Monday, May 19, 2008

St Leonard, Otterford, Somerset

The church probably deserves a little more of a description by Pevsner than "mainly of 1861".In fact it has some charm, a medieval west tower, a heavily restored nave and chancel with a victorian north aisle. Inside the chancel arch is panelled and clearly medieval, as is the font bowl.

All Saints, Curland, Somerset

After a brief call at the village to find a former Methodist church-now-a-house (minimal Gothic) we headed south to another cross on the map in near isolation. I spotted it as cbn read the map. I also spotted a row of modern velux windows in the roof and declaed that this was a house. From the approach nothing appeared to suggest this was not still a church but a letterbox and log stash in the porch were clues which were unmistakeable. The church is nothing more than a Victorian Perp rectangle with a bellcote and small south porch.

St Peter, Staple Fitzpaine, Somerset

The weather which had been showery all day now turned to persistent rain. A pity because here was one of the prettiest exteriors of the day, thanks largely to the handsome Somerset Perp tower, not one of the largest examples but a finely detailed tower with twin two light bell openings, open parapet and a cluster of pinnacles. The church it is attached to is much humbler with three bayed nave and aisles and chancel with NE vestry. Nothing much inside either apart from a couple of screens reused from the old Bickenhall church nearby when that was demolished. Good Norman arch in the south porch.

St Michael, Orchard Portman, Somerset

The church is sadly rendered outside, the north porch has been turned into a baptistry and hence the rather fine doorway is inside the church. Not sure where Pevsner was describing - it sounds like here but the details are muddled with somewhere else. The former south aisle (shown in old prints) was removed after 1832. The present transeptal chapel, possibly a family pew was built in 1910 but the arch to the nave is of this time and in no way resembles anything Norman. The helms mentioned have been loaned to Taunton Museum.

St Nicholas, Corfe, Somerset

Entirely rebuilt neo-Norman of 1842, presumably to match the original font inside. The tower and aisle added 1858. Open and quite fun. Of course the Norman theme is taken to absurd lengths - interlace on the pews, arched decoration on the stalls and outside on the odd piece of wall jutting eastwards from the chancel, and even one tomb chest in the churchyard.

St Andrew and St Mary, Pitminster, Somerset

One of Somerset's few spires, and this a short leaded recessed one on top of an octogonal bellstage which in turn stands on a larger square base (impressive squinches), and embraced by the aisles which are largely rebuilt. Odd stairway west of the porch leads where? It is too short to lead out onto the aisle roof, there is no upper room to the porch, so does it lead somehow over the aisle into the tower? The main features worthy of note inside are the three monuments to generations of the Coles family, although none are in their original condition or position. The latest one has large kneeling daughters in front of the chest, and two babies, one at the head and the foot of the wife - of which Pevsner only spotted one. He does not mention at all the rather fine font of c1450 which although restored has two faces with medieval scenes (St George slaying the dragon, St James of Compstella flanked by a kneeling couple possibly the donors), nor the handsome Jacobean pulpit with back plate and tester.

St Michael, Angersleigh, Somerset

This is a small church and again of little interest but considerable charm. Much was rebuilt in the C19, and the exterior is rendered (a finish I do not like). A whole host of daffodils lined the path to the door. No porch, you enter under the tower. Pevsner does not mention the Norman font.

St Mary, West Buckland, Somerset

I ambled around the outside, noting the padlock and chain on the outer gates of the porch. The wind was rather fresh, and the church is prominently placed on a hill (and a notable feature from the M5 as you head north from Devon, just past the Wellington turn-off.) Tall tower, embattled aisles, tall nave roof (but no clerestory).

There are some places you wonder why they bother locking the church as there is little inside worth taking and here was another case in point. The nave has a wagon roof, but only two bayed north and south arcades. Square Purbeck marble font in the SE chapel, and a window by Burne-Jones in the north aisle.

St John the Evangelist, Carlton in Lindrick, Notts

An away game at Doncaster also meant a trip to this church which has one of the oldest towers in England
For more on the church and my complete set of photos please visit my Flickr photoset via this link