Part 3 out of 5
county. The neighbourhood is a happy hunting-ground for the antiquary,
and one of the "regulation" sights for the casual tourist. No one can
be said to have "done" Somerset who has not seen Glastonbury. Its
associations are romantic as well as historical. Though the modern town
is commonplace enough, poetry and piety, fact and fiction, have
conspired to make it famous. Here was the cradle of British
Christianity. In this "deep meadowed island, fair with orchard
lawns"--the fabled _Avalon_--blossomed the flower of British chivalry
in the persons of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. It was
when a Glastonbury monk that Dunstan made his vigorous onslaught on the
powers of darkness. And it was this "parcel of ground," already
consecrated by the bones of St Patrick, King Edgar, and St David, which
became the favourite burying-place of mediaeval saints and heroes. The
legend which accounted for its early pre-eminence is even in these
sceptical days worth retelling, for from its popularity the future
importance of the abbey sprang. Joseph of Arimathaea was despatched by
St Philip along with eleven companions "to carry the tidings of the
blessed Gospel" to the shores of remote Britain. Providential winds
wafted them across the waters of the Severn Sea, and at length the
wayworn travellers landed at Glastonbury, then an island. As their
leader, like Jacob, leant in worship on the top of his staff on
Wearyall Hill, the rod took root and became a thorn tree, which
blossomed every year as surely as the Feast of the Nativity came round.
The "Holy Grail" (the cup of blessing from the Last Supper), which
Joseph brought with him, he buried at the foot of Glastonbury Tor, and
from the place of its sepulchre gushed forth the Bloody Spring, which
may be duly inspected to this day. The pilgrims made more friends than
disciples, and the king, after a dilatory conversion, set apart for the
maintenance of the newcomers "twelve hides of land." Here the
evangelists possessed their souls in patience and built for worship a
little shrine of wattle and daub, which was many generations afterwards
found intact when fresh missionaries came to re-evangelise the
islanders. Round this _vetusta ecclesia_ gathered the subsequent
glories of the monastery. This long-cherished tradition enshrines
sufficient fact to justify Glastonbury's claim to be "the only tie
still abiding between the vanished Church of the Briton and the Church
of the Englishman." Its authentic history begins with its foundation as
a monastery by that ecclesiastically-minded layman, King Ina (688-726),
who built a church here and dedicated it to St Peter and St Paul.
Dunstan, himself a Glastonbury man, by the austerity of his conduct and
the vigour of his administration, made the fame of this early religious
house. With the coming of the Normans grander ideas prevailed. Abbots
Thurstan (A.D. 1082) and Herlewinus (1101-20) both projected buildings
of some pretensions, but Henry of Blois, brother of King Stephen, abbot
in 1126, was the first great builder. Henry's church was a fabric of
much magnificence, but it completely perished in a fire in 1184, and
Henry II., in one of his occasional fits of piety, charged himself with
its rebuilding, and entrusted the work to his chamberlain Ralph, who,
upon the site of Joseph's legendary shrine, erected the present
beautiful chapel of St Mary (_c._ 1186). With the death of the king the
work languished, for no funds were forthcoming from the empty pockets
of his "lion-hearted" successor; and it was not until 1303 that the
great church whose ruins still survive was finally dedicated. Even then
the fabric was not complete. It took two centuries to add the finishing
touches. Abbot Sodbury (1322-35) vaulted the nave, and it was left for
one of his successors, Walter Monington (1341-74), to fill in the
vaulting of the choir. Not content with the already considerable
dimensions of the church, Monington extended the chancel two bays
eastwards; and Abbot Bere (1493-1524) added another chapel, and propped
the tower by inverted arches. Characteristic traces of the respective
periods may still be observed. Until the Reformation the abbey had a
career of unrivalled influence and splendour. It yielded precedence
only to St Albans, and the abbot was said never to travel abroad with a
retinue of less than 100 retainers. Such wealth was not likely to elude
the comprehensive grasp of Henry VIII. Glastonbury was involved in the
general ruin of the monasteries. The fate of its last abbot, Richard
Whiting, is one of the tragic stories of the time. Though a "weak man
and ailing," he refused to surrender the property of his abbey. But
Thomas Cromwell had a "short way" with passive resisters. In his
private "remonstrances," amongst other jottings was found, "Item--The
Abbot of Glaston to be tried at Glaston, and also executed there." In
accordance with this pre-arranged programme Whiting was arraigned at
Wells, November 14, 1538, on a quite unsupported charge of treason, and
in the great hall of the palace sentenced to death. The next day he was
drawn on a hurdle to the tor, and there hanged, and his head fixed on
the abbey gateway. After this judicial murder the monastic property at
once fell to the Crown.
[Illustration: ST. JOSEPHS CHAPEL, GLASTONBURY]
The entrance to the ruins is through a gateway opposite the George
Hotel. The abbey cannot be seen from the street, but this obscure entry
conducts the visitor to the porter's lodge (entrance 6d.). The most
perfectly preserved portion of the buildings is the chapel of St Mary,
commonly known as _St Joseph's Chapel_. It stands on the site of St
Joseph's legendary shrine, and formed a kind of Galilee to the W.
entrance of the church. It is rectangular in plan, with a square turret
crowned by a pyramidal cap rising from each corner, only two of which
now remain. It is one of the most beautiful specimens of Trans. work in
England. The decoration is rich and abundant--"no possible ornament has
been omitted." Note (1) fine N. doorway (which should be compared with
the S. porch of Malmesbury), (2) arcading round interior face of wall,
(3) triplet at W. end, (4) remains of vaulting, (5) shallow external
buttresses. Beneath the now demolished flooring is a small crypt of
15th-cent. work. It was probably excavated to provide extra burial
accommodation. Observe on S. side a well within a round-headed recess.
The chapel originally stood apart from the great church, but was
eventually joined up to the larger building by a continuation of the
chapel walls. The extension is at once detected by the late character
of the work. Note change of arcading from Norm. to E.E., and the E.E.
entrance to the church. Of the latter very little now remains. There
still stand the piers of the chancel arch, portions of the walls of the
choir and nave aisles, and a little chapel which opened out of the N.
transept. But these remains, slight though they are, are sufficient to
indicate the general design of the church and its huge dimensions.
Though there is an evident attempt to keep up the character of the
ornamentation displayed in St Mary's chapel, the workmanship is much
later; and a still later development is noticeable in the two
easternmost bays of the choir, thrown out by Abbot Monington (1371-74).
Note (1) lancets of nave, pointed externally, rounded internally, (2)
pointed lancets of choir, (3) square abaci to pilasters of lancets (cp.
Wells), (4) traces of Dec. work in vaulting ribs of nave, (5) absence
of bench-table in Monington's additions, (6) fragment of Perp.
panelling on E. side of chancel arch. The general plan of the church
followed the arrangements of the great Benedictine abbeys, which were
all designed with a view to a stately ritual and imposing processions.
There was a lofty nave of ten bays, with corresponding aisles, a choir
of three bays, also with processional aisles (Monington's extension was
evidently intended to form a further path behind the high altar), and
N. and S. transepts, each with a pair of E. chapels. A large central
tower surmounted the whole, which, like that of Wells, is said to have
been braced internally with inverted arches. The cloisters abutted on
to the S. aisle of the church (note the higher sills of the windows),
and beyond these again were the cloister garth, the refectory,
dormitory, and domestic offices. The only remains of this part of the
monastery is the _Abbot's Kitchen_, with a contiguous fragment of the
almonry, and a portion of the great gateway of the monastery, now
incorporated in the "Red Lion" inn. The flowering thorn tree--a
descendant of Joseph's budding staff--should be noticed near the
porter's lodge. The _Abbot's Kitchen_ may be inspected at an extra
charge of 6d. (entrance in Magdalene Street, just below Museum). It is
a handsome stone building, now standing by itself in the middle of a
field, and not at all suggestive of culinary appointments. Externally
it is square at the base, but is crowned with an octagonal
superstructure carrying a pyramidal roof and lantern. Within, huge
fireplaces, once surmounted externally by chimneys, are set across the
four corners, making the interior altogether an octagon. On one face is
the effigy of a mitred abbot. The vaulted roof is supported by stone
ribs, and egress for the steam is cunningly contrived in the windows.
Its date is 1435-40. Another surviving remnant of monastic property
will be found in Bere Lane at the top of Chilk-wall Street. This is a
very fine cruciform barn similar to those at Doulting and Pilton, but
rather richer in detail. The windows are traceried, and have above them
figures of the four Evangelists, and ecclesiastical effigies stand as
finials on two of the gables.
The other objects of interest in Glastonbury are (1) the _George Inn_
in High Street opposite the abbey entrance--a fine 15th-cent. structure
(said to have been built by Abbot Selwood) which once served as the
pilgrims' hostelry; (2) the _Tribunal_--a few doors higher
up--probably the court-house where the abbey officials interviewed
their clients (observe escutcheon above doorway); (3) the almhouses and
chapel in Magdalene Street (entrance through Red Lion gateway, once
part of the main entrance of the monastery), founded by Abbot Bere in
1512 (note founder's rebus above gateway of court); (4) Market Cross, a
modern structure of good design standing on the site of an ancient
hexagonal cross; (5) museum in Magdalene Street, containing several
"finds" from the neighbouring lake village (see _Godney_); (6) the
churches of St John and St Benignus. The latter, in St Benedict Street,
has a well-designed tower, but is not otherwise noteworthy (observe
stoups in porch and Abbot Bere's rebus on parapet above porch). A flood
which in 1606 inundated the neighbourhood is said to have reached to
the foot of the tower. St John's Church in High Street, built by Abbot
Selwood in 1465, has, on the contrary, some pretensions to
magnificence. The tower especially is worthy of observation, as it is
considered by some to be amongst the finest in the county. This,
however, is an extravagant opinion. The arrangement of the windows
superficially resembles that at Chewton Mendip, those of the belfry
being reproduced in the stage below; but the lower pair are not an
exact repetition of the pair above. It will be noted that the string
courses are carried round the buttresses. The elaborate cresting is
rich but meretricious. The interior, Perp. throughout, is lofty and
spacious, but the general effect is spoilt by the timber supports which
are found necessary to shore up the chancel arch. Note externally (1)
bell-cot above chancel (cp. Wrington), (2) groined S. porch with
parvise above: internally (1) plain altar-tombs on either side of
sanctuary, (2) groined vault to tower, (3) at S.W. end the tomb, with
effigy, of one Camel, an abbey official (observe camels on panels
below), (4) finely carved stone pulpit, (5) wooden roof of nave, (6)
good E. window.
[Illustration: GLASTONBURY TOR]
A climb should be taken to the top of the _Tor_--500 ft. above
sea-level. The original chapel of St Michael was destroyed by a
landslide in 1271. The Perp. tower subsequently erected still remains,
though deprived of its upper storey. Note _bas-reliefs_ over doorway,
and tablet with figured eagle below parapet. A spring, called the
"Blood Spring," near the Tor is said to mark the spot where St Joseph
buried the Holy Grail. _Wirrall_, or _Weary All Hill_, near the
station, may also be scaled with advantage, if only for its traditional
associations. It was here that St Joseph landed, and his staff, taking
root, developed into the miraculous thorn tree. The tree, however, no
longer exists, for it was hewn in pieces by a Puritan soldier, who is
said to have cut off his leg in the process as a penalty for his
profanity. An offshoot of the parent thorn grows in the Abbey grounds.
_Goathurst_ is a village lying at the foot of the S.E. spur of the
Quantocks, 4-1/2 m. S.W. from Bridgwater. It has an old church, with a
heavy battlemented tower. The N. chapel contains a large monument with
the effigies of Sir Nicholas Halswell (d. 1633) and his wife,
surrounded by the kneeling figures of their nine children. The S.
chapel belongs to the Kemeys-Tyntes, and is decorated with numerous
coats-of-arms round the cornice. Note the piscina in the chancel. Near
the church is _Halswell House_ (C.T.H. Kemeys-Tynte), originally built
in the Tudor period, containing some fine carving by Grinling Gibbons,
and pictures by Salvator Rosa, Van Dyck, Ostade, Ruysdael, Reynolds,
_Godney_ (1-1/2 m. N.E. of Meare, 2 m. N. of Glastonbury) is famous for
the remains of a lake village which have been discovered here. The
village consisted of a number of dwellings, each built on a
substructure of timber and brushwood, resting upon the marsh which once
occupied the site, and held in position by small piles. Upon this base
was laid a floor of clay, in the centre of which was a circular stone
hearth (about 4 ft. in diameter); whilst the walls of the huts were
made of timber, wattles, and daub. As the floors and hearths gradually
sank in the yielding marsh, they had to be renewed from time to time;
so that several successive layers of them have been found, resting upon
one another. Round the collective huts which formed the village ran a
palisade of piles, the enclosure being irregular in shape. The articles
found in the village (many of which are in the Glastonbury Museum) show
that the inhabitants practised agriculture, spinning, and weaving, and
were acquainted with iron weapons. They are supposed to have been Celts
by race; and the period to which they are assigned falls between 300
B.C. and 100 A.D.
_Greinton_, a small parish on the S.W. flank of the Poldens (nearest
stat. Shapwick, 4 m.). The church has an embattled tower with pyramidal
top. The interesting features within are(1) carved bench-ends, dated
1621 (note lily on one); (2) two good wooden doors, N. and S.; (3)
piscina on sill of S. window in chancel.
_Hallatrow_, a hamlet in the parish of High Littleton, 11 m. S. from
Bristol, with a station on the Frome branch.
_Halse_, a pleasant village, 2 m. N.W. of Milverton. It has a small but
very interesting church, standing in a beautifully kept churchyard,
which commands a fine view of the Quantocks. Its choicest possession is
a very fine rood-screen: note the old beam above, and window. Other
features deserving attention are (1) glass in E. window, (2) curious
font, probably early Norm., (3) medallions in spandrels of arcade, (4)
piscina on window-sill of sanctuary, (5) painted mural device on S.
wall of nave, (6) fragments of carving in porch, (7) squint. The large
windows in the porch are somewhat unusual.
