The monuments erected to the Halswell / Kemeys-Tynte family include names of some of the greatest sculptors to have worked in Britain, John Michael Rysbrack (1694 –1770) and Joseph Nollekens RA (1737 –1823). The seventeenth century monument which includes sculptures of all the members of the family at that time is also a triumph to an anonymous master sculptor of the time.
There is speculation as to where the Halswell family worshipped and were buried before the seventeenth century. The tenancy of Taunton Priory of some parts of the Manor of Halswell, from at least 1285 and possibly right up to the Reformation in the 1530’s, poses interesting possibilities, as does the discovery in 2015 of six thirteenth century gothic windows in the Gatehouse, or Stable, block at Halswell. However what we do know at present is that the first monument and seemingly the first burial of a member of the Halswell family in St Edward’s Church, which is within the boundaries of the Manor of Goathurst, rather than Halswell, was only after 1558. It was in 1558, to settle a dispute between the Paulet family of the manor of Goathurst and Niclolas Halswell about title and rights to the church, that Nicholas Halswell obtained a plot of land to the north of the Chancel, St Edward’s Church, Goathurst, upon which to build ‘an Ule or Chapell for himself and his heirs forever’.
Nicholas Halswell died in 1564, his son Robert in 1570, and Robert’s son Sir Nicholas Halswell (c. 1560-1633) died in 1633. It is for Sir Nicholas and Lady Bridget that the magnificent early seventeenth-century Halswell monument was erected.