Part 4 out of 5
piscina. Observe also (1) old wooden door, (2) the lion serving as a
finial to W. gable. The tower, the base of which is perhaps Norm., is
incongruously finished with a balustrade and urn-like pinnacles.
_Publow_, a village on the Chew (nearest stat. Pensford). One of the
prettiest features of the landscape from Pensford Station is the
graceful tower of Publow Church. It is a stately structure of four
stages, with the customary projecting stone turret and spirelet. The
interior is not particularly interesting, but note (1) panelled arch on
N. of sanctuary, (2) aumbry in N. aisle, (3) square font. The pulpit
has been constructed out of two old pews. Near the church is an old
_Puckington_, a small village 3 m. N.E. of Ilminster. The oldest part
of the church (Perp.) is the chancel, which has Dec. windows, a
piscina, and triple sedilia (E.E.) (cp. Shepton Beauchamp). There is
also a Norm, font with cable moulding.
_Puriton_, a parish 3-3/4 m. N.N.E. from Bridgwater, 3/4 m. from
Dunball. The church, though old, has lost whatever features of interest
it once had. The S. porch seems formerly to have had a gallery or
parvise (note the staircase), and there is a small plain oak screen.
The neighbouring large house is _Puriton Manor_.
_Puxton_, a small village 7 m. E. of Weston-super-Mare, with a station
3 m. away. The church is a small building with a leaning tower.
Originally it was E.E. (note one of the windows), but many parts of the
fabric are much later. The porch is dated 1557. There is a good oak
pulpit, with hourglass holder, and some heavy 15th-cent. benches.
_Pylle_, a village with station (S. & D.), situated a little off the
Fosse Way, 4 m. S. of Shepton Mallet. The church (St Thomas a Becket)
has, with the exception of the tower (Perp.), been rebuilt (1868).
Opposite is a farmhouse, which was once a manorial residence of the
Berkeleys: part of the original Elizabethan building still remains.
_Quantocks, The_, a range of hills forming the W. boundary of the
spacious plain which occupies the centre of the county. Geologically,
they belong to the Devonian series of rocks. They are not of great
extent, being a comparatively narrow ridge, stretching from the
neighbourhood of Taunton in a north-westerly direction some 10 or 12 m.
to the sea, whilst their tallest summit (Will's Neck) is only 1270 ft.
But their natural attraction of woodland dells, heathy moorlands, and
mountain air are great, and are enhanced by interests which appeal both
to the lovers of sport and the lovers of literature, for upon them the
red deer is hunted (as well as upon Exmoor), and near them Coleridge
and Wordsworth made their homes. They are easily accessible on the E.
from Bridgwater, whence good roads lead to Cothelstone Beacon and
Nether Stowey (to the latter the G.W.R. runs a motor car), and on the
S. from Taunton, whence the railway to Minehead skirts their W. flanks
all the way to the coast, with stations at intervals (Bishop's Lydeard,
Crowcombe, Stogumber, Williton). On the E. side, they are cut by
numerous long and leafy combes (notably _Cockercombe_ and _Seven Wells'
Combe_), which afford easy ascents; but on the W. the slopes are much
steeper and barer. Their tops are covered with bracken, heather, scrub
oak, and quantities of whortle berries, the ripening of the last
marking the beginning of the summer holidays for the village children,
who then go "whorting." The most conspicuous summits in order from S.E.
to N.W. are _Cothelstone Beacon, Witt's Neck, Danesborough_ (where
there is a British camp), and _Longstone Hill_. A track (not fit for
cyclists) runs the whole length of the range, starting from where the
road from Bridgwater to Bagborough begins to descend to the latter
place, and ending where the hills slope towards the sea between E. and
W. Quantoxhead. _Triscombe Stone_, near the head of Cockercombe, is a
famous meet for the staghounds. At Adscombe, near Seven Wells' Combe,
are the remains of a chantry which is said to have belonged to the
monastery at Athelney. The W. window, with door beneath, still
_Quantoxhead, East_, a parish 4-1/2 m. N.E. from Williton, near the
shore. Its church retains a few interesting features, among them being
a tomb of Hugh Luttrell (1522), some carved seat ends (one with the
Luttrell arms), a Caroline pulpit (1633), and a piscina. In the
churchyard is the shaft of a cross. Near the church is Court House, an
old manor house, with the remains of a pierced parapet. It formerly
belonged to the Luttrell family.
_Quantoxhead, West_, a parish 1-1/2 m. E. of Williton. The church of St
Etheldreda (Audrey), which is beautifully situated, has been wholly
rebuilt (1856), the only ancient feature being the shaft of the
churchyard cross. In the parish is _St Audries_, the seat of Sir A.F.
_Queen Charlton_, a small village 2 m. S.W. of Keynsham, with the abbey
of which it once had an intimate connection. A fine Norm. doorway,
built into a garden wall, was originally the gateway of the abbey
court-house. The church has a central Norm, tower, but is otherwise
without interest. A Dec. arcade, now blocked, seems at one time to have
divided the sanctuary from some demolished chantry. The base and shaft
of a cross ornament the village green.
_Raddington_, a village on the border of Devonshire, 2 m. N. of Venn
Cross Station. The church contains a good panelled oak roof and a fine
screen. In the chancel is a mutilated piscina.
RADSTOCK, a small town 8-1/2 m. S.W. from Bath, with two stations close
together in the centre of the main street. It possibly derives its name
from its proximity to the Fosse Way. It is now the metropolis of the
Somerset coalfield. It is a rather disconnected sort of place, lying in
a deep valley surrounded by coal-pits, and throwing out long rows of
workmen's cottages up the hillsides. The church, originally a small
building (as the rood-stair on the S. wall indicates), has been
restored and enlarged out of all recognition. A curious _bas-relief_,
with the Crucifixion on one side and the Virgin and Child on the other,
has been built into the E. wall of the S. porch. Within the church is a
heavy Norm. font and a mutilated piscina.
_Redlynch_, a small hamlet 1-1/2 m. S.E. from Bruton. The church is
without interest. _Redlynch Park_ is the seat of the Earl of Ilchester.
_Rimpton_, a village 3/4 m. S.E. of Marston Magna Station. It has a
pretty church, cruciform in plan, with a chancel of E.E. or Dec.
origin. There is a niche for a stoup inside the S. door, and piscinas
in the chancel and S. transept. The pulpit is Jacobean, whilst some of
the carved bench-ends date from the 15th or 16th cent., and bear the
Tudor rose. Note the squint and ancient font.
_Road_, a village on the borders of Wiltshire, 4 m. N.N.E. from Frome.
The church has a heavy embattled tower, from the top of which Charles
II. is said to have reconnoitred the surrounding country after his
hurried flight from Worcester. The interior is disappointing. There is
an empty canopied recess in the S. aisle, and a piscina in the chancel.
_Rodden_, a small parish 1-1/2 m. E. from Frome. There is no village.
The church stands in a farmyard, and has to be reached by crossing the
fields. It is a quaint little pseudo-Perp. structure with a toy tower,
_Rowberrow_, 2-1/2 m. E. from Winscombe or Sandford Stations, is a
parish which was once the centre of a mining district, but the mines
are now disused. Its little church lies under Dolbury Camp. Above the
S. porch is a stone with interlaced carving.
_Ruborough Camp_. See _Broomfield_.
_Ruishton_, a village 3 m. E. of Taunton. Its church has a massive
tower, with double belfry windows and prominent buttresses, but the
absence of parapet and pinnacles gives it an unfinished appearance.
Traces of Norm. architecture remain in the S. porch, and there is some
Dec. work, in the S. chapel, but the nave is Perp. The font is richly
carved. A poor painting--the Adoration of the Magi--which is supposed
to be Flemish, forms an altarpiece. In the churchyard is the base of a
_Runnington_, a village 1 m. N.W. of Wellington. Its church is a
characterless little building at the bottom of a lane. It retains its
_St Catherine_, a parish 4 m. N.E. of Bath. It is reached by a road
from Batheaston (2 m.), through a very pretty valley (where the road
forks, turn to the L.), and has much that is interesting. Portions of
the church are late Norm. or E.E. (note the tower and chancel arches,
and the fine font, with its variety of mouldings); but it was rebuilt
by Prior Cantlow of Bath in the 15th cent. The beautiful E. window,
with its stained glass, bearing a Latin inscription, is of that date,
and so is the carved pulpit, the colours of which are believed to
reproduce the original. There is a monument, with figures, to William
Blanchard and his wife (1631), N. of the chancel. Note, too, the roof
of the choir, and the ancient glass in the S. windows. Near the church
is a cruciform tithe barn. The Grange, close by, is also the work of
Prior Cantlow; but the porch is a later addition, of Jacobean times.
_St Decuman's_. See _Watchet_.
_St Michael Church_, a small parish 1 m. N. of Durston. Its church is
correspondingly small, with a low N. tower surmounted by a pyramidal
roof. It contains one or two monuments of the Slade family.
_Saltford_, a large village (with station) 6 m. W.N.W. of Bath,
situated on the Avon. Its church, restored in 1851, is without
interest, though it has a good Norm. font, with roughly carved heads
below the bowl.
_Sampford Arundel_, a small village 2-3/4 m. S.W. of Wellington. Its
church, in which nave and aisles are covered by a single roof, has a
curious bit of sculpture (hands holding a heart) inserted in the N.
_Sampford Brett_, 1 m. S.E. of Williton, a village deriving its name
from the family of Brett, one of whose members took part in the murder
of Thomas a Becket. The church is cruciform, but the plan is obscured
by the position of the tower and a chapel on the S. side. The only
objects of interest are (1) the carved seat ends, one of which has the
figure of a lady (supposed to be Florence Windham, of whom it is
related that she was buried when in a trance, from which she was
awakened by the sexton, who opened her coffin in order to steal her
rings), (2) the effigy of a mailed warrior (in the vestry), presumably
one of the Bretts.
_Seavington St Mary_, a small village 3 m. E. from Ilminster, on the
road to Ilchester. The church stands by the wayside, a little apart
from the village. It is a fairly good specimen of a plain E.E. country
church. As examples of the style note (1) S. doorway, (2) chancel arch,
comprising two remaining members of a triplet, with squint; (3) lancets
in chancel, (4) plain round font. The tower, the internal arch of which
is peculiar, has been reconstructed in Perp. times. The sanctuary
contains a trefoiled piscina and an aumbry. Inside the church doorway
is a bench bearing date 1623; it was originally the parish bier.
_Seavington St Michael_, a parish 4 m. E. of Ilminster. The church is
small, without tower or aisles. It retains two piscinas and an ancient
font; and built into the side walls are two boldly carved heads
(perhaps originally supports of the Lenten veil). Outside, exposed to
the weather, is the effigy of a woman.
_Selworthy_, a charming village 4 m. W. of Minehead, on the road to
Porlock. It is best reached from Holnicote, along a pleasant shady
lane, 1/2 m. long. There is much to repay the visitor. The church
(Perp.) has a curious pew over the S. porch, and the S. aisle (rebuilt
in 1490) has a very good roof. The mouldings of the arcade piers should
be observed, and two of the capitals have the Devonshire foliage. Note,
too (1) piscinas in the chancel and S. aisle, (2) fragments of early
glass in the E. window of the N. aisle, (3) some 16th and 17th-cent.
brasses. On the road to the church is a 15th-cent. tithe-barn; whilst
W. of the church, lying in a hollow, are some interesting almhouses,
known as "Selworthy Green." _Selworthy Beacon_, rising above the
village, is 1014 ft. above the sea.
_Shapwick_, a village 4-1/2 m. W. of Glastonbury, situated on the
Poldens. Its church has a central tower (no transepts) supported on
E.E. arches. There are piscinas in the S. and N. walls of the aisles,
and a large mural monument of the 17th cent.; otherwise it contains
nothing of interest.
_Shepton Beauchamp_, a village 4 m. N.E. of Ilminster, and about the
same distance S.W. of Martock. The church has a fair tower, which (like
that of Hinton St George) is lighted by a single large window, common
to the belfry stage and the stage below. The W. face has in a niche the
figure of a bishop or a mitred abbot; the S. side has St Michael. The
tower arch is panelled and the vault groined. The arcade has pointed,
chamfered arches, supported on octagonal pillars, and there is a small
clerestory. The massive character of one of the piers of the arcade
suggests that the church originally had a central tower. The chancel
has a Dec. E. window (restored), a piscina, and triple sedilia, E.E.
There is also a piscina in the N. chapel. The font is ancient. There is
an old Perp. house opposite the church, now used as an institute.
SHEPTON MALLET, a market town of 5238 inhabitants, on the S.E. slope of
the Mendips, 5 m. E. from Wells. It has two railway stations, one (S. &
D.) putting it in touch with Bath and Templecombe, the other (G.W.R.)
with Wells and Frome. The ancient Fosse Way skirts the town on the E.
It is a place of some antiquity, deriving its name from its former
connection with the Mallets of Curry Mallet, and has had a career of
respectable commercial mediocrity. Cloth, crape, and knitted stockings
once formed its staple trade; but its present prosperity rests chiefly
on beer, a gigantic brewery being now its principal business
institution. The town has few attractions for the casual visitor, for
the streets are narrow and inconvenient without being venerable. It
possesses, however, a remarkably fine late 15th-cent. hexagonal
market-cross, crowned with a very graceful spirelet: note brass on one
of the piers to Walter Buckland and Agnes, his wife. The church has a
good W. Perp. tower (spoilt by the stump of a spire), which has served
probably as the model for some of its neighbours (e.g., Cranmore).