_Ham, High_, a village occupying a fine breezy situation on the top of
High Ham Hill, 4 m. N. from Langport. The church in its centre is a
handsome building, typically and consistently Perp. It contains a fair
roof, some panelled bench-ends, and a curious lectern, but its
principal ornament is a fine Perp. chancel-screen. Note (1) stoup in
porch, (2) the vigorously executed gargoyles, especially the pair over
the porch, a mediaeval presentation of Darby and Joan.
_Ham, Low_, a village 2 m. N. of Langport. The church, which stands in
the middle of a field, is something of a curiosity (call for keys at
farm opposite). It is an excellent example of 17th-cent. imitative
Gothic. Its builder was Sir R. Hext, whose political sentiments may be
inferred from the motto with which he has adorned the chancel-screen,
"My son, fear the Lord, and meddle not with them that are given to
change." At the end of the N. aisle are effigies of the founder and his
wife, and at the corresponding end of the S. aisle is a marble tablet
to the memory of Lord Stawell, who has, however, left his own memorial
outside. The perplexing series of terraces overlooking the church are
all that remains of a fantastic scheme of his to build a mansion which,
like his wife and horse, should be the most beautiful thing of its kind
in the world. But _L'homme propose_...; Lord Stawell never got any
further than these embankments.
_Hambridge_, a village equidistant from Langport and Ilminster (5 m.).
The church is modern.
_Hamdon Hill_. See _Stoke, East_.
_Hardington_, a hamlet 5 m. N.W. of Frome. The church is a small
building with a W. tower. In the neighbourhood is Hardington Park.
_Hardington-Mandeville_, a village 4-1/2 m. S.W. of Yeovil. The church
was rebuilt in 1864, but retains some ancient features, including a
good Norm. arch and font, and a Jacobean pulpit.
_Harptree, East_, a village on a spur of the Mendips, 6 m. N. from
Wells. It possesses the attractions of a castle, a cavern, and a combe.
The last is a thickly wooded glen near the top end of the village. On
an inaccessible tongue of land at the far end of the gorge are the
remains of _Richmont Castle_, one of those lawless strongholds which in
the days of Stephen were a terror to the country side. In 1138 it was
strongly garrisoned by its owner, William de Harptree, on behalf of the
Empress Matilda, but was taken by Stephen by the ruse of a feigned
repulse. Now, only a fragment of the keep overlooks the glen. Half a
mile beyond is a remarkable cavern, the _Lamb's Lair_, entered by a
vertical shaft of some 70 fathoms. The chamber is of very considerable
dimensions, and is said by those who have seen it to be quite the
finest cave in the Mendips. The church is not particularly noteworthy
except for the odd device of avoiding a squint by an extension of the
arcading. The walls, font, and S. doorway are Norm. The S. porch is of
unusual size and contains a monument which must be a standing reproach
to a declining birthrate. Under a large Elizabethan canopy is an effigy
of Sir J. Newton (1568), attended by twenty children. At the other end
of the village are two mansions, _Harptree Court_ and _Eastwood_.
_Harptree, West_, about 1 m. N. of East Harptree. The church has a
Norman tower with an ugly slated spire. The rest of the building has
been reconstructed, but contains a Norman chancel arch, a large Norman
font, and a good piscina. In the churchyard are seven large conical yew
trees. Opposite the church is _Gournay Manor_, a fine Jacobean house,
and near it is _Tilley Manor_, a 17th-cent. building, deprived of its
top storey. They are now farmhouses.
_Haselbury Plucknett_, a village 2-1/2 m. N.E. of Crewkerne. It has a
Perp. church with an E.E. N. chapel, which is associated with the
memory of St Wulfric, who, born at Compton Martin, resided here, and
died in 1154. The body of the Church has an old font. A priory of
Austin canons, dating from the 12th cent., once existed here.
_Hatch Beauchamp_, 6 m. S.E. from Taunton, is a village (with station)
situated in very picturesque surroundings. The church (best reached
through the deer park) has a good tower, crowned with numerous
pinnacles. Note (1) the foliaged bands round the pillars of the arcade;
(2) the excellent bench-ends; (3) the fragments of old glass in the
windows of the N. aisle; (4) the large picture, a "Descent from the
Cross," by Perriss; (5) the window in the chancel to the memory of
Colonel J.R.M. Chard, of Rorke's Drift fame, with a wreath preserved
beneath it sent by Queen Victoria. The obelisk near the S. door is said
to have once been the churchyard cross.
_Hatch, West_, a village 1-1/2 m. W. of Hatch Beauchamp. The church has
been entirely rebuilt (1861).
_Hawkridge_, a parish 5 m. N.W. of Dulverton Station, consisting merely
of a cluster of cottages and a tiny church. It is perched on the top of
a ridge of high ground separating the Barle from its tributary stream
the Danes Brook. The valleys on either side are beautifully wooded, and
exhibit some of the most romantic scenery in Somerset. The church has a
plain Norm. doorway.
_Heathfield_, a parish 2-1/2 m. E. of Milverton. Its church is small,
and the only objects of interest which it contains are (1) a mural
monument on the N. of the chancel, with kneeling figures, of the 16th
cent.; (2) a carved oak pulpit (said to be reconstructed from ancient
materials). There is the shaft of an ancient cross in the graveyard,
with a mutilated figure.
_Hemington_, a village lying at the end of a wide vale, 3 m. E.S.E.
from Radstock. The church has a few features in common with the
neighbouring church of Buckland Denham, viz., (1) peculiar arrangement
of windows in tower, (2) clerestory to nave, though the building
possesses only one aisle. The interior shows (_a_) some good Dec. work
in windows, some of which have foliated rear arches, with detached
shaft; (_b_) plain Norm. chancel arch. Observe also (1) piscina on the
respond of the chancel arcade, (2) the central pier of the arcade (it
is surrounded by four detached shafts). On the hill above the village,
standing by the side of the Trowbridge road, is a square tower of as
much beauty as utility, locally known as "Turner's Folly." The "green"
of the neighbouring hamlet of Falkland retains its ancient stocks.
_Henstridge_, a large village 7 m. S. of Wincanton, with a station on
the S. & D.J.R. The church has been rebuilt (except the tower and part
of the N. and W. walls), but contains some ancient features. There is a
15th-cent. altar-tomb in the chancel under a carved and coloured
canopy, with two effigies. These represent William Carent (who
inherited the property of two wealthy families, the Carents and the
Toomers), and his wife Margaret (_nee_ Stourton). The arms that adorn
the tomb are those of Carent and Stourton. The rhyming inscription
round the arch of the canopy is, _Sis testis Xte quod non tumulus iacet
iste corpus ut ornetur, sed spiritus ut memoretur_. There is also an
elaborately carved niche or tabernacle in the N.E. angle of the N. (or
Toomer) aisle. Note, too, (1) decorated piscina, (2) remains of figures
over the entrance to the N. chapel. The "Virginia Inn" at the
cross-road is said to be the spot where Sir Walter Raleigh's servant
emptied a stoup of beer over his master, who was smoking, in the belief
that he was on fire. At Yeaston, a hamlet between Henstridge and
Templecombe, there once existed a Benedictine priory, attached to an
abbey of that Order at Coutances (Normandy). A field is still said to
bear the name of the Priory Plot.
HIGHBRIDGE, a growing little town on the Brue, 1-1/2 m. S.E. from
Burnham. It has two stations, one on the G.W.R. main line to Taunton,
the other on the S. & D. Burnham branch. It possesses a town-hall, a
cattle market, and other evidences of prosperity. Brick and tile making
are carried on in the locality, and a large bacon factory and a
timber-yard are amongst its more important commercial undertakings. As
the river is navigable up to this point for small craft it also
encourages a coasting trade. Of antiquarian interest it has none. The
church is as modern as the town.
_Hill Farrance_, 3-1/2 m. N.E. of Wellington, is a village on the Tone.
Its church (ded. to the Holy Cross) has a massive-looking tower, with
an open-work parapet, bearing the initials I.P. It contains sedilia and
a piscina, and some carved bench ends. On the S. of the building is a
mortuary chapel (14th cent.) of one of the De Vernais (once lords of
the manor), which at the restoration of the church in 1857 was given to
_Hinton Blewitt_, a small and secluded village, 4 m. S.W. from Clutton.
The church is Perp., with a fair W. tower. It possesses a stoup and a
rather poor piscina. The village, which is on the slope of a hill,
commands a pleasant view of the Mendips.
_Hinton Charterhouse_, a small village 6 m. S. of Bath, on the more
easterly of the alternative roads from the city to Frome. Its sole
attraction consists in a few fragments of a once considerable
Carthusian priory. About 1/2 m. N. of the village, in the corner of a
field near the main road, is what looks like a low gabled church tower,
with a small E.E. chancel and some other out-buildings. These remnants
are all that survive of a house founded here in 1232 by the widow of
William Longsword, for the accommodation of a settlement of
Carthusians; and it is worth noticing that of the Carthusian houses in
England, which never numbered more than nine, Somerset had two. The
ruins, which are very meagre, consist of two groups of buildings. (1)
One is a three-storeyed structure, containing on basement a vaulted,
chapel-like chamber, lighted by side lancets and a terminal triplet,
and possessing a large piscina and an aumbry. This is generally but
quite erroneously described as the "chapter-house." It may have been
the fratry. On the first floor is another vaulted chamber, supposed to
have been the library. It communicated at the end with a pigeon-cote,
and is reached by a good stone staircase, which also gives access to a
loft above. On the L. of the passage leading to the library will also
be noticed a small room lighted by a square-headed window. (2) The
second, in the stable-yard of the adjoining manor house, is the
refectory, a good, vaulted apartment, with a row of octagonal columns
down the centre. At the W. end it opens into the kitchen, in which will
be discovered a fireplace. Of the priory church, which abutted on the
N. wall of the so-called "chapter house," nothing is left but a single
trefoiled piscina and one of the vaulting shafts. The buildings have
evidently been freely used as a quarry for the erection of the
neighbouring manor house. In a dingle in the adjoining field is a
stone-faced, pointed archway, tunnelling the road. The parish church is
an unattractive, ivy-clad building near the village. _Hinton House_
(J.C. Foxcroft) is a modern mansion, with a fine open green in front of
_Hinton St George_, a clean and attractive village equidistant (4 m.)
from Crewkerne and Ilminster. It possesses a very fine cross, having on
one face a representation of St John Baptist, which was originally
flanked by smaller figures. The shaft has been barbarously crowned with
a sundial and large ball. The church has a dignified tower with
numerous pinnacles, and a pierced, embattled parapet. The W. front has
a single large window which breaks the string course (cp. Shepton
Beauchamp and Norton-sub-Hamdon). The S. porch has a ribbed and
panelled roof and numerous niches. The interior of the church is not
very interesting, apart from the tombs and monuments of the Pouletts,
dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Most are in a large N. chapel,
but there is one between the chapel and the chancel, and another in
front of the family pew. The font is carved with shields bearing
alternately a cross and the Poulett arms. There is a piscina in the
chancel. _Hinton House_, the mansion of Countess Poulett, in the
neighbouring park, has portions dating from the time of the first Sir
Amyas Poulett (d. 1537), but the rest is later. It has a fine
collection of pictures.
_Holcombe_, a colliery village 3-1/2 m. S. of Radstock. It has a small
modern church; but an old church, now disused, lies in a dingle in some
fields a mile away from the village. This possesses a good Norm. S.
doorway, with a curious inverted inscription scratched on one of the
capitals. The careless rebuilding of the columns shows that it is not
in its original position.
_Holford_, a village 6 m. E. from Williton, at the foot of the
Quantocks. Its church is picturesquely situated; in the graveyard is an
old cross with a mutilated figure on the shaft. Past the church, two
pleasant combes may be reached, Tannery Combe and Hodder's Combe (the
latter is perhaps a corruption of the name of Odda, the Earl of Devon
who aided Alfred, see p. 201). The hill between them bears the name of
_Hare Kanp_, possibly preserving the memory of the Saxon armies that
once marched along the trackway that crosses it (M.E. and A.S. _here_,
an army). Near Holford is _Alfoxden_, the residence of Wordsworth in
1797, when Coleridge was at Nether Stowey.
[Illustration: ALFOXDEN HOUSE, NEAR HOLFORD]
_Holton_, a village 2-1/2 m. S.W. of Wincanton. Its church is small and
contains a stone 15th-cent. pulpit and a Norm. font. On the S. porch is
an old sundial, and in the churchyard the base of a cross.
_Holms, The Flat and Steep_, two islands in the Bristol Channel,
forming familiar objects to all visitors to the Somerset sea-board.
Geologically they belong to the county, for they are the last expiring
protest of the Mendip chain against its final submergence in the sea.
The Steep Holm, the nearer and more conspicuous of the two islets, 5 m.
from the coast, is little better than a barren rock rearing its huge
bulk precipitously, nearly 300 ft. above the waves. It is almost
inaccessible, but has perhaps for this reason occasionally afforded an
asylum to refugees from the mainland, although the statement that
Gildas found security in this retreat appears to be an error. There
still remain some fragments of a priory. The Flat Holm, 2 m. farther
off, though of about the same circumference (1-1/2 m.), is a far less
imposing object in the sea-scape, but is more amenable to the
influences of civilisation. It is occupied by a lighthouse and a farm,
and is sometimes made the excuse for a channel trip by visitors from
the neighbouring watering-places, as it affords amongst other
attractions some facilities for bathing.
_Hornblotton_, a parish 3 m. N.W. of Castle Cary Station. The church,
which stands about a mile from the Fosse Way to Ilchester, is modern,
but the tower of the old church is left standing, and a piscina has
been removed from it to the new building.
