steps showing the arms of the Plantagenets
- 13th century stained glass – Some fragments remain in the south-west chancel window
- Memorial – On the north nave wall is a memorial, an early work by Louis-François Roubiliac (a renowned French sculptor active in England in the 18th century)
- Jacobean Pulpit – The Jacobean pulpit dates from the early 17th century
- Churchyard Cross and War Memorial – Installed in 1920 and designed by Sir Ninian Comper
- Church Bells – The tower (1516-17) houses five bells. The oldest of them, the treble and tenor, are dated 1617 and 1629 and were made in Taunton
- Sundials – On the exterior south wall are a number of mass clocks or dials – scratched sundials – to tell the congregation the time of the mass
St Margaret’s Church is one of five village churches in the Benefice: St Margaret’s in Tintinhull, St Mary’s in Chilthorne Domer, All Saints’ in Yeovil Marsh, St Andrew’s in Thorne Coffin, and St Peter & St. Paul’s at Lufton. For details of church services, news from the Diocese of Bath and Wells and Benefice News visit the Five Crosses website. The Reverend Peter Down, Priest in Charge and resident in Tintinhull, Ministers to all five churches.
The Church Wardens of St. Margaret’s commissioned the Tintinhull Local History Group to produce a survey of the church in 2019. The ‘Flip Books’ below have been created from the original report produced and published on the TLHG website.
The first book explores the history of St. Margaret’s Church and includes detailed architectural drawings. The second book looks at the Church Warden’s accounts from 1433. The final book contains a detailed survey of Monumental Inscriptions.