The interior, originally E.E., was never handsome, and has been ruined
artistically by the erection of some huge aisles, with galleries, which
have absorbed the transepts. The wooden roof to the nave is, however,
the most splendid in the county. It contains 350 panels, each
displaying a different device. Note (1) E.E. chancel and transeptal
arches, and arcade of nave; (2) fine 15th-cent. stone pulpit, (3)
double pillar piscinas, E.E.; (4) effigies of knights in armour,
supposed to be Mallets, stowed away on the window sills; (5) organ
chamber, once a double-floored vestry; (6) old font and good brass to
Wm. and Joan Strode of Barrington, beneath tower. The proximity of the
town to the Fosse Way has led to the unearthing of several Roman
remains, which may be inspected in the museum near the church. The
foundations of a Roman brick-kiln were discovered on the site of the
brewery. A few old houses--the relics of the old cloth-working
days--may be found amongst the crowd of cottages on the banks of the
stream. The road to Wells runs through a beautiful valley, which, by
some sinister inspiration, has been chosen as the site of the town
[Illustration: SHEPTON MALLET CROSS]
_Shepton Montague_, a village 2 m. S. from Bruton. The church stands by
the side of the railway some distance away from the houses. It is a
Perp. building, with a tower on the S. side (cp. Stanton Drew). The
interior contains piscinas in chancel and on S. wall, and a circular
Norm. font. In the churchyard is the base of a cross.
_Shipham_, a village on the Mendips 2 m. E. from Winscombe (G.W.R.).
The church is modern.
_Skilgate_, a village 5 m. E. from Dulverton. The church has been
_Solsbury Hill_. See _Batheaston_.
SOMERTON, a small town of nearly 2000 people, 7 m. S. of Glastonbury,
with a station on the G.W.R. loop line from Castle Cary to Langport.
Though centrally situated and occupying a prominent position on high
ground, Somerton has all the appearance of a town which the world has
forgotten. An air of placid decadence hangs about its old-fashioned
streets, and few would guess that here was once the capital of the
Somersaetas, the Saxon tribe from which Somerset derives its name.
Beyond its possession of a small shirt and collar factory it has no
pretensions to modern importance, and it has evidently done its best to
cover up its traces of ancient dignity. Its castle has long ago been
absorbed by the "White Hart" (the thickness of its walls in one place
is very noticeable). A market cross of 1673, with an open arcade, still
stands as the memorial of its former merchandise. The church is a good,
dignified building, with one or two features of interest, notably a
splendid panelled roof, which will repay inspection. An octagonal tower
with a square E.E. chapel beneath it stands at the E. end of the S.
aisle. The rest of the church (with the exception of the chancel,
clerestory, and upper part of tower) is Dec. Within are a few old
bench-ends, a dated pulpit (1615) and altar (1626), and a somewhat
incongruous reredos, which is said to have been originally a screen.
Note (1) in the N. chapel, 17th-cent. brass; (2) in S. chapel, effigy
of female ascribed to the 11th cent.; (3) early piscina. In the wall of
porch is a recess which might be either a niche or a stoup. After the
Battle of Sedgemoor the key of the church (it is related) was turned
upon a batch of rebel prisoners, who relieved the tedium of their
captivity by playing ball. Some of their balls are said to have been
found in the roof during repairs. A good view of the surrounding
country is obtained from the road to Langport.
_Sparkford_, a village 7 m. N. from Yeovil, with a station on the
G.W.R. line to Weymouth. This is the nearest station for Cadbury Camp.
The church, with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt in 1824, in
the sham Gothic of the day. It is of interest only to the bell-hunter.
It possesses a pre-Reformation bell with an inscription, _Caterina, ora
pro nobisi_. _Sparkford Hall_ stands in a park bordering the Ilchester
_Spaxton_, a village 5 m. W. of Bridgwater. Its church possesses
several features of interest. Though mainly Perp., it retains two Dec.
windows in the N. wall, and the E. window has plate tracery, though
this may not be original. Some of the pillars of the arcade exhibit the
Devonshire foliage. Note (1) in the chancel, the fine 14th-cent. tomb,
supporting two effigies in exceptionally good preservation--possibly
one of the Hulles (or Hills), who possessed the manor in the 14th and
15th cents.; (2) carved seat ends, one representing a fuller at his
work (cloth was formerly much made in the W.), and others bearing the
dates 1536 and 1561; (3) ancient alms-box, with its three locks; (4) in
the churchyard, a fine cross, with the rood carved on two sides of the
head (very rare), and a figure on each of the others. Near the church
are some ancient buildings (now a farm).
_Standerwick_. See _Beckington_.
_Stanton Drew_, a village 1-1/2 m. W. from Pensford Station. In summer
a conveyance meets some of the trains to carry visitors to the site of
the Somerset Stonehenge, for which the village is famous. There is a
more direct footpath across the fields. _En route_ should be observed,
on a spur of the hill to the R., a large tumulus, _Maes Knoll_. One of
the curiosities of the place is _Hautville's Quoit_, which, to save
time, should also be looked for on approaching the village. (Enter iron
gate on L. a few hundred yards before reaching tollhouse, and search
backwards along the hedge bordering road.) It is a large stone, which
legend says was hurled by Sir J. Hautville (whose effigy is in Chew
Magna Church) from the top of Maes Knoll. The famous "druidical remains"
will be found near the church. About 50 yards from the entrance to
the churchyard take a lane to the L. leading to an orchard: the stones
will be observed in the field beyond (admission free, but field closed
on Sundays). The "remains" consist of three contiguous circles. The
first is of considerable area, and is marked out by twelve large
stones, only three of which remain upright; a smaller circle of eight
stones lies just beyond; and a third circle of eight will be found
farther away in an orchard on the R. The two larger circles have each a
few scattered stones thrown off as a kind of avenue. Standing apart
from the circles is a curious group of three stones huddled together in
a garden abutting on the churchyard, from which they can be easily seen
by looking over the W. boundary wall. These mystic rings probably had
the same origin (whatever that may have been) as that of the more
famous circle at Avebury in Wiltshire, with which they should be
compared. The proximity of Maes Knoll is comparable with that of
Silbury Hill. A ridiculous theory suggests that the monoliths were
erected as a trophy after one of Arthur's victories. The country story
is that a local wedding once took place on a Sunday, when the frivolous
guests would insist on winding up with a dance. The penalty for a
"Sabbath" thus "profaned" was the prompt transformation of the bridal
party into stone. Hence the local appellation of "The fiddlers and the
maids." The church is of very secondary interest: there is nothing in
it calling for detailed notice. But the fine mediaeval rectory should
be observed. It stands near the bridge at the entrance of the village,
and bears the arms of its builder, Bishop Beckington. The farm near the
church has an ecclesiastical-looking window and some carved finials.
_Stanton Prior_, a small and secluded village 6 m. W.S.W. of Bath,
situated at the bottom of a lane a little to the E. of the Wells and
Keynsham Road. The church contains on N. wall a quaint memorial to some
member of the Cox family (1644-50). Some figures in Puritan costume are
carved in high relief, kneeling beside a bier. Note in porch (1) stoup
and recess at side of doorway, (2) in jamb of doorway within, an
earlier stoup, (3) Dec. tabernacle. Facing the village is the wooded
hill of _Stantonbury_ (to be distinguished from its barer neighbour
Wynbury). The summit contains a fine camp of considerable area, and
commands a remarkable prospect. (Take lane to Corston, turn into a
field adjoining an orchard on L., and ascend). The view from the far
side of the camp is striking. Bath and Keynsham lie near at hand; on
the N.W. are Dundry and the factory chimneys of Bristol, and in the
distance the Monmouthshire hills; to the S. is Stanton Prior in the
foreground, and beyond, the long line of the Mendips stretching away to
the R.; whilst on the L. may be discerned the Wiltshire Downs and
Alfred's Tower at Stourton.
_Staple Fitzpaine_, a parish 5-1/2 m. S.E. of Taunton. Its church is
distinguished for an exceptionally beautiful W. tower. Though it is not
lofty, its decoration is unusually rich. It has double windows in the
belfry stage, and the single windows in the stage below are flanked
with niches; whilst the summit is crowned with pierced battlements and
graceful crocketed pinnacles. The S. door is Norm., with rather
uncommon mouldings. The interior is of less interest: it contains a
small screen. The cross in the churchyard has a modern head,
elaborately carved with figures and scenes.
_Staplegrove_, a parish which is virtually a suburb of Taunton. Of the
church the only ancient part is the tower (on the S. side). The rest of
the fabric has undergone restoration, though it retains a hagioscope
and two piscinas.
_Stavordale_, a small hamlet 3-1/2 m. N.E. of Wincanton. Here an
Augustinian priory was founded in 1263 by R. Lovel, the existing
conventual church being built in 1443. The remains are now converted
into a private residence. The shell of the church is intact, and a
small bell-cot will be seen marking the division between the chancel
and the nave. The roof of the chancel is unusually flat. On the N. is a
projecting chapel containing a fan-traceried roof of considerable
merit, but the interior of the building is not now on view.
_Stawell_, a parish 3-1/2 m. S.W. of Edington Station. Its church
(restored in 1874) has a low gabled tower, and once had an aisle, the
piers of the arcade being still visible; but it has been restored, and
its early features lost.
_Stawley_, a village on the Tone, 3 m. S.E. of Venn Cross station. The
church is a small E.E. building with a W. tower, on the face of which
is a series of twelve panels bearing the inscription, _Pray for the
souls of Henry Hine and Agnes his wyffe_, A.D. 1522.
_Stockland Bristol_, which derives its name from the fact that it
formed part of the endowment of Gaunt's Hospital, in Bristol, is a
parish 7 m. N.W. from Bridgwater. Its church has been entirely rebuilt
(1865), but retains its Perp. font.
_Stocklinch_, a village 2-1/2 m. N.E. of Ilminster. Its small church
has no tower. The E. window is Dec.; there is a sun-dial of 1612, and
an ancient font.
_Stogumber_, 5 m. S. by E. of Watchet, with a station about a mile
away. It is a large village at the foot of the Brendons, and preserves
in its name the memory of its Norman lord, Stogumber being a corruption
of Stoke Gomer (cp. Stogursey). A spring on the hillside has medicinal
qualities, and the water is used for brewing a particular kind of ale.
The church, in the main Perp., is an interesting structure, with a
tower at the S.W. corner. The tower arches, pointed and recessed, are
supported on chamfered piers without capitals, and two piers of the S.
arcade have only rude capitals, and are constructed of different stone
from other parts of the church. They are presumably much older than the
rest of the building. There are two porches and two chapels, the N.
chapel having been built by Cardinal Beaufort, whose manor-house
(_Halsway_) is at the foot of the Quantocks (see _Bicknoller_). Note
(1) the squint, passing through two piers (very exceptional); (2) the
seat-ends, one with arms and motto, _Tyme tryeth troth_; (3) the tomb
of Sir George Sydenham (d. 1664), with his two wives beside him, and
three infants (swaddled) and their nurse at his feet; (4) the brass on
the N. wall to Margery Windham (d. 1585). On the exterior of the
building there are some very good animal gargoyles, and two curious
figures on the gables of the S. chapel. The churchyard cross is modern.
_Combe Sydenham_, 2 m. away, was the seat of the Sydenham family, one
of whose members became the wife of Sir Francis Drake.
_Stogursey_ or _Stoke Courcy_, a village 9 m. N.W. of Bridgwater. It
derives its name from the Norman family of De Courcy, and is a place of
much interest. Its spacious church, originally cruciform in plan, with
a central tower surmounted by a lead-covered spire of disproportionate
size, is remarkable for its series of Norm. arches (in parts restored)
which lead into the chancel, transepts, and chapels. The pier-capitals
exhibit great variety of carving, some having rough volutes of a
classical type, whilst several of the arches have the "tooth" ornament.
The font is also Norm. The body of the church dates from the 15th cent.
The W. window deserves notice, the upper lights representing the six
days of creation, with Our Lord as Creator. The N. transept was
dedicated to St Erasmus, the S. to "Our Lady of Pity." The chapel of
the latter contains two tombs (1) of Sir Ralph Verney (d. 1352); (2) of
Sir John Verney (d. 1461): note on the shield of the second the ferns
or "verns." Other features of interest in the church are (1) the three
piscinas, (2) carved seat-ends, (3) chamber over vestry, (4) door
leading from S. transept to neighbouring Priory. Of this Priory (which
was attached to the Benedictine Abbey of Lonlay, in Normandy) all that
remains is the dove-cot, the circular building in the farmyard near the
The De Courcys had a castle here, of which there are a few fragmentary
remains, including the base of two round towers. In the course of its
history it underwent many changes of ownership, finally passing into
the hands of 1457, during the Wars of the Roses, by Lord Bonville,
brother-in-law of the Earl of Warwick.
In the village street is the base of an ancient cross; whilst a bell on
some alms-houses, which rings at six every morning and evening, is said
to date from the reign of Henry V.