[Illustration: HORNER WOODS AND PORLOCK VALE]
_Horner Valley_, one of the many charming walks which abound in the
neighbourhood of Porlock. Follow the Minehead road for about a mile and
then strike up the banks of the Horner Water by a lane on the R. On the
way will be noticed spanning the stream a quaint pack-horse bridge
beloved of photographers (cp. Allerford). At Horner village the road
winds round to Luccombe, but a broad path follows the course of the
Horner and leads up through the woods. The scenery is comparable with
that of the E. Lynn. It is a delightful combination of wood, mountain,
and rill, and is everywhere full of charm. The Horner Water descends
from the moors and babbles its way through the valley to the sea. It
receives on the right a contributary rill which flows through a combe
that rivals the main valley in romantic beauty. The second plank-bridge
across the water will lead up a very steep footpath to Cloutsham.
_Horrington, East and West_, two contiguous villages on the S. slope of
the Mendips, 2 m. E. from Wells, and overlooking the city. At E.
Horrington there is a small modern church (1838).
_Horsington_, a largish village 1 m. N. of Templecombe. The church is
spacious and has been rebuilt (1884-85), with the exception of the
tower. It contains a 15th-cent. octagonal font with, rudely carved
figures of angels at the angles. Near the church is a cross (said to be
13th cent.) with the canopied figure of an ecclesiastic on the shaft.
_Huish Champflower_, a village 3-1/2 m. N.W. from Wiveliscombe. The
church is one of the few Dec. churches in the county, but not a pure
example of the style, as the tower and window tracery are Perp. There
is a good arcade of clustered columns with foliated capitals dividing
the nave from the N. aisle. The window at the E. end of the aisle
should also be observed, as the tracery is particularly good, and it
retains some of its original glass. There is a barrow in the
neighbourhood which has recently been excavated.
_Huish Episcopi_ is a parish situated E. of Langport, the two churches
being less than half a mile apart. It is famed for its beautiful tower,
which, however, is perhaps a little over-praised, for the crown of
pinnacles, graceful in itself, does not seem to spring naturally from
the summit, but to be super-imposed upon it. The belfry storey has
double windows, and each stage is divided from the one below by bands
of quatrefoils which produce rather a formal effect. The S. door is
late Norm., its red colour being due to fire; in the upper corner of
the porch traces of stone stairs are visible. Some Dec. windows remain
in the chancel, but the majority are Perp.: the glass at the E. end of
the S. aisle is by Sir E. Burne-Jones. Note (1) the stoup near S. door;
(2) the piscina in the chancel; (3) the squint in the S. pier of the
chancel; (4) the Jacobean pulpit (dated 1625).
_Huntspill_, a parish 1-1/2 m. S.S.W. from Highbridge, supposed to
derive its name from Hun, a Somerset ealdorman in the reign of Egbert.
It has a very handsome church which has been rebuilt since it was
destroyed by fire in 1878. The pillars of the arcade still show traces
of the flames. The tower is good, with bold buttresses. The church
contains the effigies of a knight in armour and his lady, within a
recess in the S. wall. Note (1) stoup in S. porch; (2) piscina in S.
chapel; (3) fine black oak pulpit.
_Hutton_, a small village 3-1/2 m. S.E. of Weston-super-Mare. It lies
at the base of Bleadon Hill, and may be approached from Weston either
through Uphill or by a path that leaves the Worle road. Its small but
picturesque church has a good tower of three stages and preserves an
excellent stone pulpit, reached by a recess in the wall (which once led
to the rood loft), and two brasses to members of the Payne family (one
will be found immediately in front of the altar, the other in a recess
in the N. wall of the chancel). _Hutton Court_, which is close by, is a
15th-cent. building much altered.
ILCHESTER, a small, decayed town on the Ivel, 4-1/2 m. N.E. of Martock,
which was formerly of considerable importance. Its name recalls the
fact that it was a Roman station, and upon it several Roman roads
converge. It was besieged in the strife between William Rufus and his
brother Robert; and it was fortified in the Great Civil War. It once
had a nunnery, and it was the birthplace of Roger Bacon, who was born
here in 1214. But apart from its historic associations it has little
now to attract attention, its only noteworthy building being its church
(the last remaining of five). This has a short tower which is octagonal
throughout and does not rest, like others elsewhere, upon a square
base. Some Roman bricks seem to be among the materials of which it is
constructed, and there are a few old pieces of carving built into the
walls. The oldest parts of the building appear to date from E.E. times,
but it has undergone a good deal of restoration. Note (1) the E. window
(three lancets under a hood moulding); (2) niches; (3) squint. There is
a market cross, consisting of a cylindrical pillar supporting a sundial
(cp. Martock). Though Ilchester is not now a borough, it was so once,
and a very curious macehead (13th cent.) is still preserved.
_Ile (or Isle) Abbots_, a village 3-1/2 m. E. of Hatch Station. It gets
its name from its position on the little river Ile (or Isle) and its
former connection with Muchelney Abbey. It possesses an interesting
church with a fine tower, having double windows in the belfry and
numerous niches, which for the most part retain their statuary. The S.
porch has fair groining with a central pendant, and there are some
beautiful pierced parapets. The windows are of various dates--E.E.,
Dec., and Perp. Note in the chancel (1) low side-window (cp. Bleadon,
Othery), (2) piscina, surrounded by panelling, (3) triple sedilia. The
font, rudely carved, is Norm. The arcade piers are encircled with the
_Ile (or Isle) Brewers_ (the latter half of the name a corruption of
_De Bruyere_, the family that once owned the manor) is a parish 5 m. E.
of Hatch Station. The church has been rebuilt (1861), and the tower (on
the S.) is surmounted by a spire. Within is a Norm. font.
_Ilminster_, a small market town (with station) on the Ile, is a place
of great antiquity but of little present importance, though it has some
lace, shirt, and collar manufactories. It was attached to the Abbey of
Muchelney until the dissolution of the monasteries. It possesses a
noble church, the fine central tower having triple windows in double
tier (cp. Mells and Leigh), and being surmounted by clustered
pinnacles, whilst the vault is beautifully groined. The S. porch and
the transepts are also excellently designed, these parts of the
structure having been built by Sir William Wadham (15th cent.). The
nave (rebuilt in 1824) is much inferior. Note (1) large ribbed squints;
(2) font (probably once attached to a pillar); (3) vestry behind the E.
window (cp. N. Petherton, Kingsbury, Langport, and Porlock); (4)
piscinas in transepts; (5) grotesque corbels. In the N. transept are
the tombs and brasses of (1) Sir William Wadham (d. 1425) and his wife;
(2) Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham (1609 and 1618), the founders of Wadham
College, Oxford. In the S. transept is a monument to Humfrey Walrond
(d. 1580). The communion plate includes two Elizabethan chalices. The
only other building in the town of any interest is the Grammar School,
N. of the church. It bears a motto and the date 1586, and owes its
origin to Humfrey Walrond. It is now a girls' school, the boys having
been transferred to new buildings (reached from the street S. of the
_Ilton_, a village on the Ile, 2 m. N. of Ilminster. It has a church of
some interest. The windows are partly Dec. and partly Perp., and the
tower is on the S. Note (1) piscinas in chancel and chapel; (2) brass
of Nicholas Wadham (d. 1508); (3) effigy of "Joan," wife of another
Nicholas Wadham (d. 1557).
_Keinton-Mandeville_, a large village 4 m. E.N.E. of Somerton, lying
for the most part along the Castle Cary road, with a station on the
Castle Cary and Langport loop-line. The church is in a field at the S.
extremity of the village. The nave was rebuilt in 1800, but the chancel
retains some indication of its E.E. origin, and the old Norm. font is
still preserved. The village was the birthplace of Sir Henry Irving,
whose real name was Brodribb.
_Kelston_, a parish 4 m. N.W. of Bath. The church, which is reached by
a lane to the left, has been rebuilt, with the exception of the tower
and N. porch. The latter has on its left jamb a very small carving of
the Crucifixion. Within note (1) in the chancel some interlaced work on
the N. and a piscina on the S.; (2) in the E. corner of the S. aisle a
musical epitaph; (3) in one of the N. windows of the nave some
fragments of ancient glass (the figure is said to be that of St
Barbara: cp. Cucklington).
_Kenn_, on the R. of the road between Yatton and Clevedon, was the
original home of Bishop Ken's family. The church retains its ancient
tower, which has a curious cap. The nave has been rebuilt, but contains
a quaint monument on the interior wall of the tower to Christopher Ken
(d. 1593), and a mural tablet to Sir Nicholas Staling, "Gentleman
Usher" to Queen Elizabeth and King James I. (d. 1605).
_Kewstoke_, a village 2 m. N.E. of Weston-super-Mare. It is best
reached by a delightful road through the woods on the seaward side of
Worle Hill. Its picturesque church is interesting, and, like so many
others, illustrates successive styles of architecture. The S. door is
Norm.; there is an E.E. lancet in the chancel, and the font perhaps
belongs to the same period; the E. window and some windows on the N.
side of the church are Dec. (with foliated rear arches); whilst the
tower and the clerestory (which is rarely found where there are no
aisles) belong to the Perp. period. Note (1) the fine stone 15th cent.
pulpit, a not uncommon feature in the neighbourhood (cp. Worle, Hutton,
Locking, Loxton, Banwell); (2) arch with quaint finial at entrance to
rood-loft stair; (3) old glass in S. chapel. In 1852 a small carved
figure, built into the N. wall of the church, was found to conceal, in
a recess at the back of it, a broken wooden cup, stained with human
blood, supposed to be that of St Thomas a Becket, and to have been
brought from Worspring Priory. It is now in Taunton Museum. Opposite
the church door is a series of steps leading up the hill, called _St
Kew's Steps_, the origin of which is unknown. On the top of the hill is
the village of _Milton_, with a modern church.
KEYNSHAM, a small town on the Chew near its confluence with the Avon.
It has a station on the G.W. main line to Bristol. Pop. nearly 3000. It
is a long straggling sort of place of not very lively appearance,
resembling an overgrown village. Its history is rather romantic than
reliable. Its patron saint, S. Keyne, a Welsh lady of exceptional
sanctity, dwelt in a neighbouring wood much infested with serpents. The
reptiles, not usually susceptible to the voice of the charmer, were at
her intercession turned into stone--a fact to which the ammonites in
the local quarry bear witness. St Keyne's name occurs also at
Kentisford, near Watchet. Later, the town acquired a borrowed lustre
from its association with one of the greater religious houses. In 1170
William of Gloster founded here on a magnificent scale a monastery of
Austin Canons. This glory has now departed. The Reformation and the
Bridges family between them made a clean sweep of everything. The abbey
was used as a quarry for building the family mansion, which has by the
irony of fate likewise disappeared. Monastic odds and ends may be
discovered here and there worked into houses and garden walls. A
gateway on the R. of lane leading to station is made up of such
fragments. A heap of debris to the E. of the church indicates the
whereabouts of the original buildings. The church is a spacious rather
than an inspiring edifice. A massive W. tower was built in 1634 to
replace a tower which stood at the E. end of the N. aisle, and was
destroyed by a thunderstorm. The chancel is the most interesting part
of the building, and should be examined externally where the original
E.E. lancets are visible. Within, it has been converted into a kind of
mausoleum for the Bridges family, some of whom are represented in
effigy. Note the round-headed double piscina in sanctuary. The S. aisle
is Dec., and contains a fine Perp. screen. The Caroline screen dividing
the S. chapel from chancel should also be observed. The window tracery
throughout the church is crude. A row of alms-houses near the Wingrove
Hotel were founded by Sir T. Bridges. A Roman tessellated pavement was
discovered in making the railway cutting, and was removed to Bristol.
_Kilmersdon_, a village 2 m. S. from Radstock. It lies prettily in a
hollow at the foot of Ammerdown Park. The church is a 15th cent. Perp.
building with a lofty W. tower which forms a graceful object in the
vale. The nave within and without bears traces of Norm. work. Note
corbels and scale work on S. external wall, and in the interior the
small Norm. window. In Perp. times the walls were raised, the old
corbel-table being left in its original position. The triple panelling
to the tower arch and the reduplication of the chancel arch is a little
peculiar. A triangular lychgate of unusual design has lately been added
to the churchyard. There is an Elizabethan communion cup dated 1566.
_Ammerdown House_ (Ld. Hylton) stands amongst the trees on the
hill-side behind the village. It is an Italian mansion, designed by
Wyatt. The summit of the hill above is crowned by a graceful memorial
column with a glittering lantern. As the hill is 800 feet high, it is a
_Kilton_ is a parish 7 m. E.N.E. of Williton. Its church has been
rebuilt, but retains a good Perp. font, and some small brasses on the
S. wall of the chancel. Two communion chalices belonging to the church
date from 1514 and 1572 respectively. Nearer the coast is _Lilstock_
church, of which only the chancel remains, serving as a mortuary
_Kilve_, a village on the Channel, 5 m. E.N.E. of Williton, has had its
name enshrined in the verse of both Southey and Wordsworth. From the
shore some pretty coast views are obtainable. Its church retains its
stoup, piscina, and ancient font, and there is some 15th cent. woodwork
near the entrance to the tower. Close to the church are the remains of
a chantry. Though many of the walls are still standing, it is rather
difficult to trace the plan.
_Kingsbury Episcopi_, 2-1/2 m. N.W. of Martock, is a village wearing an
air of antiquity, and possessing a fine church. The church tower, with
double belfry windows, closely resembles that of its neighbour at Huish
Episcopi. It is inferior in its buttresses and mouldings, but has a
better W. window. The elaborate crown produces a more top-heavy effect
than at Huish. The niches which adorn the tower are noticeable for
retaining in many cases their figures, which are seated (cp. Ile
Abbots). The tower arch is finely panelled with niches on the E. face,
and there is a clerestory (note the angel corbels below the roof). The
piers of the chancel and transeptal arches are ornamented with foliage,
and the chancel windows are large, with traceried transoms. Note (1)
the screen; (2) the fragments of ancient glass in the N. transept; (3)
the piscina in the S. chapel; (4) the sacristy below the E. window (as
at N. Petherton and Langport); (5) the small crucifix over the S. porch
(which originally had a parvise).
