Saturday 6 October 2018

Tenby, St Mary

St Mary,

St Mary's can be found in the town centre. Most of the church seen today, dates from the 15th century, but if you look hard enough, there are some architectural details from an earlier 13th century building. Local tradition has it that there has been a church here since the 11th century.

The chancel dates from the 13th century, and has a splendid vaulted ceiling with seventy five bosses with designs representing foliage, grotesques, fishes, mermaids and a green man. 

A chapel, dedicated to St Thomas, was added during the early or mid 15th century, with the St Nicholas chapel being built around 1485. The spire was also added at this later date.

Above. Ruins in the church yard.

The Grade II* listed ruins visible in the church yard, are thought to be the remains of a 15th century choir school or college.

Above. The off-set tower with its 15th century spire.

The tower is slightly off-set, being positioned to one side of the chancel. It dates from the 13th century, and its first floor once served as a chapel. A stone altar and piscina are still in situ.

Above. The vaulted ceiling of the 13th century chancel.

Above. One of two fonts in the church. This one probably dates from the 15th century.

Above. Another view of the 13th century chancel.

Above. Panoramic view of the chancel.

The church contains a number of interesting memorials. One is to Robert Recorde, an Elizabethan scholar who introduced the = sign to mathematics. There are also tombs belonging to Thomas and John White, both of whom served as mayors of Tenby. 

Sunday 19 August 2018

Tenby, St Julian's chapel

St Julian's Chapel

In 1890, the old pier and its accompanying chapel were demolished after the narrow harbour entrance began to silt up. Without their own dedicated chapel, local fishermen worshipped at St Marys in the town centre....causing consternation amongst the congregation there with their smelly clothes.

Above. The chapel viewed from Crackwell Street. 

To remedy the situation, a new church\chapel was built between 1874 and 1878, specifically to accommodate the fishermen. Clergy from St Marys led services here, and were paid with freshly caught sea food for their work.

Above. The chapel from the harbour side. 

Services were held here on a regular basis, and only ever cancelled when storm waves were so severe, that they broke over the churches roof.

A major campaigner for the new church was Miss Forde, who lobbied the Town Council for the land to build the church on. A petition was signed by over sixty seamen in support of her plans.

Friday 18 August 2017

Sidmouth, St Giles and St Nicholas

St Giles and St Nicholas

Sidmouth, chapel of St Peter

Chapel of St Peter

All that remains of the Chapel of St Peter, is this portion of roughly hewn wall on Church Street.

Above. All that remains of the Chapel of St Peter.

The wall formed part of a 13th century chapel, which belonged to Otterton Priory,mentioned in deeds of 1332. After the dissolution of the monasteries, it fell into disuse and was at some point turned into a public house called "At the sign of the Anchor" which in turn was demolished around 1805.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Bassenthwaite, St Bega

St Bega

The tiny church of St Bega can be found about three miles North of Keswick (town) and about a quarter of mile North of Mirehouse on the East shores of Bassenthwaite, the only 'real' lake in the English Lake District. The church is partly hidden from view by a small copse of trees, and is approached from two footpaths. The first one, which is the one I followed, leads North from Mirehouse, across fields and well marked footpaths. The second, descends South across the fields from the A591. Towering over Mirehouse, the church and Bassenthwaite to the the East is spectacular Skiddaw, the sixth highest mountain in England! The church is one of only three in England dedicated to St Bega, an Irish Princess today considered more of a 'cult' of personality rather than a real historical person.

Above. St Bega through the trees.

Above. The North facade of the church.

The first interesting feature of the church that struck me, was the wall to the left of the North door. The stone work is obviously older than that surrounding it, and closer inspection revealed a blocked doorway. The wall, consisting of rough stone work, and the tiny blocked door, standing to only around four and a half feet tall, are some of the oldest features in the church, and date to the original build date of the church, put at 950, over one hundred years before the Norman invasion of the British Isles. 

Above. Pre-Norman door and wall on the North wall.

Above. The Bellcote at the West end of the church.

Above. The South facade of the church.

Above. Looking down the Nave into the Chancel.

The Chancel arch, plain and in remarkable condition, is Norman, and probably represents part of the original Norman rebuild of the tiny church.....the original building would have been half as wide as the church we see today, 

Above. Interior view of the high doorway in the North wall.

The door in the North wall is also Norman.....again, very plain and simple, not with the more familiar dog-tooth or chevron decorations more commonly associated with Norman architecture. 

Above. Looking East down the South aisle towards the chapel.

Above. Looking West along the South aisle.

Above. 16th century Chance arch leading into the East chapel.

Above. The second 16th century arch leading from the East chapel into the South aisle.

Above. Another view of the Norman Chancel arch looking from the Nave.

Above. Sketch of the grave slab, rescued and presented against the wall.

Above. Photo of the grave slab....details not very clear - refer to the sketch for more features.

The windows throughout the church date from the restoration of the building that took place in 1874.....a plan shown in Mike Salter's book, The Old Parish Churches of Cumbria, shows no original windows anywhere in the church.

Above. Memorial to the Wane and Pearson families.

Above. Royal Coat of arms of George II

The church is operated on an 'open door' policy, so is accessible during daylight hours, and is well worth a visit, as is the surrounding countryside. Mirehouse is a great place to while away the hours walking the gardens and exploring the walled bee garden for example.