_Stoke, East_ (or _Stoke-sub-Hamdon_), 1-1/2 m. W. from Montacute. It
has a remarkably interesting church, exhibiting an exceptional
combination of various styles of architecture. At present it is
cruciform in plan, with a tower on the N. (cp. Tintinhull) the basement
of which constitutes the N. transept; but originally it consisted of a
Norm. nave and chancel only. Of the Norm. church note (1) N. porch,
with quadripartite groining, supported on quaint corbels; (2) N.
doorway, with carved tympanum exhibiting the zodiacal figure
_Sagittarius_ aiming at a lion, with the _Agnus Dei_ above (King
Stephen is said to have assumed Sagittarius on his badge because he
obtained the kingdom when the sun was in that sign); (3) S. doorway,
now blocked; (4) two very small windows in nave, one displaying outside
a rude representation of St Michael and the Dragon; (5) recessed
chancel arch; (6) round-headed window in chancel, visible only on the
outside; (7) corbels under chancel roof; (8) flat buttresses at W. end;
(9) font with cable and lozenge mouldings. To this Norm. building an
E.E.N. transept was added, with a tower above (the groining supported
on beautifully-carved corbels) which has two lancets on each face. In
the Dec. period there was added the S. transept; foliated lancets were
inserted in the nave and chancel walls (those in the nave breaking the
splays of the Norm. slits); a large window (with reticulated tracery)
was placed at the W. end, and a second with flowing tracery introduced
into the ribbed chamber over the N. porch. Still later, Perp. windows
were inserted in the E. and S. walls. Other noteworthy features are (1)
the piscinas, one (double) being under a massive canopy at the S.E.
corner of the chancel, a second in the S. transept, and a third (for
the rood-loft altar) on the E. pier of the transept; (2) Perp. stone
screen under the tower (obviously not in its original position); (3)
squints; (4) effigies, one (in the chancel) of a knight under a
Renaissance canopy, the other (in the S. transept) of an ecclesiastic;
(5) Jacobean pulpit; (6) stand for an hour glass; (7) low side windows
in the chancel.
At the hamlet of _West Stoke_ is _Parsonage Farm_, originally a chantry
house, where should be noticed the Tudor gateway, the hall, a gabled
room surmounted by a bell-cot, and a circular columbarium. The chantry
which was served by the priests who resided here, no longer exists.
Above the village is _Hamdon Hill_, an eminence 426 ft. above sea
level. It consists of inferior oolite, which furnishes excellent
building stone, and the hill in consequence is honeycombed with
quarries. On the summit is a very extensive British camp covering 2O0
acres, part of which was subsequently occupied by the Romans in order
to command the ford where the Fosseway (which runs near) crossed the
Parrett. The rampart is nearly 3 m. in circumference. Near the N. side
of the camp is a hollow called the "Frying-pan," which is thought to
have been an amphitheatre; but it looks too small to have served for
_Stoke, North_, a small village 5 m. N.W. of Bath (nearest stat.
Kelston, 1-1/2 m.). The church has a low tower originally Norm. The
tower arch is round-headed, without mouldings, whilst the chancel arch
is pointed and probably rather later than that of the tower. There is a
very massive rectangular font, said to be Saxon; note the roughly
carved heads at the corners. A very fine view of the neighbourhood may
be obtained by proceeding from the village to the Lansdowne golf links.
_Stoke Pero_ a parish on the edge of Exmoor, 3-1/2 m. S. of Porlock.
Its little church, with its gable tower, lies under a spur of Dunkery,
and is interesting more for its isolated situation than for anything
else. It may be reached either by the Horner woods and Cloutsham, or
from Porlock by a path that crosses Ley Hill. The wooden N. doorway is
ascribed to the 14th cent.
_Stoke, Rodney_, a village prettily situated at the foot of the
Mendips, 5 m. N.W. from Wells (nearest stat. Draycott, 1 m.). Its
little Perp. church (St Leonard) is principally noteworthy for a
mortuary N. chapel, containing several tombs and monuments of the
Rodney family. One of these--that of Sir Thomas Rodney--dates from the
15th cent.; the others are later. Other features which deserve
attention are (1) large stoup in N. porch; (2) ancient font (late
Norm.), with its cover; (3) screen (1624, given by Sir Edward Rodney
whose monument is among those referred to above); (4) carved pulpit.
_Stoke St Gregory_, a parish 2 m. S. of Athelney Station. It has an
interesting church, which, like that of its neighbour North Curry, is
cruciform with a central octagonal tower. The oldest parts are E.E.
(note in particular the E. windows of the S. transept, of which the
piers have E.E. capitals as bases, and the base of the tower). The rest
of the building was reconstructed in Perp. times. The figures (of
Apostles) on the outside of the tower are modern, though the pedestals
are ancient. There is a little ancient glass in one of the N. windows;
but the most noteworthy features of the church are the carved Jacobean
pulpit, a cupboard in the vestry made from the former reading-desk, and
the carved bench ends. The pulpit has five figures in relief which
should be compared with similar ones at Thurloxton and North Newton.
They represent Time, Faith, Hope, Charity, and (probably) the Virgin
and Child. There are also five carved figures on the vestry cupboard,
which are possibly the five Wise Virgins. The W. door is closed by a
bar inserted in the wall. Note the niched figure in the S. porch. At
_Slough Farm_ is an old moated manor house.
_Stoke St Mary_, a parish 2 m. E. of Thorne Falcon Station. Its church
(restored) is prettily situated, but contains nothing to interest the
_Stoke St Michael_ (or _Stoke Lane_), a compact but uninteresting
village, 3 m. N. of Cranmore Station. Its church is an instructive
example of architectural depravity, but internally has been much
improved. The tower is ancient but poor. About a mile E. of the village
are the ruins of a villa once owned by the notorious Duke of
_Stoke, South_, a parish 2-1/2 m. S. of Bath. The church has a fine
Norm. doorway, with carved tympanum and pillars, and zigzag and other
mouldings round the arch.
_Stoke Trister_ is a small hamlet of mean appearance, 2 m. E. of
Wincanton. It has a modern church (1841).
_Ston Easton_, a small wayside village, 2-1/2 m. S. of Hallatrow
station. The church is an unpretentious little Perp. building, with a
rather fine Norm. chancel arch, and has been well restored. _Ston
Easton House_ stands in a well-wooded park, and possesses an old carved
oak ceiling and an ancient staircase.
_Stowell_, a very small parish 1 m. W. of Templecombe, which probably
gets its name from the spring seen near the church. The church itself
was originally built in the 15th cent., but only the tower arch belongs
to this date. The nave is quite modern (1834), but it preserves a Norm.
_Stowey_, a parish 2 m. W. of Clutton. It has a small church,
noteworthy for the irregularity of its windows (the small one in the S.
wall was originally the S. door). It has a 14th cent. font (note the
cockle-shell); and an interesting bit of sculpture is built into the
exterior N. wall of the chancel. Near it is an incised pair of shears
(a woolstaplers' mark). Not far from the church is an old manor house,
half of which has been destroyed. Within the parish is _Sutton Court_
(Sir E. Strachey), a house which has historical associations, for here
Bishop Hooper found an asylum during the Marian persecution. The
mansion is of considerable antiquity, parts of it dating from the reign
of Edward II., and others from Tudor times.
_Stowey, Nether_, a village 9 m. W. from Bridgwater (from which place
there is a motor service). It owes its interest to having been the
residence of S.T. Coleridge from 1796 to 1798: his cottage, marked by a
tablet, is at the end of the village on the Minehead road. Both
"Christabel" and "The Ancient Mariner," as well as several of his
shorter poems, are said to have been partly written in this
neighbourhood. Here he must have entertained Wordsworth, Charles Lamb,
William Hazlitt, and many others of his literary friends. A movement
has been recently started to purchase the cottage for the nation. The
church contains nothing of note except a mural tablet in memory of
Thomas Poole, described as the friend of "Wordsworth and Davy (i.e. Sir
Humphrey), Southey, and Coleridge": his tomb is on the W. side of the
S. door. The two painted mitres beneath the roof-beams commemorate two
vicars who became bishops (Majendie of Chester and Fisher of Exeter).
[Illustration: NETHER STOWEY]
Near the church is _Stowey Court_, a 15th cent. mansion which was
garrisoned in the Civil War. There are three fish ponds in the grounds,
and a curious summer-house (called the "Gazebo") overlooking the road
(cp. Montacute). On Castle hill (take road to left where the highway
from Bridgwater forks at the sign-post) are the foundations and
ramparts of a castle, the last owner of which, James, Lord Audley, was
executed for supporting Perkin Warbeck. The site is worth visiting for
the prospect alone.
_Stowey, Over_, a parish 9 m. W. of Bridgwater, situated on the slopes
of the Quantocks. Its church has some carved bench ends of an ordinary
type, but otherwise contains little of interest. _Quantock Lodge_ (E.J.
Stanley) is in the parish.
_Stratton on the Fosse_, a village standing (as its name implies) on
the old Roman road, 1 m. S.E. from Chilcompton Station. The parish
church (ded. to St Vigor) is entirely overshadowed by its Roman
neighbour, Downside Abbey. It is a poor little building, with a debased
tower; but preserves one or two remnants of Norm. work (e.g. a S.
doorway and a fragment of the original apse). Within is a small 15th
cent. stone pulpit, and a Norm. font.
_Street_, a populous village 1 m. S. from Glastonbury Station. It
spreads itself at considerable length along the Bridgwater road, and is
a busy and stirring place, devoted chiefly to the manufacture of boots
and shoes. It also possesses some large lias quarries which have been
prolific in fossils. The church is a disappointing building standing
well back from the village street, mainly Perp., with a rather poor
Dec. chancel; and is made still more depressing by the addition of a
very debased modern N. aisle. There is a piscina and double sedilia in
the chancel. The village is furnished with a good modern Institute,
which contains a large assembly hall and a small museum of local
_Stringston_, a small village 6 m. E. of Williton. Its little church
has a broach spire of red tiles, a great rarity in this part of the
country, and retains its piscina and the fragments of a stoup. Its most
interesting possession is its cross (14th cent.), with carvings
supposed to represent (1) the Crucifixion; (2) the Virgin and Child;
(3) a knight; (4) a bishop.
_Sutton Bingham_, a small parish on the Dorset border, 3-1/2 m. S. from
Yeovil, with a station on the L. & S.W. main line. The church is of
considerable interest and should be visited. It is a 12th-cent.
building standing on rising ground on the farther side of the station,
and shows traces of the Norm., E.E., and Dec. styles. It has no tower
or projecting bell-cot, but a couple of bells are let into the W.
gable. A good Norm. arch, only 6 ft. wide, with zigzag ornament,
divides the aisleless nave from the chancel; and other indications of
Norm. workmanship are found in the N. porch and in two windows of the
nave. The chancel is E.E. and is lighted by lancets. Round the walls
and in the splays of the windows are a series of 14th-cent. frescoes,
representing the Coronation of the Virgin, and a number of bishops,
saints, and virgins. A figure in the splay of the E. window has been
carefully erased by some "conscientious objector." Note (1) E.E.
piscina in chancel; (2) late Norm. font. In the churchyard is a curious
cross, consisting of a headless shaft mounted on a raised slab,
seemingly a tombstone.
_Sutton, Long_, a village 3 m. S. of Somerton, said to have been the
quarters of Goring before the Battle of Langport. Its church (Perp.)
will repay inspection. The tower is unusually lofty, and has triple
belfry windows; but in workmanship it is inferior to most of its class,
too much space being left between the windows and the parapet. The most
interesting feature of the church is its woodwork. The nave roof is
very good, having embattled tie-beams, ornamented with angels, and open
Perp. tracery above. There is a rich painted and gilded Perp. screen,
with loft carrying the organ, and a highly decorated wooden pulpit of
the same period (restored 1868). Note also (1) stoup outside W. door;
(2) fine niche in N. porch; (3) piscinas on N. chancel pier and in
chancel; (4) blocked squints; (5) sedilia (resembling those at Shepton
Beauchamp). In the churchyard is the carved socket of a cross.
_Sutton Mallet_, a hamlet near the base of the Polden Hills, 4 m. S. of
Edington Station. Its church, of "debased" character, is of no
_Sutton Montis_, a parish 2 m. S.E. of Sparkford, lying under the S.
side of Cadbury Hill (hence its name). Its church has a low W. tower,
with a massive belfry staircase and a most incongruous "classical"
porch attached to the S. door (cp. Queen Camel). Inside is a good Norm.
chancel arch, Dec. chancel windows (restored), and a large piscina
(restored). One of the bells is of pre-Reformation date.
_Swainswick_, a village 3 m. N.N.E. of Bath, reached by a lane from the
Cheltenham road. Its name is perhaps connected with the Danish chief
Swegen (Sweyn); and it was the birthplace of William Prynne (b. 1600).
The church has a gable-topped tower, and retains some ancient features.
The S. door is Norm. (note the stoup), whilst the tower arch seems E.E.
A window in the S. wall has flowing tracery with an ogee moulding. Note
(1) in N. chapel a piscina; (2) in chancel a brass (said to have once
been on an altar-tomb) of the date 1439.
_Swell_, a parish 4 m. S.W. of Langport. It has a small Perp. church
(very dilapidated) which retains a Norm. door. Note in the interior (1)
piscina and niches; (2) fragments of ancient glass; (3) pulpit and
reading-desk of 1634.
_Tatworth_, a parish 2 m. S. of Chard. The church is modern, but a
Baptist place of worship, a plain, thatched building at South Chard, is
supposed to have been an ancient chapel. It is locally known as St
Margaret's, and over the doorway is an empty niche. For a curious
custom of holding a sale by candlelight, see under _Chedzoy_.