_Kingsdon_, a village 2-1/2 m. S.S.E. of Somerton. Its church, in the
main Perp., has a plain embattled tower and some Dec. windows. The S.
porch has niches for images and a stoup; there are piscinas in the
chancel and the N. transept, and in the same transept the effigy of a
crusader, believed to be one Guy Bryan. On the road between Ilchester
and Somerton, which passes over the hill below which the church is
situated, a fine view may be obtained, embracing the Quantocks, the
Blackdowns, and part of the Mendips.
_Kingston St Mary_, a village 3 m. N. of Taunton. Its church, prettily
situated on rising ground, has a fine W. tower, crowned with numerous
pinnacles and a turret spirelet. On three sides are canopied niches,
the upper ones supported on cherubs or angels. The arcade of the nave
is Trans. or E.E., that of the chancel Perp., the junction being rather
clumsily effected. There is no chancel arch. The S. porch has a fine
groined roof, with niches and holy-water stoup. Note (1) the carved
seat-ends (one having the date 1522); (2) the large tomb (_temp._
Edward III.) in the S. aisle belonging to the Warres; (3) black-letter
Bible (1617) and Bishop Jewel's works (chained). The neighbouring
mansion of _Hestercombe_, once the possession of the Warres, but now
belonging to the Portmans, is said to preserve a sword taken by one of
the Warres from King John of France at Poitiers.
_Kingston Seymour_ is a village about 2 m. W. of Yatton, with a halt on
the Clevedon and Weston light railway. Its church has a tower
surmounted by a spire: the parapet, which is of an unusual character,
rises from the base of the latter. The S. aisle has an exceptionally
large squint, and a piscina; and the churchyard contains the base and
shaft of an old cross. The parish on more than one occasion has
suffered from destructive inundations of the sea.
_Kingstone_, a small village 1 m. S.E. of Ilminster. The church is
Perp., with a good central tower. The windows contain some fragments of
ancient glass. The shape of the font is curious.
_Kingweston_ (said to be a corruption of Kenwardston) is a parish 3 m.
N.E. of Somerton. Its church has been rebuilt (1855), and its octagonal
tower is crowned with a tall spire. The doorway and font of an earlier
Norm. church are still preserved, and in the chancel is an E.E.
piscina. The churchyard has the base and shaft of a cross.
_Kittisford_, a lonely parish 4 m. N.W. of Wellington, near the Tone.
The church has been restored, but retains a piscina and a pulpit of
1610. In the parish is an old manor-house called Cothay, of Tudor date.
_Knowle St Giles_, a small hamlet on a hillside, 2-1/2 m. N.E. of
Chard. The church has been rebuilt.
_Lambrook, East_, 2-1/2 m. S. by W. of Martock, is a hamlet belonging
to Kingsbury Episcopi, with a small towerless church. It has a Dec. E.
window with a foliated interior arch, a niche for a small piscina, and
two heads inserted in the walls (perhaps originally for the Lenten
veil). There are some remains of an old house at the post-office which
are worth observing.
_Lamyatt_, a parish on the slope of Creech Hill, 2 m. N.W. from Bruton.
The little church has a low tower, with a pyramidal top. Note the two
ancient corbel heads built into its W. front. Within there is a Norm.
font with cable moulding. The roof has tie beams with Perp. open-work
_Langford Budville_ (or _Botteville_), a parish 2-1/2 m. N.W. of
Wellington. Its church has a battlemented tower, with a turret on the
S. (cp. Wellington). The columns of the S. arcade, which have circlets
of foliage in place of capitals, deserve notice. On one of them is
carved a needle and thread, which has been conjectured to be connected
with some benefaction to the church by a member of Queen's College,
Oxford, where a ceremony is observed in which a needle and thread
(_aiguille et fil_) figures in memory of Queen Philippa. In this aisle
is a holy-water stoup. The N. aisle is modern.
[Illustration: THE HANGING CHAPEL, LANGPORT]
LANGPORT, a very small town on the Parrett, with two stations on the
G.W.R. It is built along a ridge rising above the level of the
surrounding marsh lands, and is an unattractive little place, but has
seen some history (it was the scene of a defeat of the Royalists in the
Civil War), and possesses an interesting church. The tower (embattled
and pinnacled) has three windows in the belfry storey, but is inferior
to many of its class, and should be compared with Long Sutton. The
chancel has unusually large Perp. windows, with traceried transoms; and
the E. window is remarkable for its ancient glass (representing ten
saints). The W. window has modern stained glass in memory of Bagehot,
the historian, who was born here. Among other features deserving notice
are (1) the squint in the N. pier of the chancel arch; (2) the niches
on the corresponding S. pier; (3) the piscina on the centre pier of the
S. chapel; (4) the sacristy behind and below the E. window (as at N.
Petherton, Kingsbury and Porlock); (5) the very curious carving in the
S. porch (now used as a vestry). A little way E. of the church there is
a curious little chapel (Perp.), which is built above an archway that
spans the road. It is known as the _Hanging Chapel_ (from its
position), and was once used as a grammar school.
_Langridge_, a small parish 4 m. N.W. of Bath, situated in a deep
hollow. Its church is remarkably small (50 ft. by 18 ft.), and contains
several features of interest. The doorway is Norm., and so is the
chancel arch. The latter, which has been restored, is exceptionally
narrow, and has above it a piece of sculpture representing the Virgin
and child. Note besides, (1) the stoup; (2) effigy of a lady; (3)
brasses of Robert Walsh (d. 1427) and his wife (the Walshes owned the
manor in the 14th and 15th cents.); (4) font (E.E.); (5) Jacobean
_Laverton_, a small village 4-1/2 m. N. from Frome. The church is a
small 13th cent. building, with a saddleback tower.
_Leigh on Mendip_ (pronounced Lye), a bleakly situated village on the
E. Mendips, 6 m. W.S.W. from Frome. It possesses a small Perp. church
with a mean chancel, but set off by the compensating attraction of a
remarkably noble W. tower, which well merits attention. It is of the
reduplicated triple window type (cp. Mells) with a finely pierced
parapet and profusely ornamented with pinnacles, but out of all
proportion to the church. The latter contains (1) a pillar stoup in the
porch; (2) a Norm, font; (3) some old oak benches; (4) fine granite
altar slab, found buried for safety's sake; (5) two small corbels in
the chancel, presumably for supporting a Lenten veil (cp.
Orchardleigh); (6) piscinas in chancel and S. aisle.
_Leigh Woods_, the hanging woods which cover the W. bank of the Avon,
near Clifton. They form a fine foil to the open downs opposite. To
enter them cross the Suspension Bridge into Somerset, take first
turning to R., cross the intervening combe, which runs up from the
river, by the first available footpath, and then wander at your will.
Hidden away amongst the trees are the remains of a rampart, _Stoke
Leigh Camp_, one of twin fortifications. The other, _Burgh Walls_, on
the Bristol side of the combe, was destroyed to make room for the
present villas. A British trackway, communicating with Cadbury Camp, is
said to have here crossed the river by a ford. From the edge of the
cliff delightful glimpses may be obtained of the bridge and gorge.
_Leighland_, a hamlet 5 m. S.W. of Williton. The church, originally a
chapelry belonging to Cleeve Abbey, was rebuilt in 1862. The
neighbouring Brendon Hills were once extensively mined for iron.
_Limington_, a village 1 m. E. of Ilchester. It is interesting as being
the first living held by Cardinal Wolsey (cp. p. 31); and its church
has some features that deserve notice. Chief among them is the N.
chapel (with ribbed roof) which was founded as a chantry in 1329 by Sir
Richard Gyvernay, and contains several effigies. One, a knight in full
armour, under a Dec. recess, is probably Sir Richard himself, with his
lady beside him on a separate slab. A second knight (with bared head)
reposes with his lady on an altar-tomb by the W. wall; this is supposed
to be Sir Gilbert Gyvernay, father of Sir Richard. There is a piscina
in the chapel and another in the chancel. Note (1) the carved ends of
the choir stalls, with the arms of Lord Harington, killed at Wakefield
1460; (2) the grotesque corbels supporting the tower arch.
_Littleton, High_, a large village 10 m. S.W. of Bath, on the road to
Wells (station, Hallatrow). The church has been more than once rebuilt,
and contains nothing of interest but some mural tablets (15th cent.) to
the Hodges family.
_Litton_, a village in a dale, 4 m. S.W. from Hallatrow Station. The
church is late 15th cent. Perp. of rather poor workmanship. The chancel
is out of centre with the nave, necessitating a large hagioscope on N.
An ungainly modern N. aisle needlessly emphasises this lop-sidedness.
The chancel contains a good piscina. In the neighbourhood is a large
reservoir in connection with the Bristol water-works.
_Locking_, a parish 3 m. S.E. of Weston-super-Mare, but most easily
reached from Worle Station, 1-1/2 m. away. The church was rebuilt in
1863, and its earlier features obliterated, with the exception of the
Perp. tower. It contains, however, a very interesting old square font
of Transitional date, with quaint figures at the angles, and a carved
stone pulpit (cp. the neighbouring churches of Loxton, Worle, Hutton,
Wick St Lawrence).
_Long Load_, a parish 2 m. N. of Martock, with a modern church built on
the site of an old chapelry or chantry.
_Lopen_, a parish 4 m. N.W. of Crewkerne, is noteworthy as being the
place where Cardinal Wolsey, when holding the cure of Limington, is
said to have been put in the stocks by Sir Amyas Poulett. The church
(Perp.) is ancient, but it has been restored and enlarged, and is of
_Lovington_, a parish 3 m. N. of Sparkford. Its church has unusually
prominent buttresses to the tower, and preserves (1) remains of stoup
in S. porch; (2) piscinas in S. nave wall and chancel; (3) aumbry; (4)
poppy heads to seats. The churchyard contains some old stocks.
_Loxton_, a village 3 m. S.W. of Sandford Station, facing Crook's Peak.
It has an interesting church, which is not easily observed from the
road, as it is reached by a lane. It has a short tower (said to be
Norman) on the S. side, the lower part forming a porch: in this is a
curious squint. Within note (1) the fine Perp. pulpit, carved from a
single block of stone: (2) a good screen; (3) the piscina in the
vestry, showing that it was formerly a chapel; (4) some old glass.
[Illustration: LUCCOMBE VILLAGE]
_Luccombe_, a village at the foot of Dunkery, 2 m. S.E. from Porlock.
Its name ("the enclosed combe") is aptly descriptive of its situation,
for it is effectually screened from observation. A mountain brook and
some fine timber give the place a pretty air of rusticity. It has a
good church and some interesting old cottages--note the projecting
ovens and the curiously small windows that light some of the chimney
corners. The church has a Perp. W. tower, with nave and S. aisle.
Within is an altar tomb on S. and on N. a monument to Rector Byam
(1669), one of the fighting cavalier parsons who came by their own
again at the Restoration. Note (1) E.E. lancets to sanctuary; (2)
piscinas in sanctuary and S. aisle; (3) occasional "Devonshire"
capitals to pillars; (4) rood-loft stair, as at Porlock; (5) faces on
bosses of roof (cp. Selworthy); (6) fragment of stoup in porch. In the
churchyard are some fine cypresses, and the remains of a cross.
_Lufton_, a small parish 3 m. W. of Yeovil. The church has been
rebuilt, but preserves its Norman font (with cable moulding), and a
holy-water stoup (within the S. door).
_Lullington_, an obscurely situated village, 3 m. N. from Frome. It
should certainly be visited by anyone in the neighbourhood, as the
church is of exceptional antiquarian interest and contains one of the
finest Norm, doorways in the county. It is a small building having a
low central tower without transepts. A small S. chantry projects from
the nave. Features to be noted are: (1) the Norm, doorway mentioned
above, a little to the right of main entrance. The capitals are richly
carved, and support an arch ornamented with deeply cut chevron and
grotesque bird's beak mouldings. The tympanum bears in relief the
curious device of some winged creatures devouring a tree. Above is a
roundheaded niche containing the figure of our Lord, with hand uplifted
in blessing. (2) Tub-shaped Norm. font, bearing inscription, _Hoc
fontis sacro pereunt delicta lavacro_, and another legend
undecipherable. (3) Clusters of Norm. columns beneath tower supporting
an arch, evidently rebuilt out of original materials (observe S. pier
of chancel arch standing idle). (4) E.E. arch opening into chantry
chapel, and large piscina within. (5) Body stone built into W. wall of
vestry. The whole of the Norm. work is unusually rich for a small
country church, but it may possibly be accounted for by the fact that
Lullington at the Conquest, amongst other good things, fell to the
share of Geoffrey of Coutances, who perhaps brought here his staff of
continental workmen, as the figures on the capitals of the doorway are
known to occur also at Coutances and Caen. The body stone in the
vestry, which may at one time have marked the Bishop's own grave
outside, is also said to bear traces of continental craftsmanship. The
"mediaeval" gateway at the entrance of the neighbouring park is a sham.
_Luxborough_, a village 6 m. S. of Dunster, lying amongst the Brendon
hills. The gradients are discouraging to any but determined tourists.
The church, though ancient, has been too frequently restored to retain
much antiquarian interest.
_Lydeard St Lawrence_, a village 1-1/2 m. S W. of Crowcombe Station. It
climbs the hill-side that confronts the Quantocks, and has a church
near the summit, whence a fine view is obtainable. The church tower is
commanding; in spite of its height, it has only diagonal buttresses.
