Sunday, June 22, 2008

St Aldhelm, Doulting, Somerset

A very picturesque church, with its octagonal central tower and spire, and one which I had never been to before, although I thought I had. It is all a bit of a fake, being almost completely rebuilt by the Victorians but they did largely rebuild what was there already so the spirit of the design is old, as well as some interior details being original. The church is cruciform and aisleless, and there are a number of fine grotesques and gargoyles. The nave has north and south porches, the splendid south porch with its fan faulting being locked chained and padlocked. Pevsner descibes this in detail and even has an illustration in BofE, yet it is C19, and an improved design to the original; much of the original porch stonework is built into the wall of the Old Vicarage. The north porch is the main entrance and shelters a late Norman doorway. From west to east the church appears internally all C19, the crossing is rib-vaulted and there is a fancy wooden Gothic screen. It is the transepts that seem old, and the roofs of both are indeed original C15 with ornate tie-beams, bosses and winged angels carrying shields. The font too is retooled and improved but is C15 with panelled stem and demi-figures of angels around the base of the bowl.

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