[Illustration: TAUNTON FROM THE RIVER]
TAUNTON, county town on the Tone (whence its name), 163 m. from London,
and 44-1/2 S.W. from Bristol; pop. 21,000. A spacious station on the
G.W.R. main line, Bristol to Exeter, forms a junction for the Yeovil,
Chard, Minehead, and Barnstaple branches. The town is commodious, and
its railway facilities make it an excellent centre. The streets are
spacious and well-built, and converge upon a triangular market place
which is rather spoilt by an ugly market hall in its centre. Though
Taunton wears a prosperous and progressive air, it has behind it a very
venerable history which is not without a flavour of stirring times. It
finds a place in our national annals on four notable occasions. (1) In
710 King Ina of Wessex pushed the West Welsh beyond the Tone and
erected a castle at Taunton as a barrier against their return. The site
was subsequently fortified afresh by the Normans. (2) In 1497 Perkin
Warbeck, in his dash for the throne, seized the town, but fled in
terror at the approach of the Royal forces. (3) During the Civil War it
was alternately occupied by the Royalists and Parliamentarians, and in
1643 Blake successfully withstood here attacks from Hopton and Goring;
and the town was punished at the Restoration for this robust resistance
by the demolition of its fortifications and the loss of its charter.
(4) In 1685 the sentiments of the place were again enthusiastically
"agin the government," and Monmouth was accorded here a royal ovation
and was proclaimed king in the market-place. But this _coup de theatre_
was only an introductory farce to the grim tragedy which followed. When
Monmouth's hopes of sovereignty were rudely shattered by the _melee_ at
Sedgemoor the town was handed over for pacification to the tender
mercies of Kirke and the brutal justice of Jeffreys. The rebels got
short shrift from both. Kirke, without preliminary inquiry, swung the
culprits from the sign-board of his lodgings, and Jeffreys' law was
notorious for its despatch. So numerous were the executions that Bishop
Ken complained to the king that "the whole diocese was tainted with
death." The name Tangier still attaches to the district where Kirke
penned his "lambs," and the old "White Hart" (now a shop) at the corner
of Fore Street marks the Colonel's own quarters. Jeffreys' lodgings
have been demolished, perhaps under the impression that nothing was
needed to keep alive the memory of the "Bloody Assize." The
ecclesiastical interests of Taunton were from early days associated
with the see of Winchester, and the establishment of a priory here
early in the 12th cent. was the see's acknowledgment of its
obligations. Nothing of this benefaction now remains but the monastic
barn near St James's Church.
The parish church of _St Mary Magdalene_, though far the finest church
in Taunton, was originally only a subordinate chapel-of-ease to the
monastery. It is a spacious building, noteworthy for its imposing tower
and quadruple aisles. Its probable designer was Sir R. Bray, Henry
VII.'s architect, and the king is supposed to have contributed to its
erection. The present tower is claimed to be a conscientious
reproduction of the original fabric, removed in 1858 as dangerous. It
is a lofty and ornate structure of four storeys, decorated with a
triple tier of double windows, and divided at the stages by bands of
quatrefoils. A crown of elaborate tabernacle work--a perfect medley of
battlements and pinnacles--forms the cresting. The general design,
though highly artificial, is well balanced. Note (1) the stoups on
either side of the W. doorway; (2) the carvings (part of the original
fabric) in the spandrels above. The S. porch--a very successful and
noteworthy feature of the church--is dated 1508, The rest of the
building must be nearly contemporaneous. The interior is rich, but
somewhat devoid of interest. Note (1) the four aisles--an unusual
arrangement, occurring also at Manchester Cathedral and St Michael's,
Coventry; (2) the E.E. piers to N. aisle; (3) the fine oak roof of
nave; (4) canopied figure (modern) of St Mary Magdalene on one of the
nave piers; (5) monument of Robert Gray, with a laudatory and rhyming
epitaph in N. wall; (6) figures of apostles between clerestory lights
(cp. Bruton). _St James's Church_ has a good tower with turret and
spirelet--likewise rebuilt. The interior is well proportioned and gains
an air of great spaciousness from an unusually lofty chancel. The most
noteworthy feature of the church is its splendid font, richly adorned
with figures of apostles and ecclesiastics. The pulpit is dated 1633.
Hard by, and in close proximity to the county cricket ground, is the
_Priory Barn_, the only remnant of Taunton's once considerable and
wealthy priory: note the windows--perhaps insertions from other
fragments of the monastic buildings. _The Castle_, after centuries of
complete neglect, underwent a well-intentioned but unfortunate
restoration by Sir B. Hammet, but is now in the appropriate possession
of the Somerset Archaeological Society, who have transformed it into a
museum. The buildings, as they now stand, include (1) an outer
gateway--the Castle Bow--now incorporated with Clarke's Hotel (note the
portcullis groove); (2) a rectangular block consisting of Edwardian
additions to an original Norm. keep and a great hall (fee for entrance,
2d.). Note (1) the arms of Bishop Langton, of Winchester, and Henry
VII. over central gateway; (2) the drum tower (now the committee-room
and library) at S.W. corner; (3) the immense thickness of the walls of
the keep with its Norm. buttresses, and the lighter superstructure,
with its Dec. windows, above; (4) the Great Hall, the scene of the
Bloody Assize--a remarkably spacious chamber built by Bishop Horne,
1577. The shelves of the museum are stocked with a large collection of
antiquities add natural-history specimens: the case containing the
relics from Sedgemoor is of special interest. The exhibition as a whole
would gain in point by being confined to objects connected with the
Other things worthy of attention in Taunton are (1) the old Grammar
School in Corporation Street, now incorporated with the Municipal
Buildings, (2) the two fine old houses opposite the Market Hall, (3)
Gray's and Pope's alms-houses in East Street, (4) the old thatched
alms-houses (originally a lepers' hospital) at the E. extremity of the
town, in East Reach, bearing on the wall Abbot Bere's monogram and
arms. A visit should be paid to _Vivary Park_ at the end of High
Street, a tastefully laid-out public recreation ground on the site of
the old monastic fishponds. The Shire Hall, in Shuttern, a somewhat
pretentious modern building, contains a number of busts of Somerset
worthies. A rough lane striking off to the R. from the Trull road leads
to an old Roman causeway crossing a narrow, one-arched bridge locally
known as _Ramshorn Bridge_.
_Tellisford_, a small village 1 m. S. of Farleigh Hungerford. Its
church has a passing likeness to that at Farleigh; it preserves within
the porch a stoup and a fair Trans. doorway.
_Templecombe_ (or _Abbas Combe_), an inconsiderable village at the S.E.
extremity of the county, with an important station on the S. & D. and
L. & S.W. lines. The church is ancient but uninteresting, and seems to
have been considerably altered. It contains a curious E.E. font. The
tower is somewhat peculiar, and forms the S. porch. On the rising
ground at the S. of the village are the remains of a _preceptory_ of
the Knights Templars, founded in the 12th cent. by Serlo Fitz-Odo. From
this foundation the place takes its name. A long building, which was
perhaps once the refectory, but which is now used as a barn, will be
noticed abutting on a farm-house along the road to Milborne Port. In an
orchard at the back of the farm are the ruins of a small chapel.
_Thorne_ (or _Thorne Coffin_), a parish 2-1/2 m. N.W. of Yeovil. Its
small church (without a tower) contains nothing of interest except a
pulpit of the date 1624 (cp. Chilthorne Domer).
_Thorne St Margaret_, a village 3 m. W. of Wellington. Its church has
been rebuilt, and the only object of interest that it retains is a
small brass (affixed to the W. wall) with an inscription in Latin and
English, of a punning character, to a person called Worth.
_Thornfalcon_, a parish 3-1/2 m. E. of Taunton, with a station on the
Taunton and Chard line. Its Perp. church preserves some good bench-ends
dated 1542. There is a holy-water stoup inside the S. door, and an
ancient font. Not far from the church, at a spot where four ways meet,
is a roadside cross.
_Thurlbear_, a parish 3-1/2 m. S.E. of Taunton. It has a small church
which is remarkable for having fine Norm. arcades N. and S., it being
one of a very small number of churches in the immediate neighbourhood
of Taunton that retain much Norm. work. The squint is peculiar, and
there is an early font under the belfry.
_Thurloxton_, a parish half way between Taunton and Bridgwater (lying a
little off the main road), and 3 m. N.W. of Durston Station. The small
church of St Giles is noteworthy for (1) the carved oak screen, which
has rests for books attached to it, (2) the fine oak pulpit (dated
1634), with four figures in relief, three apparently representing
Faith, Hope, and Charity (cp. Stoke St Gregory), (3) the W. door, made
of one solid block of wood; over the entrance is the date 1500.
Observe, too, the piscina and the old tub font.
_Tickenham_, a village 4 m. E. from Clevedon and 3 m. from Nailsea
Station. Its church, dedicated to SS. Quiricus and Julietta, is
interesting. The tower (as at Wraxall and Brislington) is characterised
by having niches on each face rising above the parapet between the
pinnacles, and containing effigies. Externally, there should be
observed (1) the square sanctus-bell cot, (2) the E.E. porch. The
interior is very plain. The square piers of the arcades have no
capitals, and are possibly Norm., though one has at two of its angles
small pilasters with carved capitals. The chancel arch is round-headed,
probably early Norm., without mouldings. In the N. aisle there are
three life-sized effigies (two knights in full armour and a lady),
assigned to the 13th cent., and supposed to be members of the Berkeley
family. Note (1) font, (2) ancient glass.
A neighbouring farm contains some remains of an old 15th-cent. house,
once the residence of the Berkeleys.
Above Tickenham on the N. lies _Cadbury Camp_, covering about 7 acres.
It is protected by double ramparts and ditches, the former consisting
of piled limestone fragments, now almost entirely covered with turf.
Roman coins have been found within it. The position commands a fine
view, both landward and seaward.
_Timberscombe_, a small wayside village, 3 m. S.W. of Dunster on the
Dulverton road. The church (Perp.) has an unimposing tower (rebuilt
1708) with slate pyramidal spire. Within is a small coloured
rood-screen resembling that at Carhampton, but with staircase intact.
Note (1) piscinas in chancel and aisle, (2) old wooden door to N.
entrance, (3) Devonshire foliage on one of the arcade piers (cp.
Luccombe). In the churchyard is a restored cross. Half a mile beyond
the village is the manor house of _Bickham_, one wing of which was
originally a chapel.
_Timsbury_, one of the colliery villages near Radstock, 1 m. N.W. from
Camerton. Like its neighbour Paulton it stands high, but it is both
more attractive and more pleasantly situated, commanding a pretty
prospect towards Camerton, which it overlooks. The church was rebuilt
in 1826, but the chancel was added later from designs by Sir G. Scott.
_Tintinhull_ (formerly _Tyncnell_), a village 1-1/2 m. N. from
Montacute Station, preserving some old houses and possessing an
interesting church. The latter appears to be E.E. with Dec. and Perp.
insertions and additions. The massive tower is unusually placed on the
N. side, and has in the basement a blocked squint. Features of the
church which deserve notice are (1) the S. porch, which has a ribbed
roof, and supports on its gable an odd kind of sundial (cp. Middle
Chinnock), (2) stone base of rood screen, on which is a mutilated
piscina, (3) double piscina (E.E.) in chancel, (4) bench-ends (1511),
with the old seats hinged to them, (5) ancient tiles (14th cent.), (6)
Jacobean pulpit; (7) brasses, one to John Stone (d. 1416), and another,
with effigy, to John Heth (d. 1464). At one end of the churchyard is a
gate-post with an inscription; and not far away is the former rectory
(now called the _Court House_). In the village, beneath a magnificent
elm, are the ancient stocks.
_Tolland_, a village 4 m. N. by E. of Wiveliscombe. Its small church
contains little of interest, except some ancient tiles and some carved
woodwork. In the parish is an old manor house called _Gaulden Farm_,
with a large hall decorated with a fine plaster ceiling, with pendant
and cornice, but inspection of it is not easily obtained. James
Turberville, Bishop of Exeter, is said to have lived here in seclusion,
when deprived of his see in 1559.
_Treborough_, a small village 6 m. S.W. of Williton. The district is
hilly, and the church small.
_Trull_, a village 2 m. S.W. of Taunton, on the Honiton road. Its
church is of no great architectural interest, but is remarkable for its
woodwork--rood-screen, pulpit, and seat ends. The screen is very good:
note above it the tympanum, projecting below the chancel arch and
formerly joined to the rood-loft by an oak addition. The pulpit has
five figures in high relief, which seem to represent an apostle, a
pope, a cardinal, and two bishops (or perhaps a bishop and a mitred
abbot). Among the bench-ends are panels representing figures in a
religious procession, including (1) a boy with a cross, (2) a man with
a candle, (3) a man with a reliquary, (4) and (5) two ecclesiastics (or
perhaps choristers) with books. The artist's name (Simon Warman) and
the date of his work (1560) are engraved at the W. end of the N. aisle.
There is also some excellent ancient glass in the E. and S. windows of
the chancel. In the churchyard, under a tree, are preserved the parish
_Twerton_, a populous working-class suburb on the W. side of Bath, with
a station on the G.W.R. main line to Bristol. The name of the place
(the town at the weir) betrays its Saxon origin, but the only thing
known of its early history is that the Bath monks had a cloth mill
here. A large clothing factory, which is one of the chief industries of
the place, after a fashion perpetuates the tradition. The old village
and church lie on the S. side of the railway embankment, and may be
found by passing under the station archway. The church has more than
once been entirely rebuilt, but still retains a commonplace Perp.
tower. A photograph in the vestry shows a curious inscription on one of
the battlements. A good Norm. doorway, now built into the N. porch, and
a Norm. font, are relics of the original church. Henry Fielding lodged
in one of the houses in the village and penned a portion of "Tom Jones"
_Ubley_, a village 2 m. S.E. of Blagdon. The church tower has rather an
odd appearance, as in addition to a low spire, it has a prominent stair
turret with pyramidal cap. Within, the N. arcade has been pushed out of
the perpendicular by the weight of the roof. At the entrance of the S.
chapel is a chained copy of Erasmus' Paraphrase of the Gospels, 1522
(cp. Bruton). The pulpit is Jacobean, and the altar bears date 1637.
