Compton Martin, St Michael the Archangel

 The Church

The Grade I listed church of St Michael the Archangel stands in the centre of the village on a rise of ground with the pond and main road through the village on its north side. Fields leading up to the ancient woods bound the south.

The church is largely Norman with a chancel, aisled nave and mid-C16th tower. The chancel and north aisle were both heightened in the mid-C15th and the church was restored in 1858 and 1902 by T.G. Jackson.

The interior has a stone flagged floor and the walls are stripped of plaster. Fittings include a Norman piscina in the chancel, Norman font in the nave, a C15th carved wooden screen in the chapel, a C17th altar rail and C19th neo-Romanesque stone pulpit. A recumbent late C13th effigy in the north aisle possibly commemorates Thomas de Morton.

Above the chancel there is a void which contains a columbarium or dovecote. In 1606 this housed 140 squabs (pigeons) for the rector's table.

The Bats

Bat surveys carried out in summer 2021 found at least six bat species using the church building, with Natterer's bat maternity roosts and individual Daubenton's bats in the north and south aisles, brown long-eared bats, common and soprano pipistrelles in the roof, and lesser horseshoe bats in the porch.

Enhancing the columbarium above the chancel to turn it into a bat loft, under licence from Natural England, is one of the options being considered to provide a roosting area for the bats while limiting their access to the main body of the church.

In July 2021 children from Ubley CofE Primary School visited the church to learn about bats and churches.

In June 2022 the church took part in the National Bat Monitoring Programme roost count with Avon Bat Group.

Upcoming events

If you’d like to contact or find out more about the church, visit the website or their page on A Church Near You