The oldest part of the present building is the chancel of the 14th
cent. (which has a good Dec. piscina and triple sedilia), though a
round-headed window (blocked), a survival of an earlier structure, is
inserted in the N. wall. The capitals of the arcade have very unusual
carving (including interlaced work, and the representation of a fox
seizing a goose). The screen (restored) has traces of painting; the
pulpit is Jacobean; and the font seems to be double, an inverted Norman
basin being surmounted by another of still older appearance. There is a
piscina in the S. wall, and over the S. porch a sun-dial of 1653.
Southey's father was a farmer here.
_Lydford, East_ and _West_, two small villages about 1/2 m. apart,
lying on either side of the Fosseway, 5 m. W. of Castle Cary. At the E.
hamlet is a small modern memorial church, with a spire (1866). The W.
village, which is traversed by the Brue, has a church which was rebuilt
in 1846, and has undergone several renovations since.
_Lympsham_, a parish 6 m. S.S.E. of Weston-super-Mare (nearest station
Brent Knoll, 2-1/2 m.). It has a church with a good tower (double
windows in the belfry), which is said to lean westward some, feet out
of the perpendicular. Within note (1) the fine wood roof of the N.
aisle, which was once a chapel (it has a piscina); (2) the 12th cent.
_Lyng_, a village 1/2 m. W. of Athelney Station, situated on the Tone.
Its little aisleless church, which was once a chapelry of Alfred's
monastery at Athelney, has a beautiful, though small, Perp. tower (with
double belfry windows). One of the bells dates from 1609. The body of
the church (of earlier date than the tower) contains much that is
interesting, particularly a good Dec. sedile and some fine carved
bench-ends (16th cent.). Note also (1) the oak pulpit, (2) old glass in
a window on N. of chancel, (3) piscinas, (4) tub font, (5) old chest
hollowed from a single trunk (under the tower). The "isle" of Athelney,
with Alfred's monument, is in this parish.
_Maperton_ is a pleasant village 3-1/2 m. E. from Sparkford. Of the
church, which is rather screened from view by an adjoining mansion, the
only old portion is the tower. A few corbels of an earlier church and a
piece of interlaced carving are preserved in the S. porch. The piscina
deserves notice; it is said to be Norman.
_Mark_, a large but scattered village on the marshes between Highbridge
and Wells, 3 m. N.E. from Bason Bridge Station (S. & D.). The houses
straggle along the road-side for a considerable distance. The church,
which is at the far end of the village, is of some dignity, and has
been carefully restored. It has a Perp. tower, with triple belfry
windows of not very successful design, and there is a good parapet to
the nave. The S. aisle is evidently older than the rest of the building
(note the arcade). The fine panelled roof covering the N. aisle should
be observed, and the projecting figures on the wall-plate of the nave.
Other features claiming attention are (1) the unusual direction of the
squints in the chancel arch, (2) Perp. screens (1634), (3) rood-loft
stair and turret in N. aisle, (4) blocked priest's door in sanctuary,
(5) blocked squint in S. porch, (6) carved font under tower. The
chancel contains some finely carved figures of the Evangelists, brought
from Bruges Cathedral by a former rector.
_Marksbury_, a small village on the Keynsham and Wells road, 4 m. S.
from Keynsham. The church is an ugly little building with a plaster
ceiling and a chancel out of centre with the rest of the structure. The
tower is crowned with an eccentric set of pyramidal pinnacles, and has
a small 17th-cent. inscription on its W. face.
_Marston Biggott_, a small village 3 m. S.W. from Frome. The church,
which stands in a park, has been rebuilt. Marston House (until lately
the seat of the Earls of Cork) is a large modern "Italian" mansion,
imposingly situated on a wooded hillside. The site of the original
house, of which nothing remains, is locally known as _Marston Moat_.
Close by is a field traditionally called _Conqueror's Meads_, and is
popularly reputed to have been the scene of some ancient battle.
_Marston Magna_, a village 5 m. N.E. of Yeovil, with station on G.W.R.
line to Weymouth. The church, though devoid of picturesqueness, has
several features of architectural interest. Traces of herringbone work
will be discovered on the N. exterior wall of the chancel, where, too,
should be noted the flat buttresses and Norm. window. The peculiarity
of the church is, however, the little chapel adjoining the N. porch,
and divided from it by a rude screen surmounted by a gallery. Note the
elaborate niche on the N. The chancel is lighted at E. by an E.E.
triplet; and some old glass will be observed in a window on the S. The
font has a fluted basin, and is doubtless Norm. The central battlement
of each face of the tower bears the Tudor rose (cp. East Pennard). The
fine old Jacobean house near the W. end of the church should not escape
attention; and in the field to the S.E. is a moated paddock, locally
known as _Court Garden_, and generally reputed to be the site of an
ancient manor house.
MARTOCK is a small town (with station) 5-1/2 m. N.W. of Yeovil,
consisting virtually of one long street. It has no historic
associations to speak of, though in 1645 it was the scene of a public
thanksgiving by the Parliament forces for the capture of Bridgwater. At
the present time it is chiefly engaged in the manufacture of gloves and
jute matting. The population is about 3000. It has a noble church, the
earliest part of which is the E. wall (E.E.; note the five lancets and
gable-topped buttresses). In it, on a level with the floor, is a large
recess, perhaps intended for relics. The rest of the church is Perp.
The tower (with double belfry windows) is rather plain; but the nave is
very impressive, being exceptionally lofty, and having a clerestory
lighted by unusually large windows, divided by niches containing
paintings of the Apostles. There is a good deal of panel-work, and a
splendid oak roof, with embattled tie-beams. The pierced parapet is
remarkably good. Note (1) vault of S. porch; (2) piscina in S. chapel,
(3) brass to George Bisse and wife (1702 and 1685). At the extremity of
the graveyard is a defaced effigy.
Near the church are two ancient buildings. The one (approached through
a small ruined arch) is a 14th-cent. manor house, with a hall lighted
by windows that are square without and foliated within. Note (1) oak
roof, (2) curious brackets. The other (now the church-house) was
formerly a grammar school, founded by William Strode of Barrington in
1661; note arms and motto. A small building, surrounded by a moat, is
said to occupy the site of a manor house given to Lord Monteagle for
bringing about the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. The market cross is
a column crowned by a sundial and ball (cp. Ilchester).
_Masbury_, a station on S. & D. line from Bath to Templecombe. Here the
railway, after an arduous ascent, at length reaches the summit of the
Mendips. To the E. of the station is Masbury Ring, a large circular
encampment. It is probably of British origin, but was, no doubt, also
occupied by the Romans, as it lies on the line of the old Roman road
from Uphill to Old Sarum. The fosse is now partly filled with trees.
The ring may be regarded as the summit of the E. Mendip range, which
here reaches 958 ft. About a mile to the E. is a thicker clump of fir
trees crowning _Beacon Hill_, another high spot. The view from Masbury
is most extensive. Below are the towers of Wells and Glastonbury Tor.
On the W. horizon are the Blackdowns and Quantocks; and on clear days
Dunkery and Exmoor are visible. To the E. are the Wiltshire Downs and
Alfred's Tower, whilst right in front, to the N., is Dundry Hill.
_Meare_, a village 3-1/2 m. N.W. from Glastonbury (nearest stat.
Ashcott, 1-1/4 m.). It betrays by its name the former condition of the
country round it, it having been an isle (like Athelney and Muchelney)
only approachable (it is said), even as late as 1808, by a bridle-path.
It belonged to the abbots of Glastonbury, who frequented it for
fishing; and of their connection with the place there are surviving
memorials in a _Manor House_ (where they stayed) and a _Fisher's
House_. The first (E. of the church) contains on the first floor a fine
dining-hall with large hooded fireplace and Dec. windows; the building
at right angles to it is said to have been the chapel. The second,
where the abbey fisherman lived, is in a field adjoining the Manor
House; it is roofless (the consequence of a fire), but the walk are
intact, and the building is a good example of a mediaeval
dwelling-house (erected 1335). The parish church has a 14th-cent.
chancel with a Dec. E. window; the nave (Perp.) dates from the 15th
cent., and has on the parapet of the S. aisle the monogram of Abbot
Selwood, the penultimate Abbot of Glastonbury. There is a 15th-cent.
_Mells_, a large village 3 m. W.N.W. from Frome (nearest stat. Mells
Road). Mells possesses a fine church, several old houses, and a
well-merited reputation for picturesqueness. The church is a rich
example of 15th-cent. Somerset Perp., with the usual low chancel and an
elaborately panelled and pinnacled W. tower (cp. Leigh). Note (1) fine
groined porch (cp. Doulting); (2) octagonal vestry on S. with chamber
above; (3) mural tablet with emblem of peacock, on N. wall of tower,
designed by Burne-Jones; (4) Norm. font. There are some modern brasses
to former incumbents, and in N. chapel a tablet to Sir J. Homer (1659).
Immediately adjoining the church on W. is a fine gabled Elizabethan
manor house. _Mells Park_ (J.F. Horner) is a plain freestone mansion,
standing in some well-timbered grounds at the farther end of the
village. The founder of the family is popularly reputed to be the
"little Jack Horner" of nursery fame. In the neighbourhood of Mells are
three camps, _Newbury_ and _Wadbury_, on the road to Elm, and
_Tedbury_, on the way to Frome. The last mentioned is triangular,
occupying a point of land between two ravines (cp. Ruborough).
[Illustration: MELLS VILLAGE]
_Mendips, The_, a chain of hills some 25 m. long, running in a straight
line across the county in a N.W. direction from Frome to the Channel.
On its S.W. face the ridge drops abruptly into the plain, but the
opposite side gradually shelves away in a series of irregular
undulations, though the descent becomes sharper as the hills approach
the coast. Viewed from the sea-board the outline of the chain is on
either side sharply defined, and forms a prominent and shapely feature
in the landscape. From the low-lying central flats of the county the
Mendips have a quite fictitious impressiveness. Nowhere does their
altitude reach 1100 ft., and their ridge-like summit is nothing but an
extended plateau, in places from 2 to 3 m. wide. They have, however,
even on the top a certain picturesqueness, for the undulating tableland
is relieved by copses, and diversified by little wooded "bottoms,"
scooped out by prehistoric torrents. Nearer the sea the uplands become
more desolate, the "bottoms" are replaced by rocky combes, like the
gorges at Cheddar and Burrington; villages become less frequent; and
traces of discarded mines give a weirdness to the solitude. The moors
are, however, healthy, and nowhere lacking in interest. Geologically
the structure of the Mendips is simple. A core of old red sandstone,
which occasionally crops out at the surface, and through which in one
spot, near Downhead, a vein of igneous rock has forced its way, is
thickly coated with a crust of mountain limestone. The once
superincumbent coal-measures are huddled together on one side in a
confused heap near Radstock, and on the other are probably buried
beneath the Glastonbury marshes. The detached hills in their
neighbourhood are doubtless only the remnants of an oolitic covering
which once completely enveloped them. A noteworthy feature of the
Mendips, but one shared by other limestone formations, is the number of
caverns and "swallet holes" with which they abound. Of the former the
_Cheddar Caves_ and _Wookey Hole_ are the most remarkable; and a good
example of the latter is the _Devil's Punch Bowl_ near E. Harptree. The
chief antiquities consist of the old Roman lead-mines and an
amphitheatre near Priddy, the old Roman road linking Uphill with Old
Sarum, and a few camps, such as those at Masbury and Burrington. The
hills are fairly uniform in height, the chief prominences being Beacon
Hill (near Shepton), Masbury Ring, and Blackdown (1067 ft.). A fairly
good road traverses the range from Frome to Cheddar or Burrington; and
a ramble taken anywhere along its length will repay the pedestrian.
_Merriott_, 2 m. N. of Crewkerne, is partly, occupied, like the
neighbouring town, in the manufacture of sail-cloth. The church, in the
main Perp., has been restored, but retains its massive tower, which is
singularly plain, with a pinnacled turret in the middle of the S. face.
The tower arch looks like E.E., and there is a fine E.E. (restored)
piscina in the chancel. The S. entry has some intricate carving above
it, and there are some quaint figures on a stone inserted over the
_Middlezoy_ (6 m. S.E. from Bridgwater, 4 from Athelney Station) has a
church (ded. to the Holy Cross) which contains some interesting
features. The tower has double belfry windows (not triple, like Weston
Zoyland). The chancel is Dec. (the E. window being good), and has a
large piscina under a foliated canopy. There is a second piscina in the
S. aisle, which likewise has a low side-window (cp. Othery). Note (1)
the roof (with a few pendants); (2) the early Jacobean pulpit (dated
1606); (3) some carved seat ends; (4) Perp. screen; (5) old chest with
three locks; (6) some fragments of ancient glass in the N. chapel; (7)
a small brass (in the middle of the nave) to "Louis Chevaleir (_sic_)
de Misiers," a French gentleman serving in the English army, who was
killed at Sedgemoor (here called "the battle of Weston").
_Midford_, a station on the S. & D. line to Bath. There is a pretty
view to be obtained from the platform, which overhangs a deep valley.
Some of the S. surroundings of Bath may be conveniently explored from
here by good walkers. Midford Castle, a modern antique, built in the
shape of a triangle, stands just above the railway.
_Midsomer Norton_, a thriving and populous village 14 m. S.E. from
Bristol, with a station on the S. & D. line to Bath, and another at
Welton on the G.W. branch to Bristol. It obtains its name from a little
rivulet, the Somer, which partly embraces the village. Though situated
on the same coalfield, it is a more pleasing-looking place than its
neighbour Radstock. The church is a not very inspiring example of
modern Gothic (1830), and is said to have superseded a Norm, building.
The tower, which may embody some portions of the original structure, is
in keeping with the rest of the church, though of greater age. It
contains a niched effigy of Charles II., who, though an unlikely church
benefactor, is said to have given the bells. Besides having a large
output of coal, the locality does a brisk trade in boots and shoes.