The churchyard is beautifully kept, and a very handsome restored cross
stands on a little "green" fronting at the churchyard gate.
_Uphill_, a village at the mouth of the Axe, 2 m. S. of
Weston-super-Mare. It is an unattractive collection of cottages without
any present-day interest. Somewhere, however, in the neighbourhood once
existed the old Roman seaport of Axium, where the lead dug from the
Mendips was shipped for export. The church is early Victorian Gothic,
with a new chancel. The old ruined church on the hill is a conspicuous
landmark from Weston. It is a Norm. building, altered in Perp. times,
with a low central tower. Note (1) the restored Norm. N. doorway; (2)
three-faced gargoyle on S. side of tower. Near the church is the shell
of a watch-tower. The old Roman road which ran across the Mendips from
Old Sarum had its terminus here. Uphill was once notable for a bone
cavern, but this has now been destroyed by the encroachments of a
quarry. The contents, which included many valuable remains of extinct
animals, have been scattered amongst neighbouring museums.
_Upton_, a village on the Haddeo, 6 m. E.N.E. of Dulverton. The
neighbourhood is very picturesque. The church has been removed to a
more convenient position at Rainsbury, but the tower of the old fabric,
which has been allowed to remain, marks the original site.
_Upton Noble_, a parish 2-1/2 m. S.W. of Witham Friary. The church has
a small gable-roofed tower, and preserves in the E. wall of a S. chapel
a defaced crucifix within a nimbus. The font is early.
_Vallis_, 1 m. N.W. from Frome--a prettily-wooded bottom, through which
flows a stream pleasantly margined by a strip of pasture. The vale is
sufficiently romantic to make it a favourite trysting-place with the
neighbouring townsfolk, but it is being rapidly ruined by extensive
quarrying operations. The rocks, however, are geologically of much
interest, as upon the edge of the upturned strata of mountain limestone
will be noticed horizontal layers of oolite. On the side of the defile
is the old manor-house of the Leversedges, now applied to farm
purposes. The ruins of the original banqueting-hall (_temp._ Henry
VII.) will repay investigation. The pedestrian should approach the vale
from Frome across the Lees, and may either return to the town by
following the course of a tributary brook to Egford, or may prolong his
walk along the banks of the main stream to Elm and Mells.
_Venn Cross_, a rural station on the G.W.R. line to Barnstaple. It
stands on the very border of the county, and serves a number of
_Vobster_, a small village 2 m. S. of Mells Road Station. Its uncouth
name is said to be derived from some Dutch weavers who once worked a
mill on the banks of the neighbouring stream. The church is a neat
little modern building.
_Walton_, a village 3 m. S.W. of Glastonbury. The church is modern. At
the W. end of it is a thatched 15th cent. parsonage with some
ecclesiastical windows, now a farm. From the hill behind the village
(marked by a windmill) an excellent view of the full extent of
Sedgemoor may be obtained.
_Walton-in-Gordano_, a village 1 m. N. of Clevedon, very prettily
situated near the Channel. Of the church, the only ancient part is the
base of the tower (15th cent.), under which a few fragments of carved
stones are preserved. The present building is said to be modelled on
the style of the old.
_Wanstrow_, a village 6 m. S.W. of Frome, with a station on the G.W.R.
branch to Wells. The church is ancient, but without interest.
_Washford_, a large hamlet in the parish of Old Cleeve, with a station
(on the G.W.R. branch to Minehead) which affords easy access to Cleeve
WATCHET, a small port of some 2000 inhabitants, situated on the Bristol
Channel. It has always been of some trading importance, as giving
access to the valley between the Brendons and Quantocks, and has seen
some history. In Saxon times it was more than once raided by the Danes,
and on the road to Williton is a spot called "Battle Gore," which may
preserve the memory of a fight with the invaders. Its church, _St
Decuman's_, on the way to Williton, is interesting. It has a good
tower, with a figure of the saint on the S. face. There is a stoup
outside the W. door, and remains of another in the S. porch. It will be
seen that the chancel roof is a continuation of that of the nave. In
the interior note (1) the group of four bishops, and St George (or St
Michael) with the Dragon on some of the arcade piers; (2) the oak roof,
pulpit and cornice; (3) the screen (which, however, is mostly modern).
There are two chapels, Holy Cross on the S. and St Peter's on the N.
The latter is filled with tombs and brasses of the Wyndham family,
chiefly 16th and 17th cent. In the churchyard is a restored cross. The
farm-house of Kentisford, near the church, was once a manor-house, and
preserves the name of St Keyne.
_Wayford_ is a village 3 m. S.W. of Crewkerne Station. Its church
occupies an elevated position, and displays several ancient features.
Its windows are E.E. or Dec., some having the interior arch foliated.
There is a good double piscina under a foliated canopy, and an old
_Weare_, a large village near the Axe, 3 m. S.W. of Axbridge. It is
said to have been a borough in the early part of the 14th cent.,
sending two members to Parliament. The church has a good tower, rather
deficient in height, with triple belfry windows. The treatment of the
belfry staircase is unusual, and deserves notice. The interior of the
church contains comparatively little of antiquarian interest. In one of
the N. windows are some fragments of ancient glass, bearing seemingly
the initials of Thomas Beckington. Note (1) piscina and small brass
(late 15th cent.) in the sanctuary, (2) square Norm. font, (3) Jacobean
pulpit (1617). There is a cross in the churchyard.
_Wedmore_, a large village 4 m. S. of Cheddar, situated on rising
ground, which affords a good view of part of the Mendips and of the
hamlets resting upon their slopes. The place is famous as the scene of
Guthrum's "chrisom-loosing" after his baptism at Aller, and of his
treaty with Alfred (see p. 13). Its church (Perp.) is an interesting
building. The tower is central (as at Axbridge, Yatton, etc.), with
triple windows in the belfry; and as it has no pinnacles, it presents a
very plain outline (cp. Yeovil). The original cruciform plan of the
church is disguised by the N. and S. aisles and chapels. The oldest
parts are the tower arches and the S. doorway, which are late Trans.;
the S. chapel has a Dec. window; the rest of the structure is Perp.
Note (1) gallery or parvise over the porch; (2) groined vaulting under
tower; (3) wooden roof of N. chapel; (4) sedile, piscina, and squint;
(5) fine Jacobean pulpit; (6) mural brasses to Thomas and George Hodges
(1583 and 1630). There appear to be traces of a double rood-loft (as at
Axbridge and Crewkerne). There is a cross in the churchyard, and a
second (with defaced sculptures) in a garden on the L. hand of the
At _Mudgeley_, a hamlet 1-1/2 m. away, King Alfred is believed to have
had a palace, and the foundation of walls have been discovered in the
course of recent excavations.
WELLINGTON, a market town 7 m. S.W. from Taunton, with a station on the
main G.W. line to Exeter. Population, 7283. No one seems to know why
the hero of Waterloo chose to immortalise this quiet little
west-country town: he does not appear to have had any original
connection with it. The reputation of Wellington, made by war, is now
maintained by woollens. The town is girdled by large cloth and serge
mills. In general appearance the place is not unprepossessing. The
streets are wide and airy, and their arrangement compact, but the shops
are poor, and create an impression of dullness. The only object of more
than passing interest is the Parish Church, inconveniently situated at
the E. extremity of the town. It is chiefly remarkable for a good Perp.
W. tower, distinguished by the local peculiarity of a stair turret
carried up the centre of its S. face. The interior--Perp. throughout,
with the exception of an E.E. east window--is lofty, but not
particularly impressive, and has an unusually high chancel. The
fragments of an elaborately carved reredos which the building once
possessed are now in Taunton Museum. There are two monuments of note:
(1) fine Jacobean tomb with canopy and effigies of Lord Chief-Justice
Popham and wife (1607); (2) defaced effigy of ecclesiastic in recess at
E. end of N. chapel. The other features to be observed are (1) old
carved reading-desk and pulpit; (2) very fine piscina in chancel; (3)
crucifix on mullion of E. window of S. chapel, now obscured by the
The _Wellington Monument_, a conspicuous landmark on the summit of one
of the Blackdowns, is nearly 3 m. S. of the town. It is a triangular
column, erected by public subscription to commemorate the Iron Duke,
and was originally intended to be surmounted by his statue. The site
commands an extensive prospect in the direction of the Quantocks,
Brendons, and Exmoor.
_Wellow_, a largish but somewhat declining village, lying in a valley 6
m. S. from Bath, with a station on the S. & D. line. St Julian's Church
is a fine specimen of early Perp. architecture (1372). It is
interesting within and imposing without. The tower is severe but
dignified, and a good effect is obtained by a small octagonal turret
over the rood-loft staircase. The chancel is new (1890). Within note
(1) the good bossed and panelled roof, (2) dark oak screen, (3) old
benches, (4) the E.E. font attached to one of the pillars and furnished
with a book rest, (5) effigy of a priest with an incised chalice on
breast (cp. Minehead), (6) piscina on splay of S. sanctuary window. The
Hungerford chapel--now filled by an organ--is an interesting little
chamber, with a gaily coloured roof and an effigy of some Lady
Hungerford under an Elizabethan canopy. At the bottom of a ditch in a
cottage garden to the E. of the church is the site of St Julian's well,
said to have been the trysting-place of the Hungerford family ghost. A
flat stone is now the only indication of this once uncanny fountain.
Opposite the school is a grim-looking gabled farmhouse, once a manorial
residence of the Hungerfords. It is said to contain an oak room and
some fine carving, but the occupants do not encourage visitors. Half a
mile to the W. of the village, in a field nearly opposite the cemetery,
the foundations of a Roman villa were unearthed in 1685. Four upright
stones at the top of the field mark the site, and portions of the
tessellated pavement are still said to lie beneath the sod. Another
antiquity of great interest will be found in the centre of a sloping
field nearly a mile S.S.W. of the village. This is _Stoney Littleton_,
a large Celtic tumulus composed of masonry, but now entirely overgrown
with brushwood. The mound is easily observable (call for key at
neighbouring farm-house). An inscription at the entrance claims that at
a restoration in 1858 everything was replaced as found. A low passage
gives access to a number of small chambers constructed of flagstones.
Skeletons are said to have been found within when these were first
[Illustration: WELLS CATHEDRAL]
WELLS, a cathedral city of some 5000 people, 20 m. S.W. from Bath, 20
m. S. from Bristol, 20 m. E. from Bridgewater, 32 m. N.E. from Taunton.
Geographically the situation of Wells is fairly central, but it is
neither easy of approach by road nor particularly accessible by rail.
To reach the city from the N.E. the pedestrian or cyclist has to
clamber over the Mendips; and though two railways (S. & D. and G.W.R.)
have stations here, the connection is indirect and the service
leisurely. Wells has been enthusiastically described as "one of the
most beautiful things on earth," and though a cold-blooded visitor may
be disposed to cavil at the extravagance of the praise, yet it will be
universally admitted that this "city of waters," picturesquely planted
at the foot of the hills, with its antiquities mellowed but unimpaired
by age, is possessed of peculiar charm. There are other cities with
cathedrals, but the ecclesiastical atmosphere of Wells is almost
unique. It is a cathedral city pure and simple. It has come down to us
from the Middle Ages practically unchanged. Here may be seen the
machinery of a great mediaeval ecclesiastical foundation in actual
working order. Wells probably owes its immunity from change to the
secular character of its church, in consequence of which it escaped the
upheaval that overthrew religious houses like its neighbour
Glastonbury. Apart from its cathedral life, Wells has had few
interests. It is an unenterprising little town. Bishop Goodwin once
described it as a place of "little antiquity." It has less history. Its
civil annals are short and simple. It gave a loyal welcome to Henry
VII. on his return from stamping out Perkin Warbeck's fatuous
rebellion; and Monmouth's troops, as an interlude in their inglorious
campaign, found uproarious diversion by stabling their horses in the
canons' stalls, and holding a wild carousal in the sanctuary. The
peculiar interest of Wells lies not only in the cathedral itself, but
in its _entourage_. Secular chapters were communities for the purposes
of worship only. They had no "common life." Their only common room was
the chapter-house, where they met for the transaction of business. The
canons had their own separate establishments, and their residences
remain for the most part intact to-day. This secular character was
stamped upon the cathedral from the first. King Ina founded it as a
secular church, and though Bishop Giso, the last of the Saxon bishops,
made an attempt to reconstitute the chapter on "regular" lines, and is
said to have actually built a refectory and dormitory, the foundation
soon reverted to its original ideals, and the monastic offices were
removed as unnecessary. Like most cathedrals, Wells has been the
composition of many hands, and is carried out in many different styles.
