The ecclesiastical parish of Chantry was formed in 1846 from parts of the parishes of Whatley, Elm, and Mells. In those days the parish of Elm was in two separate parts; Great Elm, where the church is, and Little Elm, some two or three miles distance. It is now part of the civil parish of Whatley and some fields to the north are in the civil parish of Mells.
Holy Trinity, Chantry, Somerset. - A munificent individual, already departed, crowned his life by building and endowing this church, which he did not live to see consecrated. These circumstances must bespeak a favourable consideration, besides which there is so much to please in the work as to demand considerable praise. The plan consists of a nave, south porch, bell-turret, chancel, and sacristy, Messrs. Scott and Moffat being architects. The style adopted is Middle-Pointed. The western elevation consists of two single trefoil-headed lights, separated by a buttress which supports the crocketed bell-turret. This, as well as the porch and the priest's door, is sadly overdone. We cannot conceive why Mr. Scott, who is clearly a clever man, and who has had so much experience of Pointed architecture, should be ever dealing in that crambe repetita of ornament by which at a glance any work of his can be identified, with little fear of a mistake. He can, if he likes, do better, in proof of which we appeal to his church at Sudbury, near Harrow, where he was somewhat restricted in means, in consequence of which he produced the most satisfactory work of his which we have ever seen. The internal effect of Chantry church is very solemn, as all the windows are glazed with painted glass, by Mr. Wailes. In one of the western windows is a curious emblematic Passion, copied from Mere church. The side windows are of two lights. The seats, as also the stalls and screen, are oak, open and massive, and, we are happy to say, uninjured by varnish or polish. The pulpit of stone is on the Gospel side, but approached by a stair-case from the sacristy. The font occupies Mr. Scott's favourite position, the western part of the central alley. There is a rood-screen with holy doors, somewhat heavy, but still laudable. Within it are miserere stalls (unreturned) which we were happy to learn are used by the choir. We were however sorry to find that the original intention of the priest's performing the service within the chancel has been abandoned. A lectern is now used, placed sideways at the east end of the nave. The lessons are read from a wooden eagle. The chancel and sacrarium are richly tiled. (We observed the sacrarium rails with no pleasure). The altar is of wood, and chairs supply the place of sedilia; one however is, we learn, to be removed. The founder's tomb, a low coffin-shaped one, with a brass inlaid, and under a canopy, is placed on the Gospel side of the sacrarium. The footpace has not been forgotten. The east window is of three lights. We were less displeased than usual with the contrivance for warming the church, though sorry to find it placed in the chancel. It consists of an opening like a window, filled with a pierced brass plate, through which the hot air comes. This is at least real and honest. We trust that mural polychrome will not be forgotten—so much richness of form and material, and the partial employment of colour in the floor and the painted windows, calls for it. The church is lit by sconces, the candles being protected by glasses, which has an un-ecclesiastical appearance. Because we have criticized much, we must not be supposed to cavil. Any feeling of discontent ought to be checked by the reflection, “what would people have thought of this church, had they fifteen years ago had a vision of it?”
1875 - Somersetshire edited by Edward Robert Kelly
CHANTRY is an ecclesiastical parish, formed in 1846 out of the civil parishes of Whatley, Elm, and Mells, 119 miles from London, and 4½ south-west from Frome railway station, in the Eastern division of the county, hundred, union and county court district of Frome, Frome rural deanery, Wells archdeaconry, and diocese of Bath and Wells, situated on the turnpike road leading from Frome to Wells. The church of the Holy Trinity, consecrated in 1846, is a handsome stone building, in the Decorated Gothic style, by Sir George Gilbert Scott: it has a chancel, nave, crocketed spire, porch, and contains an organ. The register dates from the year 1846. The living is a vicarage, yearly value £90, without residence, in the gift of the Rev. James G. C. Fussell, M.A., of The Chantry, and held by the Rev. George Wolseley Collins, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Keble College, Oxford, who is also curate in charge of Downhead, 2 miles west. There is a National school, an Industrial school, and a Boarding school for girls under the same roof, the object of the promoters of tlie latter school being to bring within the reach of persons of limited income the benefits of a good education, including French, German, music, drawing, and such other accomplishments as are usually imparted in schools of superior character. The Wesleyans have a chapel here. The manufacture of edge tools is carried on in this district. Two fairs are held here annually, on the first Tuesday after Trinity Tuesday, and on the first Tuesday after the 29th September. The Rev. James G. C. Fussell is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The soil is light, resting on the limestone. The land is chiefly pasture for dairy purposes. The population in 1871 was 248.
1929 - Somerset by George Woosung Wade & Joseph Henry Wade
Chantry, or Little Elm, a small village 4½ m. S.W. from Frome. The church is a beautiful bit of modern Gothic, designed by Sir G. Scott.