MILBORNE PORT, a small town of some antiquity but of no modern
importance, situated on a southern projection of the county jutting
into Dorset. The station (L. & S.W. main line) is 1-1/2 m. N. of the
town. In pre-Reform days it was a pocket borough, returning two
members. It has now little save its quaint air of antiquity to make it
remarkable. The church, however, is interesting and will repay study.
Externally and internally it bears evidence of a very early origin. The
nave has been rebuilt and enlarged, but the tower and chancel should be
carefully observed. Without, note (1) fine Norm. S. doorway; (2) base
of tower with its peculiar stair turret; (3) Norm, panelling on S. side
of chancel and blocked low side-window; (4) Norm, lancets in E. and N.
wall of vestry; (5) traces of Norm, arcading on N. face of tower. The
original niches and stoups of the W. front will be found built into a
small mortuary chapel at the N.W. corner of the churchyard. Within, the
tower arch claims first attention as the most exceptional feature of
the church. It is of majestic dimensions, and the workmanship is bold
and rugged. The N. and S. transeptal arches retain their round heads as
originally constructed, but the E. and W. piers carry pointed arches.
The carving on the capitals is regarded by some as bearing traces of
Saxon craftsmanship, but this is doubtful; note in some cases absence
of abacus. The S. transept is also worthy of close examination; note
the effigy in recess in S. wall, the Norm. windows, and the piscina.
Other objects worthy of observation in the church are (1) fine old
font; (2) piscinas in sanctuary and S. wall of nave; (3) ancient
vestry. The chancel and N. transept are Perp. The massive severity of
the central arches lends an air of great impressiveness to the whole
interior, though the peculiar position of the pulpit indicates how
difficult it has been to adapt the building to congregational purposes.
In the central thoroughfare of the village are the remains of an old
market cross, and on the S. side of the street near the present market
hall is the old Guildhall, containing a Norm. doorway with good
details. At the E. end of the village by the side of the Salisbury road
is _Venn_, the seat of the Medlicotts. It is a Queen Anne mansion of
characteristically formal aspect. Between Milborne Port Station and the
little hamlet of _Milborne Wick_ is the site of a camp with steep
flanks, and defended on the most accessible side by a strong rampart.
_Milton Clevedon_, a small parish 2-1/2 m. N.W. of Bruton. The church
contains the effigy of an ecclesiastic (N. of the chancel), and there
is some ancient glass in the N. transept. Note, too, a curious
inscription on the external E. wall of the S. transept, date 1615.
MILVERTON, a small town of 1427 people, 4 m. N. of Wellington, with a
station on the G.W.R. Barnstaple branch. It is a poor little
place--more village than town--apparently existing on its past
importance. It once had a flourishing market, and did a big business in
woollen cloth. The church stands on a slight eminence, at the bottom of
which lies the town. It is a good stately building without a
clerestory, and is not quite in line with its tower, which is of the
rough Exmoor type with a square turret flush with the E. face. The
interior has a remarkable display of carved bench-ends (notice the
"aspergillum" in central aisle, and the arms of Henry VIII. near
pulpit). The screen is modern, but embodies some old panels. The aisles
(note octagonal piers) terminate peculiarly at the W. end in chambers
surmounted by galleries. The font is Norm. The churchyard has the
sculptured base of a cross. The vicarage is said to have once been the
country residence of Cardinal Wolsey. The country round Milverton is
pleasant, and some delightful views of the Quantocks are obtainable in
MINEHEAD, a seaside town of 2500 people, 25 m. N.W. from Taunton, with
a terminal station on the G.W. branch from the latter place. The name
seems to be a hybrid, the first syllable being the Celtic _maen_, stone
(cp. _Men_dip). Once a Channel port second in importance only to
Bristol, Minehead has of recent years abandoned merchandise, and given
itself over to the entertainment of visitors. It has blossomed into a
watering-place of some pretensions with a pier, an esplanade, and a
generous profusion of public walks. It has, moreover, one claim to
distinction peculiarly its own. Exmoor, the home of the red deer, lies
behind it, and Minehead is the metropolis of the hunt. The advent of
the stranger was not always so eagerly welcomed. The inaccessible
situation of "the old town," as it is called, suggests that one of the
chief perils of ancient Minehead was the frequent incursions of
marauding Danes and Welsh. But the proximity of the Cambrian coast
opposite nevertheless had its occasional conveniences. In the Civil War
Lord Hertford, foiled in his attempt on Dunster, found Minehead a
serviceable stepping-stone to security amid the Welsh fastnesses. The
general appearance of the town is eminently attractive. A promenade,
which might well be extended, borders the sands, and an avenue fringed
with lime trees runs up from the station to the market-place and shops.
The church and older portions of the town are perched amid modern
residences on the hill side above, and a quaint row of mariners'
cottages (Quay Town) lies at the seaward foot of the headland. The huge
bulk of the N. hill forms an effectual windscreen at the back of the
town, and the abundance of flowers in the gardens testifies to the mild
climate which Minehead enjoys in consequence. The parish church of St
Michael stands out conspicuously on the hill side. It has a
well-designed Perp. W. tower, and both within and without shows several
features of interest. Externally should be noted (1) the fine
projecting window which lights the rood-loft stairway; (2) the
_bas-reliefs_ on the E. and S. sides of the tower; (3) the figures
supporting the weather-mouldings of one of the E. windows (one of which
carries a shield with date 1529), and the inscription in the masonry
above. There is a plain cross on the N. side of the graveyard. Within
the church remark (1) fine rood-screen (cp. Dunster); (2) carved
Elizabethan altar; (3) oak box and black-letter books; (4) canopied
tomb of priest in eucharistic vestments, and holding fragment of
chalice; (5) curious wooden arch to vestry; (6) fine font; (7) defaced
brass of a lady under the tower. No visitor can leave the churchyard
unimpressed with the panorama spread at his feet. Beyond the cliffs at
Blue Anchor may be discerned Weston pier. A new church in the
market-place provides further accommodation for the influx of summer
visitors. Beneath the churchyard wall of the new building stands a
stout statue of good Queen Anne, which once adorned the parish church.
It was the gift of a Swede (Sir J. Bancks), who married in 1696 the
well-portioned widow of one of the Luttrells. In the main street,
opposite the Assembly Rooms, is a venerable building, once a
court-house. A lane leading off by the new Market Hall gives entry to a
quaint row of alms-houses, built by R. Quirck in 1630. The court
contains the stump of an old cross. Minehead abounds in pleasant walks.
The North Hill in particular furnishes many a pleasing ramble: its
summit may be gained by taking a scrambling path at the E. end of the
old church. The whole range of the hill can be traversed as far as
Selworthy Beacon, and a descent may be made either to Wood Combe or
_Misterton_, a village 1/2 m. S.E. of Crewkerne. Its church is of no
antiquarian interest, though it possesses an ancient font.
_Monksilver_, a parish 3 m. S. of Williton, rather less from Stogumber
Station. The last half of the name is probably the Latin _silva_. The
little church does not retain many features of interest, but note (1)
the screen and pulpit; (2) a panelled altar-tomb, without inscription,
N. of the chancel; (3) the piscina; (4) a bracket for a figure at the
E. of the S. aisle; (5) the curious devices on some of the seat-ends;
(6) the grotesque gargoyles (one seems to represent the extraction of a
tooth); (7) some ancient glass (with symbols of the Evangelists) in a
window of the S. aisle.
_Monkton Combe_ is a village 1 m. W. of Limpley Stoke Station, with a
church that has been entirely rebuilt.
_Monkton, West_, a parish 4 m. N.E. of Taunton, which gets its name
from the fact that the monks of Glastonbury owned property in it. Its
church, mainly Perp., but containing in the chancel arch work of
earlier date (perhaps 13th cent.), is noteworthy for its lofty tower.
The nave has a clerestory, and a good oak cornice. Note (1) stoup in S.
porch; (2) piscinas; (3) mural tablet in chancel to the memory of
William Kinglake, a physician (d. 1660), with its curious inscription.
In the churchyard are the parish stocks. The old leper hospital in
Taunton (_q.v._) really belongs to this parish.
_Montacute_, 4 m. W. of Yeovil, is an attractive village (with station)
which derives its name from two neighbouring pyramidal eminences, one
of which, crowned by St Michael's Tower, is the site of a former
castle. There are several places of interest in or near it. Its church
preserves work of various periods, Norm. (chancel arch and moulding on
N. wall of nave), E.E. and Dec. (windows in chancel and transepts), and
Perp. (tower and nave). The tower is good, with its stages divided by
rows of quatrefoils. Note (1) groining of N. porch (the ribs are
inaccurately centred), (2) brackets beneath organ (the eastern alone is
ancient), (3) elaborate niches in chancel arch, (4) squint and piscina,
(5) texts round reredos, dated 1543, (6) effigies of the Phelipses, the
earliest dating from the 15th cent. In the churchyard is the carved
shaft of a cross. Near the W. end of the church is a beautiful
15th-cent. gateway, once belonging to a Cluniac Priory (founded in the
time of Henry I.), with oriel windows N. and S., the latter flanked by
two turrets of unequal height. Note over N. window a portcullis, and
over the S. the letters _T.C._, the initials of Thomas Chard, the last
prior but two. In the village square is a picturesque house with the
initials _R.S._ (Robert Sherborne, the last prior) between two figures
with fools' caps. _Montacute House_, the seat of the Phelipses, is
built in the form of the letter H, and dates from the reign of Queen
Elizabeth (1580-1601). The E. and W. fronts are handsome, the former
being decorated with nine large statues, supposed to represent various
martial characters, historical, legendary, and biblical. The two large
upper-storey windows that project from the N. and S. sides, light a
gallery running the whole length of the house. The building was
designed by John Thorpe, the architect of Longleat. Note the "gazebos"
in the garden (cp. Nether Stowey).
[Illustration: MONTACUTE HOUSE]
_Moorlynch_, a village on the S. edge of the Poldens, 4 m. S. of
Shapwick Station. The churchyard commands a good view of Sedgemoor,
with the towers of Othery, Middlezoy, and Weston Zoyland rising
conspicuously from it. The church (said to be E.E., but altered in
Perp. times) has some features of interest: (1) pillar piscina, (2)
carved bench-ends, (3) Norm. font, (4) effigy of lady (preserved under
the tower), (5) bits of old glass in chancel windows, (6) consecration
crosses on exterior chancel wall. There are some carved bench-ends and
old oak seats.
_Muchelney_, 2 m. S.E. of Langport, is a small village rich in
antiquities. Like Athelney, it was once a marsh-girt "island "--the
largest, or _muckleey_, amongst its peers. Its church has a fair tower
(double windows in the belfry), though much inferior to those of Huish
and Kingsbury. At the W. door there is a fine stoup. There are N. and
S. porches with parvises or chambers, and the vault of the S. porch is
groined. Within should be noticed (1) quaint paintings on the nave
roof, (2) piscina and sedilia with fine canopies, (3) group of canopied
niches E. of the S. aisle, (4) fine carved Perp. font. In the
churchyard, E. of the church, is a fine panelled tomb. S. of the parish
church are the foundations of the _Abbey Church_. The Abbey was founded
by the Saxon Athelstan, about 939. The remains may be traced of (1) an
apsidal Norm. Lady Chapel, (2) a square-ended Lady Chapel of later
date. A few tiles are preserved in the adjoining church. S. of the
churchyard is the _Abbot's House_, which exhibits much of interest
(especially a room with a settle of Henry VIII.'s time), if admission
can be obtained. A panelled (interior) wall may be seen from the road:
behind it is a cloister (now a cider cellar). N. of the parish church
is another interesting building, the old Vicarage House, dating from
the 14th or 15th cent. In another house hard by is a fragment of Norm.
carving. Note, too, the village cross (restored.)
_Mudford_ is a village on the Yeo, 3 m. N. of Yeovil. The church has a
good tower, but contains little of interest. The pulpit appears to be
Jacobean, and there is a curious bracket near one of the S. windows.
_Mudgeley_. See _Wedmore_.
_Nailsea_, a village (with station) 9 m. W.S.W. of Bristol. Its church
preserves some features of interest, among them being (1) stone pulpit,
entered through the wall by a staircase which formerly led to the
rood-loft, (2) curious carving on the capitals of the arcade, (3)
piscina, (4) monument to Richard Cole and his family, with its punning
Latin epitaph and free translation. Some way from the village is
_Nailsea Court_, a manor house of partly Tudor, partly Elizabethan
_Nempnett Thrubwell_, a small village 7 m. S.W. from Pensford Station,
and 10 S.S.W. of Bristol. It stands on high ground overlooking a deep
valley. In the neighbourhood some very fine views may be obtained of
the Mendip Hills, the Blagdon Reservoir, and the Wrington valley. The
church is a small building with a Perp. W. tower, from the W. face of
which project two curious and uncanny carved heads of a man and beast.
The walls of the nave still bear the original 13th cent. consecration
crosses. The chancel is modern, and contains a rich modern screen and a
good E. window of Munich glass. Note (1) rude Norm. S. doorway filled
with Perp. tracery; (2) Norm. font carved with a curious device by some
later craftsman. Near the porch in the churchyard is (1) base of
ancient cross; (2) tomb of first rector--Robert--bearing an incised
cross. The parish once contained a remarkably fine tumulus of masonry,
said to have been one of the finest in Britain, in the chambers of
which skeletons have been discovered. A few vestiges of it now only
remain, the rest has been used as a lime-kiln.
_Nettlecombe_, a parish 2-1/2 m. S.W. of Williton. Its church stands in
the park of _Nettlecombe Court_, the seat of Sir J.W. Trevelyan. Though
restored in 1869 it retains several features of interest. The tower has
the staircase turret at the N.W. angle (cp. Martock and Yeovil). In the
interior note (1) the foliage round the capitals of the arcade piers;
(2) the fine ancient glass in two windows in the N. aisle, representing
seven saints; (3) the octagonal font, with carved sides (much defaced),
seven of them supposed to represent the seven sacraments; (4) the
effigies under two E.E. recesses in the S. aisle, representing (i) a
crusader, (ii) a knight (hip-belted) and his lady. They probably belong
to the Raleigh family, the former owners of Nettlecombe Court. There is
also a slab with an inscription to John Trevelyan (d. 1623). The pulpit
is approached by the old rood staircase. The Communion plate dates from
the 15th cent. (1479).