Roughly, the work may be classified as follows: _Norm._ perhaps even
_Pre-Norm._ font; _Trans. Norm._ N. porch, nave and transepts: _E.E._
W. front; _Dec._ lady chapel and chapter-house, central tower and
choir; _Perp._ W. towers, cloisters, gate-houses, chain gateway, and
remains of destroyed cloister chapel. A casual glance will show that
the cathedral occupies the centre of a gated close, with deanery and
canons' houses to N., and bishop's palace to S. The attention is first
arrested, as was no doubt intended, by the view from the spacious
green. Here the spectator not only has before him the finest W. front
in England, but finds spread out for his study a mediaeval historical
picture-book. The statuary is not only designed to enhance the general
architectural effect of the building, but is a genuine attempt to teach
the unlearned the rudiments of ecclesiastical and secular history. The
idea, however, is so artistically carried out that the didactic purpose
of the sculpture is completely disguised. Quite in keeping with the
usual mediaeval notion, Church and State are regarded as two separate
kingdoms, and the events of sacred and profane history are kept
distinct. The S. half is assigned to the ecclesiastics, and the N.
occupied by the royalties. The figures and medallions have suffered
considerably from time and fanaticism, and are too distant to be now
easily deciphered. If, however, they are studied from photographs (some
of which are exhibited in a photographer's show-case in the Square),
their rare grace and workmanship, which caught the eye of Flaxman and
secured the admiration of Ruskin, will be at once discerned. This
unrivalled _facade_ was the work of Bishop Joceline, brother of Hugh of
Lincoln, in 1232, and is in the purest style of E.E. Joceline's design
ended on the N. and S. with the string courses above the top groups of
statuary. The towers, which add immensely to the general impressiveness
of the whole, were an afterthought. They are Perp. work. The S. tower
was built by Bishop Harewell in 1366-86, and its fellow did not follow
till 1407-24, when it was constructed by the executors of Bishop
Bubwith. The latter differs from its companion only in the possession
of two canopied niches let into the buttresses. To study the church
historically the visitor should enter the N. porch, the oldest part of
the present building. It is E.E., but was executed before the style had
divested itself of its Norm. traditions (observe the zig-zag ornament).
This exceedingly beautiful porch is considered by some to be the gem of
the cathedral. Note (1) foliaged weather-moulding, (2) the square
_bas-reliefs_ on either side of entrance, (3) deeply-recessed double
arcading, (4) sculptured capitals, (5) parvise. If on entering the
church the visitor will at once take his stand beneath the central
tower, and looking N. and S. down the transepts, E. as far as the
throne, and W. to the porch by which he entered, can picture the E. end
closed by an apse and the church lighted by narrow lancets, and can
further imagine the absence of the organ-screen and the unsightly
inverted arches, he will have a very fair idea of what the church
looked like when it left the hands of its first builder, Bishop Robert,
in 1166. The nave was carried westwards to its present limits in
1174-91 by his successor, Bishop Reginald, and to this Bishop Joceline
added the W. front, built the E. cloister, and consecrated the whole
edifice in October 1239. The architecture of the nave has been aptly
described as "improved Norman." Its peculiarities are assigned to the
idiosyncrasies of local builders. The general effect is a certain
monotonous severity, and the absence of vaulting shafts gives the
building a tunnel-like appearance. The inverted arches are disguised
struts inserted in 1338 to prevent the collapse of the central tower.
They give, it is true, character to the interior, but their effect is
ungainly. Bishop Robert's work can be distinguished from his
successor's by the larger stones employed, the transverse tooling (as
if done by an adze), and the existence of grotesques in the tympanum of
the arches of the triforium. Note in nave (1) humorous figures on
capitals of arcade, (2) _cinque cento_ glass in central light of W.
window (an importation), (3) the Perp. arches on each side of tower
archway, (4) the beautiful chantries, on N. of Bishop Bubwith, on S. of
Hugh Sugar (the details will repay study), (5) chapels under W. towers,
(6) ugly pulpit, given by Bishop Knight in 1540, (7) above S. arcade,
Perp. minstrels' gallery and projecting heads of a king with a falling
lad and a bishop with children. They may have been the support of a
small organ, but the local wiseacres were accustomed to declare that
they were intended as prophecies of the evil days which should befall
the church when a king should have a weakling for his heir and Wells
should receive as its bishop a married man. These predictions were held
to be fulfilled when Henry VIII., whose heir was Edward VI., nominated
to the see Bishop Barlow. In N. transept note curious astronomical
clock, which strikes the hours by a clumsy representation of a
tournament. It was originally constructed for Glastonbury Abbey by P.
Lightfoot, one of the monks. In S. transept note (1) vigorous
grotesques on capitals, (2) font, perhaps pre-Norm. The visitor should
now pay the customary 6d. and seek admission to the choir.
Historically, both lady chapel and chapter house preceded the present
choir; but the custodian's custom is to show the choir first. As it
stands it was the work of Bishop Ralph in 1329-63, who reconstructed
Bishop Robert's choir, removed the apse, and extended the building
three bays eastwards. Bishop Ralph's contribution to the fabric may be
distinguished within by the tall vaulting shafts running up from
basement to roof, and without by the flying buttresses. It is a stately
example of late Dec. work, verging on exuberance. The furniture of the
choir with the exception of the throne (15th cent.), and a few
misereres in the second row of stalls, is modern. Note fine old glass
in E. window. The lady chapel at the E. is justly considered one of the
finest extant examples of the more chaste Dec. style. Its builder was
Bishop Drokensford, 1326. The structural design is cunningly contrived.
An octagonal chamber is transformed within into a pentagonal apse by
the simple device of resting the three western sides on piers, and thus
throwing it into one building with the retrochoir, thereby considerably
enhancing the general artistic effect. The glass in the windows is
ancient, but is merely a medley of fragments. Before examining the
_Chapter House_ the visitor should dive through the doorway in the N.
choir-aisle, and take a look at the so-called _crypt_. It is really
only the basement of the chapter house, and was used as the cathedral
_Treasury_. It is an octagonal chamber with a low vault supported on
cylindrical columns. It now contains an assortment of mediaeval odds
and ends, from a fine 14th-cent. wooden door to an urn that once
contained a human heart. Note, besides other things, (1) stone lantern,
(2) piscina with carved dog and bone. The chapter house is reached by a
flight of stone steps leading out of the N. transept aisle (turn to the
R.). Note, in passing, the corbels with conventual figures. The
_Chapter House_ is an octagonal chamber of spacious dimensions. The
walls are indented with a recessed arcade, and carry a bench table. The
vaulting springs from single shafts, and is supported in the centre by
a massive clustered column. The building is a finely-executed example
of geometric Dec., and dates from the episcopate of William de Marchia
(1293-1319). Note (1) the excellent tracery of the windows, and the
fragments of old glass; (2) carved heads in arcading of wall, (3)
double archway of door. Before returning to the nave the visitor should
make an examination of the _Monuments_ in the transepts and choir
aisles. Their identity will best be discovered from a glance at the
plan provided by the verger. Here mention will only be made of the most
notable. In S. transept, against S. wall (1) William de Marchia (1319),
builder of the chapter house; (2) Viscountess Lisle, with coloured
canopy (14th cent.). In Chapel of St Calixtus (1) shrine of Bishop
Beckington, unhappily detached from its original position over his
tomb; (2) Treasurer Husee (1309); observe panel with representation of
the Trinity. In S. choir aisle (1) incised slab (said to be one of the
earliest in England) of Bishop Bytton, junior (1274), to touch which
was once held to be an infallible remedy for toothache (see grotesque
on a capital in S. transept); (2) modern recumbent effigy of Bishop
Hervey (d. 1894); (3) Bishop Beckington (1464), with skeleton beneath
(cp. Frome); (4) Bishop Harewell (1386), builder of S.W. tower; observe
hare at his feet (cp. sugar loaves in Sugar's chantry). In the Chapel
of St John the Evangelist--a sort of choir transept--(1) Dean Gunthorpe
(1475), builder of the Deanery; observe Dec. piscina in E. wall; (2)
Bishop Drokensford (1309-29), builder of the Lady Chapel; (3) shrine of
unknown person. In N. choir aisle, Bishop Ralph de Salopia (1363),
builder of the choir (possibly removed here from the sanctuary). The
effigies of the Saxon bishops in the choir aisles were probably an
after-thought of Bishop Joceline, who perhaps thought that this tardy
testimonial to the labours of his predecessors would be an effective
advertisement of the priority of his see. The labelled stone coffins of
Dudoc and Giso are said to have been unearthed within recent memory. In
S. transept aisle are (1) Bishop Still (1608); (2) Bishop Kidder, Ken's
successor, killed by the fall of the palace chimney-stack during a
memorable storm in 1703; (3) against N. wall, Bishop T. Cornish
(1513)--a tomb supposed to have been used as an Easter sepulchre (cp.
Pilton). The visitor should now inspect the cloisters, and should
observe in passing the fine external E.E. doorway ruthlessly obscured
by the Perp. vaulting. The cloisters form a covered ambulatory leading
from the S. transept to the S.W. corner of the nave. Bishop Joceline,
Bishop Bubwith's executors, and Bishop Beckington all seem to have had
a hand in their construction; Beckington has stamped his rebus on some
of the bosses of the roof. The cathedral library forms an upper storey
to the E. cloister, and a corresponding chamber runs the length of the
cloister opposite, now used as a choir practising room. Note in E.
cloister (1) external lavatories, (2) doorway in E. wall leading to a
quiet little burial-ground. This was the site of an additional lady
chapel (late Perp.) built by Bishop Stillington (1466-91). It was
destroyed at the instigation of Bishop Barlow by Sir John Gates, a
fanatical Puritan, the wrecker of the palace hard by. Some fragments of
the vaulting are piled up in the cloisters, and a few traces of
panelling remain on the exterior face of the doorway. The burial-ground
is a good position from which to view the external features of the
choir. The high architectural merit of Bishop Ralph's work will be
quickly discerned, and due note should be taken of the skilful way in
which a structural necessity has been turned to artistic advantage in
the erection of the flying buttresses. In the earlier work they exist,
but are hidden away as unsightly props beneath the roof of the aisles.
Their artistic possibilities having caught the eye of the builder, they
are here brought out into the light, and form a very pleasing feature
in the general design. The visitor should now return to the cathedral
in order to inspect the _Vicars' Close_, one of the unique features of
Wells. The flight of stairs which gives entrance to the chapter-house
leads also by a covered bridge--known as the _Chain Gate_--across the
street into the Close, and thus forms a private passage whereby the
singers may pass from the church to their quarters. The public have to
find their way by returning to the street. Pass under the chain-gate,
turn sharply to the left under another archway, and the Close is before
you. It is a quaint oblong court closed at one end by the entrance
gateway, and at the other by a chapel. On either side is a "quiet range
of houses" with picturesque gables and high chimneys. Note the
"canting" escutcheons of Swan, Sugar, and Talbot, Beckington's
executors, on some of the chimneys. The houses, which were intended as
the abode of the college of singing clerks, have been much modernised;
but one or two still retain some semblance of their original design.
The idea of gathering the singers together into a fraternity was Bishop
Ralph's. He provided them with these picturesque dwellings, and gave
them the common dining-hall which forms the upper storey of the
entrance gateway. This is said to be one of the most beautiful examples
of mid-14th-cent. domestic architecture in the country. It was enlarged
subsequently by Rich. Pomeroy (_temp._ Hen. VIII.), and Bishop
Beckington's executors are said to have built the chapel at the other
end of the Close. Regarded now-a-days as a devotional superfluity by
the singers, it has been turned over to the Theological College. The
chapel and muniment room above should be inspected, but admission
cannot now be obtained to the hall. Before leaving the Cathedral
precincts note on the same side of the road as the Vicars' Close (in
order, westwards): (1) the _Archdeacon's House_, now used as the
College library, (2) the _Deanery_--an embattled residence with
gatehouse and turrets, built by Dean Gunthorpe, 1472-98 (the imposing
character of the building is not discernible from the road, as the real
front faces the garden), (3) _Browne's Gate_, through which the Close
is entered from Sadler Street. The remainder of the official residences
of the chapter lie to the N. of the Deanery, outside the Close, in a
street called the E. Liberty--so named because it lay outside parochial
jurisdiction. Though much modernised, they are mostly mediaeval
buildings. The path which traverses the Cathedral green enters the
Market place by the third of the Close gate-ways--_Penniless Porch_,
where alms are said to have been periodically distributed. This was the
work of Beckington; note the prelate's arms on W. face, and rebus (a
beacon and tun) on the E. side. Beckington made the city his debtor by
giving it a water supply. He tapped the well in the palace garden,
which feeds the fountain in the square. Note the quaint method of
distributing the overflow.
[Illustration: VICARS' CLOSE, WELLS]
Next in interest to the Cathedral is _the Palace_. It is approached
either from the cloisters or through another of Beckington's porches,
called the _Palace Eye_. Both entrances give access to the outer court.
Within is a second court containing the palace. This inclosure is
protected by crenellated walls and surrounded by a moat. These
semi-fortifications were erected by Bishop Ralph, who perhaps found
that a mitre was as uneasy a headgear as a crown. A gate-house, with a
drawbridge commands the entrance. If the porter has not been too
worried by tourists a peep may sometimes be obtained at the sacred
enclosure. The actual palace forms the E. boundary of what was once a
stately quadrangle. The kitchens formed the N. wing, and on the S. was
the chapel and hall. The latter is now only a picturesque ruin. The
oldest part of the structure has oddly enough been the one to survive.
With the exception of the modern upper storey, the existing palace was
the work of Bishop Joceline (1206-42). It consists of a groined
basement, forming an entrance hall (note chimney piece) and dining
hall. Above are the household apartments and a picture gallery, hung
with portraits of former occupants of the see. The chapel and the now
dismantled great hall on the S. were built by Bishop Burnell (1274-92).
