(from 'A Brief History of the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Payhembury' available from the church)

St Mary the Virgin

The building of this church was begun in the 12th century and it was consecrated by Bishop Branscombe.

Until 1237 the Incumbents were Rectors, but after a dispute between Thomas Wymundshan (the Lord of the Manor?) and the Abbot of Forde, the Abbot and Convent of Forde appointed a Vicar and kept the tythes for themselves, and remained patrons of the living until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The greater part of the present building is 15th Century and the arcades are built of Beer stone. The aisle was built at a later date and Thomas Chard - the last Abbot of Forde gave a window in the chancel, his initials and Abbot's crook being carved on the stonework on the outside of the window.