_Newton, North_, a parish 4-1/2 m. S. of Bridgwater and 2 m. N. of
Durston Station. Its church has been wholly rebuilt with the exception
of its very ancient tower (which is thought by some to be of Saxon
origin). The only antiquities which the building contains are (1) a
beautiful screen, with four figures in relief, three of which represent
Faith, Hope and Charity (cp. the similar figures at Stoke St Gregory
and Thurloxton); (2) a carved door leading into the vestry, with
figures of the Ten Virgins; (3) a Caroline pulpit (1637). In this
parish there was found, in 1693 a jewel set in gold, with an
inscription on the rim: AELFRED MEE HEHT GEWYRCAN (Alfred directed me
to be made). It is now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, whilst a copy
of it may be seen in Taunton Museum.
_Newton, St Loe_, a well-kept village 3-1/2 m. W. of Bath, standing on
high ground on the outskirts of _Newton Park_. The church has been much
restored, but retains on the S. the original Dec. arcade and a squint.
There is some good modern carving. In the graveyard are the base and
stump of what was once a fine cross. The church possesses a chalice of
the date 1555.
_Northover_, a parish adjoining Ilchester, on the opposite side of the
Ivel. Its church (restored 1878) has an ancient tower, and contains a
Norm. font and a plain Jacobean pulpit.
_Norton Fitzwarren_, a village 2 m. N.W. of Taunton. Its church
(restored) is of late 14th cent. origin, with Dec. windows, and the
tower is Perp. The edifice is interesting chiefly for its fine
rood-screen, supposed to date from about 1500; the carvings on it
deserve attention (note dragons, ploughman and team, and name of
churchwarden). The figures above it are modern. There are some carved
seat-ends in the body of the church. On the hill above is a circular
British camp, about 13 acres in extent.
_Norton Malreward_, a small and secluded village under Maes Knoll, 1 m.
N.W. of Pensford. The church (rebuilt 1861) retains its original tower,
a good Norm. chancel arch, and a Norm. font. In the churchyard is a
square dole-stone, similar to the one at Dundry, but smaller.
[Illustration: THE GEORGE INN, NORTON ST PHILIP]
_Norton St Philip_, a comely village equidistant (3 m.) from Midford
(S. & D.) and Freshford (G.W.R.) Stations. It stands on high ground
near the crossing of the roads from Frome to Bath, and from Radstock to
Trowbridge. In mediaeval days Norton was the scene of a considerable
cloth fair, the tolls of which were the perquisites of the prior of
Hinton. At a later date it was the scene of a sharp skirmish between
the Duke of Monmouth's forces and a body of regulars under the Duke of
Grafton. The church has an extraordinary W. tower, the eccentricities
of which have led some to conclude that it was constructed out of odds
and ends from the dismantled monastic buildings at Hinton. Note the
singularly deep buttresses and the _quasi_-porch formed between them.
The body of the church is likewise peculiar, but of more merit. It is
one of Sir G. Scott's restorations. In the S. wall of the nave is the
recumbent effigy of a layman (cp. Cleeve). Beneath the tower is a
tablet commemorating a local "freak"--the two ladies of Foxcote, who
appear to have been an early edition of the Siamese Twins. A
neighbouring garden contains a good Elizabethan dovecot. Norton St
Philip claims to possess the oldest licensed house in England--the
George--a stately 15th cent. hostelry standing at the top of the
village. It is a fine old half-timbered building, with a small bay
window in front and an octagonal projecting staircase and gallery at
the back, and is well worthy of inspection within and without. It was
probably built for the accommodation of the merchants of the staple in
the old cloth fair-days.
_Norton-sub-Hamdon_, a village at the foot of the S.W. flank of Hamdon
Hill, 2-1/2 m. S.W. of Montacute Station. The church has a fine tower,
which was rebuilt in 1894 after destruction by lightning; it is
characterised by large single windows extending from the belfry into
the storey below (cp. Shepton Beauchamp and Hinton St George). The body
of the church was restored in 1862; the oldest part would seem to be
the S. porch, which has a ribbed stone roof (cp. Tintinhall). The
interior is imposing by reason of the height of the nave and chancel,
but it contains little that calls for notice. In the E. wall is a
piscina and two niches. The modern and very ugly font is made of a
single block of alabaster. The most interesting object is in the
churchyard, which contains a circular dovecot, quite perfect, supported
[Illustration: NUNNEY CASTLE AND VILLAGE]
_Nunney_, a village 3 m. S.W. from Frome. It possesses the unusual
attraction of a ruined _castle_. The castle is an excellent specimen of
a 14th cent. fortified dwelling-house. The walls are still complete,
but bear abundant traces of the ravages of time and warfare. In plan
the castle consists of a rectangular parallelogram with a cylindrical
tower at each angle The interior is gutted, but as the beam-marks still
remain, the general arrangements are easily reconstructed. It was
divided into four storeys by wooden floors, the dining-hall being (as
the large fireplace indicates) on the first floor. Access was gained to
the different apartments by a large spiral staircase winding round the
interior of the N. turret. The top storey of the S. turret, marked
externally by a Perp. window, was evidently furnished as an oratory; an
altar slab and piscina can still be seen projecting from the wall. The
position, not naturally strong, was rendered more defensible by a moat,
beyond which flows a stream. The castle was built by Sir J. de la Mere
in 1373 out of the spoils of the French wars. It afterwards passed
successively to the families of Pawlet and Prater, and during the Civil
Wars was held by Colonel Prater for the king. After a determined
resistance it surrendered on terms to Fairfax. The neighbouring church
has a picturesque Perp. tower with a projecting spiral stair turret. On
the W. face is a panel representing a key and a knotted cord, thought
to be a Delamere badge. Internally the fabric has been much pulled
about and altered. It contains a heavy Norman font and a small oak
chancel screen. Behind the organ in the N. aisle are two altar tombs
with double recumbent effigies (15th cent.), and a third (14th cent.)
with a single figure--that of the founder of the castle--is shelved on
the window-sill above. The effigies furnish excellent illustrations of
the armour of their periods.
_Nynehead_, a village 1-1/2 m. N. of Wellington. From the neighbouring
village of Bradford it is approached by a deep artificial cutting
picturesquely overhung with creepers. The church is something of a
"show place." Its chief attraction is a remarkable collection of marble
statuary and Della Robbia work. Notice in particular the tablet
representing the Trinity, by Mino da Fiesole, on the W. wall of S.
aisle, the Madonna and Child on same wall, and the "Nativity" beneath
the tower. The church itself is Perp., but largely rebuilt. It contains
a very fine oak screen. Note also (1) squint on N.; (2) rough piscina
in chancel; (3) monument to the Clarkes of Chipley (1679) in N. chapel.
In the beautifully-kept churchyard is the base of a fine cross, now
prettily overgrown with ferns and lichen. In close proximity to the
church is a large but uncomely-looking manor house.
_Oake_, a parish 3 m. S.E. of Milverton. Its little church, sadly
dilapidated, has the tower on the S. side. Over the porch (1601) is a
pierced parapet, bearing the monogram _I.P._ (cp. Hill-farrance). The
interior contains nothing of note except a carved pulpit and an old
font, and some fragments of ancient glass in a window of unusual size,
which is said to have been brought from Taunton Priory. Outside is a
stone for doles.
_Oakhill_, a large village on the N. slope of the Mendips, 2 m. S.E. of
Binegar Station (S. and D.). It is chiefly dependent upon a large
brewery. The church is modern (1861).
_Oare_, a small village 7 m. W. of Porlock, situated in a delightful
valley between heather-clad hills. It is a favourite drive from
Porlock, and may be reached by two routes, the better being along the
main Porlock and Lynton road almost as far as County Gate. Oare church
is quaint, but contains little of interest. 3/4 m. away is
_Malmesmead_, where the Oare Water joins the Badgeworthy Water, which
for some distance constitutes the boundary between Somerset and Devon,
and is familiar to readers of _Lorna Doone_.
_Odcombe_, a village 3 m. W. of Yeovil. The church occupies a very
elevated position and commands a good view. In plan it is cruciform,
with a central tower resting on piers which seem to belong to the Dec.
period, though the E. and W. arches have been altered in Perp. times.
There is a good piscina in the chancel, and the basin of the font is
ancient. The ribbed and panelled roof of the S. porch deserves notice.
Odcombe was the birthplace of Tom Coryate, who, early in the 17th
cent., tramped through Europe and the East. After his first journey he
is said to have hung up his boots in the church.
_Orchardleigh_, a modern mansion, 2 m. N. from Frome, built to replace
the ancient seat of the Champneys. In the park is a knoll crowned by
three huge stones, which were once a cromlech, and are supposed to mark
a place of sepulture. Upon an island in a lake is a small church, quite
a little gem in its way. It contains a carved cup-shaped font, a
beautiful Dec. priest's doorway, and an elaborately sculptured aumbry
and piscina. The unique features of the building, however, are the
small projecting figures on the N. and S. walls of the sanctuary; the
hand of the one on the S. will be seen still grasping the staple on
which was once suspended the Lenten veil (cp. Leigh-on-Mendip).
_Orchard Portman_, a parish 2 m. S. of Taunton, which represents in its
name an alliance between a Portman and the heiress of the Orchards. The
most noteworthy features of its small Perp. church is a Norm. S. door,
and an ancient font (likewise presumably Norm.) of curious shape. Note,
too, (1) carved wooden pulpit; (2) carved stalls; (3) brass on chancel
S. wall to "Humfredus de Collibus" (_Anglice_, Coles or Colles), who
died 1693 (cp. Pitminster).
_Othery_, a parish on the Sedgemoor plain, 3 m. N.E. of Athelney
Station. Its church has quite a number of interesting features. It is
cruciform in plan, with a central tower, and is said to be an E. E.
building, which has been altered in the Dec. and Perp. periods. The
tower is noticeable for its "batter," for its belfry window of four
lights, and for its niches and figures. The chancel, like some others
in the county, has a low side-window, outside of which a neighbouring
buttress is perforated to permit some object (possibly a lamp) placed
in the window to be seen. The cross on the E. gable is said to be
Norm., but if so, is probably not in its original position, since it is
little weathered. Within note (1) the manner in which the narrow
central tower is joined to the wider nave; (2) the ancient glass in the
N. transept; (3) squint and piscinas. Most of the woodwork is modern.
At the present churchwarden's house is preserved a 15th cent. cope,
which has been converted into an altar frontal.
_Otterford_, a parish 6 m. N.W. of Chard. The hamlet of Bishop's Wood,
the most thickly populated part of the parish, lies in a broad defile,
through which trickles the Otter brook. The church is 2-1/2 m. away on
the hill-top. It is not of great interest, but contains a stoup, a
piscina, and a Norm. font.
_Otterhampton_, a parish near the estuary of the Parrett, 7 m. N.W. of
Bridgewater. It has a small aisleless church, the most remarkable
feature of which is the wall separating the chancel (which is modern)
from the nave. It is pierced by a chancel arch without mouldings, and
has on its W. face several niches. There is a small but old screen, and
a Norm. font. Attached to Otterhampton is _Combwich_, identified by
some with "Cynuit," the scene of the battle between The Dane Hubba (one
of the murderers of St Edmund) and Earl Odda in 878, which by others is
placed near Appledore in Devon. The Saxon Chronicle, indeed, definitely
states that Hubba met his death in Devonshire; but at that time Devon
probably extended as far east as the Parrett, and Hubba was possibly
co-operating with the Danish force that was observing Alfred at
Athelney (see p. 13). (With Hubba's name cp. _Hobb's Boat_ on the Axe).
_Paulton_, a populous mining and manufacturing village, 1-1/2 m. S.E.
from Hallatrow Station. The church is an uninteresting bit of early
Victorian re-building (1839) with an 18th cent. tower, a woefully poor
imitation of Perp. work.
_Pawlett_, a parish 4 m. N. of Bridgwater (nearest station Dunball,
1-1/2 m.) It has a cruciform church (with W. tower), possessing (1) a
Norm. S. door, with some unusual but much defaced mouldings; (2) a tub
font (on a later base); (3) a screen with vine ornamentation; (4) a
_Peasedown St John_, a bleakly situated colliery village, 6 m. S.W.
from Bath. It consists of a long string of cottages and a modern
_Pendomer_, a small hamlet, 2 m. W.S.W. from Sutton Bingham (L. and
S.W.). A combination of situation and family associations is
responsible for its name (Dummer's Hill). The church is noteworthy only
as containing a remarkable monument. In a cinque-foiled recess on the
N., faced with a square canopy surmounted by pinnacles, is the
recumbent figure of a knight clad in coat of mail. It is believed to
represent Sir J. de Dummer (d. about 1321), son of Sir William buried
at Chilthorne Domer. Note (1) grotesque figures supporting canopy; (2)
cusps worked up into figures of angels (cp. Dowlishwake); (3) iron
prickets for lights. The church windows contain some old glass, and the
arms of the Stourton family. The neighbouring farmhouse is a 16th cent.
_Pennard, East_, a village 1-1/2 m. N.W. from Pylle Station (S. and
D.). There is a painful neatness about this little group of cottages
characteristic of a manorial appurtenance. The church, which partakes
of the same trimness, is Perp. The tower is of rather an unusual type,
being low and squat, and unrelieved by battlements. The staircase is
only a flat projection on the S. side, carried half way up. Upon the N.
face of the tower is a Tudor rose (cp. Marston Magna). Note (1) stoups
in S. porch and outside N. door; (2) Jacobean stalls; (3) piscina and
aumbry; (4) niche in E. wall of N. aisle; (5) richly carved square
font. The nave retains its original 15th cent. roof supported on large
corbels. In the churchyard is the shaft of a cross. A good view is
obtainable from the neighbouring Wrax Hill.