The chapel remains intact. It is a fine Dec. building, with groined
roof and some good window tracery. Of the hall only the N. and W. walls
and some detached turrets now survive. It was originally a chamber of
quite majestic proportions, covered by a wooden roof and lighted on
either side by some tall 2-light Dec. windows. At the W. end stood the
buttery and above it the solar (a "sunny" drawing-room). The palace
appears to have been sold by Bishop Barlow to Protector Somerset, and
upon the dispersal of Somerset's ill-gotten gains it passed into the
hands of Sir J. Gates, who unroofed the building for the sake of its
lead and timber. The ruin of the fabric was completed by Dean Burgess
(_temp._ Cromwell), who used it as a quarry for the repair of the
Deanery. A kind of poetic justice eventually overtook both these
depredators. Gates lost his head and Burgess his liberty. A
particularly picturesque bit of the palace is the N. face overlooking
the moat. The dead surface of the wall is prettily broken by some
projecting oriel windows, the insertion of Bishop Clarke (1523-40). The
gardens are delightful, and are watered by St Andrew's well which
gushes from its hidden sources to overflow into the moat. A visitor may
occasionally enjoy the mild sensation of seeing a bevy of swans ring a
bell for their dinner. To the right of the broad public walk which runs
along the W. side of the moat is the city recreation ground in which
will be noticed the old episcopal barn. It is a good example of a
mediaeval granary, and is said to be of the same age as the N.W. tower
of the Cathedral. It has an unusual number of buttresses.
[Illustration: THE PALACE GATEWAY, WELLS]
It is the misfortune, not the fault, of the subordinate churches of a
cathedral city that they arouse but a languid interest in the already
surfeited sight-seer. Wells has one other church which merits more than
a passing attention. St Cuthbert's is a Perp. building of generous
dimensions. It possesses an exceedingly fine tower of the best Somerset
type--massive and graceful--belonging to the same class as the towers
of Wrington and Evercreech, but spoilt by a want of proportion between
the upper and lower stages. The interior of the church is spacious and
imposing, and contains a good panelled roof. The E.E. capitals of the
piers and some old roof marks suggest that it was originally an E.E.
cruciform fabric, altered by Perp. builders, and heightened by the
erection of a clerestory. There is documentary evidence that a "public
collection" was made in 1561 to repair the havoc caused by the collapse
of the central tower. The transeptal chapels were once brilliant with
statuary and colour, but the axes and hammers of the image breakers
have successfully purged them of their original glory. All that is left
for the admiration of the modern visitor are a few gaping recesses and
a pile of gathered fragments. Note (1) double transepts, (2) oak
pulpit, (3) Dec. window with Jesse altar-piece in S. transept, (3)
piscinas, in chancel and S. choir aisle, (5) mutilated figure of knight
in ruff and armour at E. end of N. aisle, (6) tomb with figure (1614)
under tower. The other antiquities of Wells are (1) Bishop Bubwith's
alms-houses in Chamberlain Street (near St Cuthbert's Church)--an
eccentric building, containing a number of separate cells, a chapel and
a small hall under one roof (note old alms chest in hall, now called
the Committee room), (2) some ancient timber-work in the courtyard of
the Crown Inn.
Amongst the more interesting walks in the neighbourhood are (1)
Arthur's Point, offering a good view of the Glastonbury plain; (2) Tor
and Dulcot hills on the Shepton road; (3) Ebbor rocks near Wookey Hole.
_Wembdon_, a parish 1 m. N.W. of Bridgwater, of which it is virtually a
suburb. The church has been restored (after a fire in 1868), and its
ancient features have been obliterated. On the S. of the building is an
_Westbury_ (stat. Lodge Hill), a village on the road between Wells and
Axbridge, 4 m. N.W. from the former town. It has an interesting church
(ded. to St Lawrence), with a W. tower of the prevailing Perp. type,
but supported on a Norm. arch (the flanking columns do not reach the
ground). There is also a Norm. door on the N. side, now blocked. In the
S. porch note the doors which once led to the parvise or gallery above,
and the holy-water stoup. The E. window is Dec., with the interior arch
foliated. The S. aisle has a small chapel at the E. end, containing a
tomb of George Rodney (d. 1586).
_Weston_, a parish forming a suburb of Bath. Of its church the only old
portion is the tower, with angular buttresses finishing in pinnacles.
The nave was rebuilt in 1832.
_Weston Bampfylde_, a parish 1 m. S. of Sparkford. Its little church
has a W. octagonal tower on a square base. Within the building should
be noticed (1) the rood staircase, which has been thrown open; (2) the
Norm. font with cable mouldings; (3) the two squints.
_Weston-in-Gordano_, a village 3 m. N.E. of Clevedon, on the Portishead
road. Its little church is well worth inspection. The tower (with a
pyramidal top) is said to be E.E., and is placed on the S. side of the
church (rather an exceptional position in this county). The most
interesting features are (1) indications of a gallery over the S. porch
(intended to be used by choristers on Palm Sunday); (2) holy water
stoup within S. door; (3) curious 13th-cent. stone reading-desk or
pulpit in S. wall; (4) "Miserere" seats in the choir, with their quaint
carvings (attributed to the 14th cent.); (5) Jacobean oak pulpit; (6)
Norm. font; (7) sanctus bell-cot; (8) fine 15th-cent. tomb (with French
epitaph) of "Rycharde Persyvale"; (9) piscina in S. wall. There is an
altar-tomb in the churchyard, said to belong to a Percival of the time
of Richard I.
WESTON-SUPER-MARE, a popular seaside resort on the Bristol Channel, 139
m. from London and 20 m. S.W. from Bristol, with a population of nearly
20,000. A loop thrown from the G.W.R. main line at Worle enables the
traveller to reach the place without the inconvenience of changing
trains. The town lies in the entrance of a crescent-like indentation
which the sea has scooped out of the flats that intervene between the
conspicuous promontories of Worle Hill on the N. and Brean Down on the
S. The rise of the town has been recent and rapid. A century has
transformed it from a mere handful of fishermen's cottages into one of
the most popular resorts of the West. The bay faces due W. and commands
an uninterrupted view of the Atlantic. Besides this advantageous
geographical position, the town possesses all the qualifications of a
first-class watering-place except the one essential feature of the
water. At ebb tide the sea beats a hasty retreat across the bay, and
leaves as its substitute many acres of dimpled mud--a peculiarity which
has caused the frivolous to nickname it _Weston-super-Mud_. But
enterprising Weston has turned even this gibe to advantage by claiming
that the ozone which exhales from the ooze is one of the chief elements
in its salubrity. Moreover the estrangement between the sea and the
shore is by no means permanent. At high tides the spray breaks over the
esplanade in showers, and under the stimulus of a brisk westerly breeze
these demonstrations of the "sad sea waves" are quite lively. Weston's
advantages have been exploited to the full by its townspeople. A broad
and well-paved esplanade, 2-1/2 m. long, encircles the shore. Two piers
are thrust out into the sea--the older one, with twin landing-stages,
connects the N. end of the town with the islet of Birnbeck; the new one
runs out from the centre of the parade for half a mile across the mud,
and is furnished with an elaborate pavilion. Sea-bathing of a sort is
occasionally obtainable, and some good public baths supply what in this
respect is lacking. A strip of sand at the foot of the esplanade
furnishes the children with a somewhat restricted playground. The shops
are good, the accommodation plentiful, and in amusements the town can
almost vie with Blackpool and Brighton. There are two public
parks--Grove Park in the centre of the town, and Clarence Park (more
spacious and pleasing) near the Sanatorium. In a mushroom-town like
Weston there are naturally not many antiquities. Such "finds" as
occasionally come to hand are treasured in a museum attached to the
Free Library in the Boulevard. The churches are modern. In the parish
church--an ingeniously ugly building--are one or two remnants of an
earlier structure. Note (1) font near chancel; (2) representation of
Trinity (cp. Binegar, S. Brent, and Yatton) built into interior wall of
N. vestry; (3) fantastic glass in E. window. In the churchyard are the
remains of a cross. Weston has, however, one antiquity of quite
remarkable interest in _Worlebury Camp_. As viewed from the parade the
crest of the hill behind the town will be seen to be crowned with an
extensive litter of stones. These are the debris of a primitive
fortification. To investigate make for the junction of South Road and
Edgehill Street (the old pier), turn down a lane on the L. and ascend a
flight of concealed steps at the bottom. The rampart is now largely a
confused heap of limestone fragments, but the general plan of it may be
easily detected. The camp is confined to the W. extremity of the hill
and covers an area of about 10 acres. On the S., or level side, it is
defended not only by the main rampart, but by two supplementary walls
separated by a fosse. Within the fortification will be found a number
of circular pits, some 93 in all. This circumstance gives the camp its
peculiarity. From remains of corn and other produce found at the
bottom, they are believed to have been receptacles for storage. The
pits vary in size, the average diameter being 6 ft. and the depth 5 ft.
They were, perhaps, originally protected by some kind. of roof,
constructed of wicker-work. Amongst their contents have been found some
human remains, many of them showing injuries produced by weapons. The
construction of the camp has been assigned to the 3rd cent. B.C. It had
three entrances, on the S.E. side, the N.E. corner, and the W. end of
the hill. Beyond the camp the hill is traversed by paths, any of which
will serve for a pleasant ramble. If the central path through the wood
be continued, a descent may be made to Kewstoke or Milton, or a more
prolonged walk may be taken to Worle. Weston's most charming walk is,
however, to skirt the N. base of Worle Hill and proceed through the
woods to Kewstoke, whence _Worspring Priory_ (q.v.) may be visited.
(Cycles and carriages pay toll at the lodge, pedestrians free.)
_Weston Zoyland_, a parish 4 m. E.S.E. of Bridgwater. The village is
more closely associated even than its neighbour Chedzoy with the Battle
of Sedgmoor, for Feversham, the Royalist general, had his headquarters
here; and, after the battle many of the rebels were confined in the
church. The church, which, unlike Chedzoy, is mainly Dec. and Perp., is
remarkable for its unusually lofty tower (which has triple windows in
the belfry). The nave has a good roof, with pendants. The N. transept
is noteworthy for being carried above the base of the clerestory. The
parish belonged to Glastonbury, and in one of the chancel windows, on
one of the seat ends, and on one of the external buttresses of the S.
chapel, are the initials _R.B._ (Richard Bere, the last but one of the
abbots). In a recess under the window of the N. transept is the
15th-cent. effigy of a priest. Note (1) the font, with curious hoops;
(2) piscinas in N. and S. chapels; (3) old communion table. In the
fields between the church and Chedzoy were buried the slain of
_Whatley_, a small village 3 m. W. from Frome. The church is a small
Dec. building with a rather dim interior. The W. tower, like the
neighbouring church of Frome, carries a spire. There is a plain Norm.
doorway within the porch. A projecting chantry chapel on the S. has a
squint (note the accommodating bulge in the external wall), and
contains an altar tomb with recumbent effigy of Sir Oliver de
Servington (1350). Some of the bells are of pre-Reformation date.
Amongst the "rude forefathers of the hamlet" sleeps Dean Church, who
held the rectory for nineteen years before his promotion to the Deanery
of St Paul's. His grave is near the S. wall of the chancel. Observe the
small ecclesiastical window in the farn at the back of the church.
_Whatley House_ (rebuilt 1861) is on the site of an older mansion. In a
neighbouring field is preserved (_in situ_) a Roman pavement and the
ruins of a bath. In the grounds is a cross (restored) removed here from
_Wheathill_, 5 m. S.W. from Castle Cary. The small church has been much
_Whitchurch_, a village on the main road between Bristol and Shepton
Mallet (nearest station Brislington, 2 m.). It has a small (originally
cruciform) church, with a low central tower, which is worth inspecting.
The tower arches seem to be Trans. and the chancel has three very small
lancets. There is a Norm. font, and outside the S. doorway is a stoup.
_Whitelackington_, a village 1-1/2 m. E.N.E. of Ilminster. Its church
is a handsome structure. The tower and body of the building are Perp.,
but there is Dec. work in the transepts (where note piscinas). In the
N. transept is the tomb of Sir George Speke (d. 1637), whilst under a
window in the N. aisle are some small inscriptions on metal in memory
of Anthonie Poole and his wife Margerie (d. 1587, 1606). In the park of
_Whitelackington House_ there formerly stood a splendid chestnut tree,
under which Monmouth met a large assemblage of his supporters in 1680.
_Whitestaunton_, a village 3-1/2 m. N.W. from Chard. As the only
approach is by a rough country lane, the place is somewhat
inaccessible, but it possesses much antiquarian interest. The church
(Perp.) is poor, but contains (1) rood-loft stair and part of a small
Perp. screen; (2) early Norm, font; (3) piscina in sill of sanctuary
window; (4) some mediaeval tiles near altar, bearing arms of Montacute
(according to some, Ferrers) and De Staunton; (5) curious squint,
looking towards S. chapel (cp. Mark); (6) a few old bench ends; (7)
pewter communion plate; (8) stone screen dividing small N. chantry from
chancel; (9) in N. chapel, two tombs with armorial bearings, and a
brass (1582) to the Brett family, former lords of the manor. Two of the
bells are mediaeval. In the churchyard is the base and shaft of a
cross. Close by the church is a manor house, some portions of which
date from the 15th cent., but altered in the 16th cent. by John Brett,
whose initials are carved on the wainscoting of the dining-room; and in
the grounds are the exposed foundations of a Roman villa, discovered in
1882. Beneath an archway is a well, near which, when discovered, were
traces of a Roman shrine. Old workings, supposed to be Roman mines,
exist in the neighbourhood.
