Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Churches of Exmoor #2

Leaving Bicknoller for Stogumber is a real challenge in a car, especially one that was barely four days old! The road is particularly narrow and set the scene for many other routes on this short break as it climbed hills steeply, turned sharp corners and appeared to sink lower into the ground as the banks got higher and higher. Stogumber appears much more of a town in feel but definitely not one equipped for today's love affair with the car. The streets are very narrow and it was a challenge to park anywhere near the church thanks to a pub and shop opposite it.
is a church of contrasts and unusual features. The north side is regular and handsome, embattled and with beasts carved in stone around the parapets; large porch also of the same period. The tower however stands at the SW corner and the south front appears very disjointed with the tower, a large embattled porch, a plain aisle and taller larger wider south chancel chapel with fine detailing. Much is Perp, but with a Victorian embellished sanctuary and an oddly detailed north chancel arcade. The latter is like a double arcade, the piers joined and then pierced through with openings. The nave's north arcade is handsome with Devon foliage band capitals, one of which has a handsome green man. The south arcade in contrast is probably earlier work and of different periods as are the arches of different widths and heights. Then there is the handsome chancel with its Victorian decoration and rich reredos, but on the south side a big heavy-canopied tomb with two coffered arches above the effigies of Sir George Sydenham d1597 and his two wives - he lying centrally and comfortably whereas the wives are placed awkwardly on side shelves one step below him. Six pairs of fluted Corinthian columns support the entablature and superstructure. Other fittings also of good quality, font, a stone pulpit, some bench ends.

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