_Pennard, West_, a village 5 m. S. from Shepton Mallet, with a station
on S. and D. line to Glastonbury. The church, which stands some little
distance away, is a large and strikingly handsome Perp. building of
uniform design (_temp._ Edward IV.). The W. tower carries a lead spire.
Its chief interest is its general comeliness. It has neither chapels
nor monuments. One or two features, however, are deserving of notice:
(1) good screen; (2) large squint (containing rood stairway) on N.; (3)
corresponding doorway on S.; (4) stoup at W. doorway. In the churchyard
is a good cross bearing emblems of the Passion on its base (cp.
_Penselwood_, a parish 4 m. N.E. of Wincanton. It occupies high ground,
which in early times has been strongly defended. Hard by are the
British earthwork known as Cenwealh's Castle, and the Norm, moated
mound called Orchard Castle. In the neighbourhood, too, are Pen-Pits,
circular cavities in the ground (extending over 200 acres), which are
believed to have been excavated for the purpose of obtaining
grindstones. The parish church, mainly Perp., retains a Norm. S. door
(note the carving on the lintel) and a Norm. font; and over the gable
of a door in the S. wall is another piece of carving (the Virgin and
Child and two kneeling figures), which probably was, once part of the
cross. There are some bits of early glass in one of the windows. One of
the bells is said to date from the 13th cent.
_Pensford_, a village with a station on the G.W.R. Frome and Bristol
line. It lies immediately at the foot of a lofty viaduct, which
commands a pretty prospect of the valley of the Chew. Like other places
on the bank of a stream, the village was once the centre of a brisk
cloth trade. The church has been rebuilt, but contains a Jacobean
pulpit and a Perp. font (cp. Dundry). The inverted fragment of a
piscina may be seen in the churchyard, built into the wall of a shed.
_Perrott, North_, a small village on the Parrett (which doubtless gives
it its name), 2 m. N.E. of Crewkerne. The church is a small cruciform
Perp. structure of rather poor workmanship, with a low central tower.
The tower arches are panelled, and there is a piscina in the chancel.
The manor house hard by is a handsome gabled modern mansion. In the
parish Roman remains have been discovered. The companion village of
_South Perrott_ is in Dorset.
_Petherton, North_, a village 3 m. S.W. of Bridgwater, deriving its
name from the neighbouring Parrett. In the time of Alfred the country
around was one of the royal forests, the others being Selwood, Mendip,
Neroche, and Exmoor. There is a fine church, with a noble tower,
perhaps the best of its class. It belongs to the type that is
characterised by double windows in the belfry, but is more elaborate
than most of its compeers. The stages are divided by bands of
quatrefoils (cp. Huish and Kingsbury), whilst the wall-face above the
belfry windows is beautifully panelled. The W., N., and S. sides are
decorated with niches containing figures; and the summit is finished
with an ornate crown. The turret (as at Lyng) ascends only half-way up.
There are two porches, the S. having a chamber, or gallery, looking
into the church. The most peculiar features of the building are the
slenderness of the piers carrying the chancel arch, and the sacristy
below the E. window (the latter peculiarity occurring also at Langport,
Kingsbury, Porlock, Ilminster, and formerly at Crewkerne). Note the
piscina at the end of the S. aisle. In the churchyard there is the
octagonal base, carved with quatrefoils, of an ancient cross.
PETHERTON, SOUTH, 3 m. S.W. of Martock, is a small town, interesting
mainly for its noble church, which has a central (rather attenuated)
octagonal tower on a square base. The oldest parts of the building
appear to be the basement of the tower, the chancel, the S. porch, and
the N. transept, the difference in the masonry between these portions
and the rest being instructive. The tower still retains some lancets of
the E.E. period; but the earliest windows in the chancel and N.
transept are Dec. The body of the church is Perp., and the W. window
deserves attention. Note, too, (1) stoup outside N. porch; (2)
fragments in S. porch of the same zodiacal signs that appear at
Stoke-sub-Hamdon; (3) piscinas (especially that in the chancel); (4)
tomb of Sir Giles Daubeny (d. 1445) and one of his wives, with a fine
brass (there is also a brass to his second wife on the floor, concealed
by matting); (5) 17th-cent. mural tablets in the S. and N. chapels.
_King Ina's Palace_ is the name of an interesting house on the Martock
road. It is said to date from Richard II.'s time (with later
alterations), and contains a hall, with minstrel gallery, and a good
fireplace. Near the church there are one or two other ancient houses
which invite notice.
_Pill_, a populous village, 6 m. N.W. of Bristol, standing on a muddy
creek of the Avon. A sufficient impression of the place may be obtained
from the station platform. The church is modern.
_Pilton_, 1-1/2 m. N.W. of West Pennard Station, lies in pretty
country. Its church is spacious, and contains much of interest.
Architecturally it belongs to various periods. The S. door is Norm.,
the porch later. The columns and arches which separate the nave from
the aisle are late Norm. or Trans.; the roof was raised at a later
date, and a Perp. clerestory was inserted. The chancel is Perp., with a
panelled arch and a clerestory. Note (1) the fine wooden roof; (2) the
screen that encloses what was once a chapel (it has a piscina); (3) the
"Easter sepulchre," under a recess in the N. wall, with a
representation of our Lord cut in the stone; (4) the fine brass
chandelier (1749); (5) the curious old chest at the base of the tower,
which contains the remains of an old 16th cent. cope, which has been
converted into an altar frontal; (6) the Jacobean pulpit (1618). The
communion plate includes a paten of about 1500. Near the church is a
noble cruciform barn, once belonging to the abbots of Glastonbury, with
the emblems of the Evangelists at the gables.
_Pitcombe_, a parish 1-1/4 m. S. of Bruton. The church, with the
exception of the tower, has been rebuilt, and contains nothing of
interest, except an ancient font.
_Pitminster_, a large village, 4-1/2 m. S. of Taunton. The church is
noticeable for its octagonal tower, which is surmounted by a spire.
There are two large monuments of the Coles family on either side of the
chancel, and a third at the W. end, dating from the 16th and 17th
cents. The font is elaborately carved. Note (1) the bench ends; (2) the
old glass in the tracery of the E. window of the N. aisle; (3) the two
_Pitney_, a village 2-1/2 m. N.E. of Langport. The church (Perp.) has
an interesting stoup in the porch, and a ribbed squint, with a curious
little recess beneath. A Roman pavement has been unearthed in the
parish; some specimens of the tiles are preserved in the Taunton
_Podimore_, a village 2 m. N.E. of Ilchester. Its church has an
octagonal tower on a square base (cp. Weston Bampfylde), the upper part
of which is lighted with small lancets. The way in which the octagon
has been superimposed on the square may be observed from the interior.
The windows of the church are partly Dec., partly Perp. The E. window
has some fragments of ancient glass. The chancel arch is unusually
narrow. Note (1) the piscina and aumbry; (2) the old font; (3) the
stoup in the S. porch. There is the base of an old cross in the
[Illustration: OLD BANK, PORLOCK]
PORLOCK, a small town near the Devonshire border, 7 m. W. from
Minehead, from which it is reached by coach. Its name--"the enclosed
harbour"--indicates its former maritime character, but more than a mile
of meadow land now separates it from the sea. Its attenuated shipping
trade finds what accommodation it can at the _Weir_, 1-1/2 m. to the W.
The village enjoys a reputation second only to Cleveleys' for
west-country quaintness. It has certainly much to recommend it to the
lovers of the picturesque. It lies snugly ensconced at the bottom of a
wooded valley, enclosed on three sides by the heathery slopes of
Exmoor, but open in front to the sea. Southey has penned a testimonial
to its scenery; and its creeper-clad cottages, with roses and clematis
reaching to their round Devonshire chimneys, still furnish many a study
for the pencil or camera. In Anglo-Saxon times it was much raided by
the Danes, and Harold's sons also paid it a visit, which procured for
them a rough welcome from the shoresmen. The church (ded. to St
Dubricius), which stands in a rather cramped position in the centre of
the village, is externally much in keeping with the old-fashioned
aspect of the surrounding cottages. It consists of a Perp. nave and S.
aisle, with a truncated shingled spire at the W. end. Internally it is
comely and of interest. Its chief curiosities are a small sacristy at
the E. end (cp. Langport and N. Petherton), and a richly canopied tomb,
uncomfortably crowded under the E. bay of the arcade. The recumbent
effigies are finished in much detail, but a certain mystery hangs about
their identity. They are now regarded as those of Baron John Harington
of Aldingham (d. 1418) and his wife, Lady Elizabeth, _nee_ Courtney
(1472). The lady's head-dress, in the shape of a mitre, is particularly
noteworthy. On the N. side of the sanctuary is an altar tomb panelled
with devices of the Five Wounds. It is supposed to have served as an
Easter sepulchre. An earlier model of the same tomb stands in the N.
porch. In the S. aisle is a round-headed founder's recess, containing
the mail-clad figure of a knight, supposed to be Simon Fitz-Roger
(_temp._ Richard I.); close by is a smaller recess. The rood-loft has
disappeared, but a stairway and window mark its former position. Note
the indications of the earlier character of the sanctuary in the E.
window and double-drained piscina. In the churchyard is a restored
cross. The "Ship" at the fork of the Lynton road is a venerable
hostelry, once patronised by Southey; and there is another quaint house
on the road to Minehead. Specimens of an oak jug peculiar to Porlock
may be obtained in the village. The nearest approach to the sea is by
the road to the _Weir_. Here a pebble ridge encloses the tide and forms
a natural pill, which a pair of dock gates transforms into a rude
harbour. The view across the bay to Hurlstone Point and Bossington is
delightful. Pretty views may also be obtained from Park Road, a long
zigzag ascent which finally joins the Lynton road. Another pleasant
walk can be taken in Hawkcombe valley (past W. end of church); whilst a
third, passing "Doverhay," may terminate at the Horner Valley (L.), or
at Stoke Pero (R.). A visit should be paid to _Allerford_, where there
is an ancient pack-horse bridge of two arches, and whence the summit of
Bossington Beacon may be reached by some charming zigzag paths through
_Portbury_, a village 8 m. N.W. of Bristol (nearest stat. Pill). It is
a place where many Roman remains have been found. It possesses a
spacious church, which has a fine Norm. recessed S. door. The chancel
arch is also of Norm. origin, but has undergone alteration. There is a
good E. window and a sanctuary bell-cot. The triple sedilia (E.E. or
Dec.) and the 17th-cent. brass in the N. aisle should be noticed. At
the junction of the roads to Portishead and Clapton are the remains of
a priory, which are now used as a school. It is said to have belonged
to an Augustinian Abbey at Bristol.
PORTISHEAD, a small town with a population of 2544, situated on the
Bristol Channel, 11-1/2 m. W. from Bristol and 8 from Clifton
Suspension Bridge. It is connected with the city by a G.W.R. branch
line, of which it is the terminus. Portishead makes a successful
attempt to combine business with pleasure. It has a biggish dock and
some large grain warehouses, and is a flourishing little port. It is
now awaking to its possibilities as a watering-place. Its chief
attraction is a wooded promontory rising behind the docks. Round this
is cut an excellent road, which finally ends in a queer little attempt
at a promenade. The "Point" has figured in history, for the possession
of a fort upon it was contested by the Royalist and Roundhead forces in
the Civil War. The church is in the middle of the old village, which
lies back from the sea. It has a stately Perp. tower crowned with a
spirelet. The interior is unreformed and disappointing. Note (1) music
gallery above S. porch, (2) Norm. font, (3) curious arch in N. aisle,
(4) sculptured heads built into chancel wall, perhaps removed from
original position as suspenders of Lenten veil (cp. Orchardleigh), (5)
pulpit reached through S. wall. Near the church is an ancient manor
house with an Elizabethan turret. Portishead possesses a fine new Naval
College, built to replace the old training-ship _Formidable.
Nightingale Valley_ is a favourite walk.
_Preston Plucknett_, a village 1-1/2 m. W. of Yeovil. Its church is not
particularly interesting, the ancient features being disguised by
recent restorations. The body of the building is thought to be late
Dec., the tower Perp. Note (1) piscina in S. transept or chapel, (2)
small doorway in N. transept, which probably once led to the rood-loft,
but now affords access to the pulpit. Hard by is a fine tithe barn with
finials on the gables, and a 15th-cent. house with a most picturesque
porch and panelled octagonal chimney.
_Priddy_, a lonely village on the top of the W. Mendips, 5 m. N.N.W. of
Wells. It enjoys a certain celebrity as one of the bleakest and most
remote spots in Somerset. Though some considerable distance from
Cheddar, it is generally regarded as part of the Cheddar _entourage_.
Nowhere can the characteristic scenery of the Mendips, with its moors,
mines, and swallets, be sampled to better advantage. Priddy, ever since
Roman times, has been the centre of the Mendip mining area (cp. p. 11),
and wild tales used to be told of the Priddy "groovers." Lead and zinc
ores are still worked in the locality. The village surrounds a large,
three-cornered green, which was once the scene of a considerable fair.
The church stands about a stone's-throw away on rising ground. It is a
Perp. building of irregular design and rough workmanship. It has a good
pillared stoup in the porch, a Jacobean screen, and fragments of a
stone pulpit. In the neighbourhood are two groups of barrows.
_Priston_, a village in a secluded dale 5-1/4 m. S.W. from Bath
(nearest stat. Camerton, 3 m.). The church is something of a deception,
for a good Norm. doorway and an exterior corbel table prepares the
visitor for the Norm. arches and arcading within; but these are
entirely modern. There is, however, some good Dec. work in the chancel;
and notice should especially be taken of the priest's doorway, the
foliated rear arches of the windows (cp. Frome), and the fine pillar