_Wick St Lawrence_, a parish 2 m. N. of Worle, on the flats near the
coast. It has a Perp. church (formerly a chapel of Congresbury), a
building of no interest, but containing a fine stone pulpit. Note, too,
(1) ancient tub font; (2) carved chairs, with crown and Tudor roses, in
sanctuary; (3) remains of inscription at N.E. angle of nave. The S.
porch seems once to have had a gallery. Near the church, in the
roadway, is a fragment of a fine cross, on an exceptionally high
WILLITON, a pleasant little town (with station on the Minehead line),
once the abode of Reginald Fitzurse, one of the murderers of Becket. It
is rather curious that of the four knights concerned in the murder
three were connected with Somerset, viz., Fitzurse, Brito (of Sampford
Brett), and Moreville. The church, which is said to have been a chantry
chapel founded by Robert Fitzurse, Reginald's brother, has been
completely rebuilt; its only antiquities are the W. doorway, the font
(1666), a piscina, and two brackets on the E. wall. There are the
remains of an old cross in the graveyard, and of a second near the
"Egremont Hotel." Past the church the road leads to _Orchard Wyndham_,
a fine manor house.
WINCANTON, a trim-looking little market town in the S.E. corner of the
county, with a station on the S. & D. line to Bournemouth, and
possessing a population of more than 2000. It consists chiefly of one
long street, which descends a steepish declivity into the vale of
Blackmoor. The river Cale, from which the town derives its name
(_Wynd-Caleton_) flows at its foot. The history of Wincanton is
miscellaneous but unromantic. In 1553 travellers gave the place a wide
berth on account of the plague. In the Great Rebellion a Parliamentary
garrison used the town as a base of operations against Sherborne
Castle. In the Revolution the Prince of Orange (William III.) had here
a brisk but successful skirmish with a squad of James's Dragoons. The
prince's lodgings are still pointed out in South Street. The town,
however, contains no antiquities. It has a modern town hall, and
virtually a modern church, for of the original fabric nothing now
remains but an unimpressive Dec. tower. The present building is a twin
structure. The authorities, apparently disgusted at their predecessors'
ideas of reconstruction, have lately replaced the N. aisle by a new
church of much better design and proportions. The N. porch of the new
building contains a curious mediaeval _bas-relief_, brought here for
_Winford_, a parish 4 m. S.S.E. of Flax Bourton station. Its church
possesses a stately tower, but retains no other feature of interest.
_Winscombe_ (with a station) is a parish 2 m. N.W. of Axbridge. Its
church, which stands conspicuously on rising ground and commands a fine
view, has a graceful tower resembling that of Cheddar, with triple
belfry windows. Its chief defect is the shallowness of its buttresses.
Note the lily on the stone-work of the central window (cp. Banwell).
There is a good parapet along the aisles, and the rood-loft stair has
an external turret. Within note (1) wooden roof of N. aisle; (2)
ancient glass in E. windows of N. aisle and N. window of chancel; (3)
some carved seat-ends; (4) old stone coffin in churchyard.
_Winsford_, a village on the Exe, 8 m. N. of Dulverton Station. It is a
pleasant and picturesque little place, situated in a valley just where
the Exe as a tumbling brook emerges from the moors to settle down into
a sober stream; and is a favourite meet for the staghounds. The church
is a good-sized building, with a gaunt-looking tower, but is of no
particular interest. The font, is Norm., and so probably is the
round-headed S. doorway. The windows at the E. of the nave are
_Winsham_, a village on the Axe, near the Dorset border, 2-1/2 m.
N.N.E. of Chard Junction. Its church, which has been extensively
restored, possesses a good central tower (though there are no
transepts), with a turret at the S.W. angle. The chancel inclines S.
from the axis of the nave. The walls of the nave are older than the
present Perp. windows, and traces of an earlier window are still
visible on the S. wall. The chancel lights are partly E.E., partly
early Dec. Note (1) the small squint; (2)the oak screen with its loft;
(3) the monument (1639), on the E. wall of the chancel; (4) the old
copy of Foxe's "Book of Martyrs"; (5) the much-defaced painting (on
wood) of the Crucifixion (said to date from the 14th cent.), which is
now hung on the N. wall under the tower, but was formerly placed above
the screen, serving to complete the separation of the sanctuary from
the nave. The Crucifixion as a subject for representation on such
_tympana_ is said to be rare, the Last Judgment being the one usually
selected. Opposite the "George Inn" is the base of an old market cross
with a modern shaft.
_Witham_, or _Witham Friary_ a small village 6 m. S. from Frome, with a
station (G.W.R.). Its only present-day interest is its church. Its
popular designation preserves its early ecclesiastical associations,
though with some degree of "terminological inexactitude." It was a
settlement not of Friars but of Monks. Here was established the first
of the few Carthusian houses in England, which only number nine in all.
It was Henry II.'s gift to the church, in part payment for the murder
of Becket. Witham had as one of its earliest priors the celebrated
Burgundian, Hugh of Avalon, who afterwards became Bishop of Lincoln.
The existing church is perhaps a surviving portion of his work. It is a
plain vaulted building of severe simplicity with an apsidal E. end,
containing a good E.E. triplet. Opinions differ as to whether the
present structure was the monks' church, the choir of the monks'
church, or the church of the lay brothers (for in Carthusian houses the
clergy and the laymen worshipped in separate buildings). In recent
years the church has been extended one bay westward, and a belfry
added. Note (1) the curious recess in exterior S. wall of apse; (2)
double square piscina in chancel; (3) rood-loft stair; (4) Norm. font,
which was once built into the tower erected in 1832. There is also a
modern font, which was used before the former one was recovered. The
buttresses are copies of those constructed by St Hugh for the
chapter-house at Lincoln. The domestic buildings have disappeared; they
are supposed to have stood N. of the church. One curious relic of the
"common life" of the monks has escaped the hand of the destroyer. This
is the dovecot, on the other side of the road, now converted into a
village reading-room. The building is of unusual size; but the
existence of some of the pigeon-holes puts its original purpose beyond
doubt (cp. Hinton Charter-house).
_Withiel Florey_, a village 7 miles N.E. from Dulverton. The church is
a small Perp. building with a low W. tower, to which a partial casing
of slate scarcely adds additional beauty.
_Withycombe_, a village 2-1/2 m. S.E. of Dunster. It has an aisleless
church, which contains a few objects of interest: (1) a screen; (2) a
font with cable moulding; (3) two effigies, both of females (one with
curious turret-like ornaments at the head and foot); (4) a large stoup
on the L. hand of the S. door.
_Withypool_, a village on the Barle, 8 m. N.W. from Dulverton. It is
one of the lonely outposts of civilisation on Exmoor. Though
picturesquely situated itself, it is best known as a sort of
halting-place on the way to the still more romantic neighbourhood of
Simonsbath. The church is E.E., but not interesting. The local farmers
are said to enjoy four harvests in a year--turf, whortleberries, hay
WIVELISCOMBE, a market town 6 m. N.W. of Wellington, with a station on
the G.W.R. branch to Barnstaple. Population, 1417. It is a dull and
uninteresting, but clean and comely little place. Of antiquities it has
none, except traces, to the S. of the church, of a bishop's palace,
built by John Drokensford in the 14th cent., some windows of which have
found their way into neighbouring houses. The church is a tasteless
building, erected in 1829, with a showy semi-Italian interior. It has
an odd-looking S. aisle, containing a somewhat dilapidated monument,
with recumbent effigies of Humphrey Wyndham and wife, 1622-70. In the
churchyard is a time-worn cross, with an almost defaced effigy (cp.
Fitzhead). In the main street is a modern town hall and market house.
The town lies pleasantly in the lap of the surrounding hills, which
furnish many a pleasant ramble. A mile from the station, on the way to
Milverton, is a British camp, and a Danish camp is said to have existed
on the site of a neighbouring mansion. _Waterrow_ is a hamlet a couple
of miles to the W. on the Bampton road, lying at the bottom of a
picturesque combe, through which flow the beginnings of the Tone.
_Woodspring Priory_ (formerly _Worspring_, and perhaps containing the
same element as _Worle_) is about 5 m. N. of Weston, and is best
reached from Kewstoke, either by the shore as far as Sand Point, or by
a lane that leaves (L.) the road to Worle. It was a priory of Austin
canons, who were established here in 1210 by William Courtenay, whose
mother was the daughter of Reginald Fitzurse, one of the murderers of
Thomas a Becker, whose death the foundation was originally meant to
expiate. The remains, now used as farm buildings, consist of a church,
a chantry, a court-room, and a barn. The church, dedicated to the
Trinity, St Mary and St Thomas the Martyr, is approached through a Dec.
arch (14th cent.), which leads to an outer court at the W. of the
building. On the W. wall, flanked by angle turrets, will be seen the
outline of a Perp. window, and three niches with nearly obliterated
figures. From this outer court an inner court is reached, having on the
N. of it the S. wall of the church (with two large windows), at right
angles to which the dormitories extended (the mark of the gable is
still visible on the wall). Beyond the E. wall of the court are
supposed to have been the chapter-house and the prior's residence. At
the E. of the nave of the church is the tower, which was originally
central, the chancel having been destroyed. It is 15th-cent. work, but
is believed to case an earlier 13th-cent. core. The vault has fan
tracery. N. of the church are the remains of the chantry (now a cider
cellar), originally founded by Robert Courtenay, father of William,
showing on the outside three Perp. windows and buttresses, and
containing the shrine of St Thomas of Canterbury, with a ruined piscina
on the pier of one of the pillars. S.E. of the church is the court-room
(now a cow-house), which is sometimes styled the refectory, but
erroneously, since there is no fireplace. It is assigned to the early
part of the 15th cent. The barn (14th cent.) has Dec. doorways, rounded
buttresses on either side of the main entrance, and remains of finials.
_Wookey_, a village 2 m. W. from Wells, with a station on the G.W.R.
Cheddar branch. The church--chiefly Perp., with a blend of E.E.--is
interesting. The tower stair turret carries a lofty spirelet. Note
within (1) E.E. columns in N. aisle; (2) squints, especially the one on
N., combined with piscina. On the S. side of the sanctuary is a small
Perp. chapel decorated with modern frescoes, containing a plain
altar-tomb to Thos. Clarke and wife, 1689. In the churchyard is the
base of a cross. Near the church is Mellifont Abbey, built on the site
of the old rectory, and ornamented with fragments of the original
building. The Court, a farm-house in the fields, was once a manorial
residence of the Bishops of Bath and Wells. It has an E.E. doorway.
_Wookey Hole_ is a cavern (1-1/2 m. away) which gives its name (said to
be a corruption of _ogof_, Celtic for "cavern") to the village. It is
the oldest known cave in Great Britain, and was once inhabited (legend
asserts) by an ancient witch. It may be reached either from Wookey
Station or, just as easily, from Wells. Proceed through the hamlet to
the large paper-mill and inquire at the farm opposite for a guide (fee,
1s. 6d.; 1s. each for two or more). A pathway runs up the L. bank of
the stream which feeds the paper-mill, and ends abruptly in a
precipitous wall of rock. The stream, which is the source of the Axe,
will be seen issuing from a large natural archway at the base of the
cliff. An orifice in the rock enables the visitor to descend "Hell's
Ladder" to the "witch's kitchen"--a spacious chamber which, when
illuminated by the primitive device of igniting the scattered contents
of an oil-can, will be seen to contain some large stalagmites, the
witch and her dog on guard; and by pursuing a further series of
corridors, entry is gained to the witch's "drawing-room" and "parlour."
The three caverns are all of considerable extent, and have a strong
resemblance to Gough's caves at Cheddar, but are without the pendant
stalactites so profusely displayed at the latter. The gallery is 500
ft. long, and ends in a miniature lake. Geologically the series of
caverns is of much interest, on account of the varied assortment of
bones of extinct cave animals once contained in them. Cartloads of
these bones are said to have been thrown on the land as manure.
Recently another collection of bones has been discovered in a hitherto
unsuspected chamber near the roof of the main series. The visitor to
Wookey Hole should extend his peregrinations to _Ebbor Rocks_, which
are close by and are worth a visit.
_Woolavington_, a village 4-1/2 m. N.E. of Bridgwater (nearest stat.
Cossington, 1 m.). The church, restored in 1882, retains little of
interest. There are piscinas in the chancel and in a small N. chapel,
and a small squint in the N. chancel pier. Note the carved stone (with
sacred monogram) on the interior face of the tower.
_Woolverton_, a village 4 m. N. from Frome. The church is a small,
aisleless building with a diminutive W. tower and spire. The S. porch
has a ribbed stone roof.
_Wootton Courtney_, a small village 4 m. W. from Dunster. It is a
somewhat sequestered little place on the fringe of Exmoor, but in
summer not without a quiet charm derived from the neighbouring woods
and its proximity to the hills. The church has a plain saddle-back
tower, partly Norm. (observe corbel table), and one or two other
features of interest. The piers of the arcade have some canopied niches
on their S. face. Note (1) square columnar stoup in porch; (2) angels
on rear arches of windows within, and devils on dripstone without; (3)
rood staircase; (4) blocked squint on N. The churchyard contains some
fine yew trees and the shaft of a cross. The neighbouring hamlet of
Tivington possesses a vaulted 15th-cent. chapel, with a priest's house
attached. A fine view of Dunkery and the vale of Porlock is obtained
_Wootton, North_, a village 2 m. N. of West Pennard (S. & D.). The
church has a low W. tower, possessing one pre-Reformation bell. The
porch contains a curious stoup; the font is Norm.
_Worle_, a village 2-1/2 m. E. of Weston-super-Mare. Its church (ded.
to St Martin) has the rather rare addition of a short spire above its
W. tower. The most notable features of the building are the Norm.
remains, viz., the S. door, the octagonal font, and the little window
(cut out of a single stone), which is inserted in the later porch. Note
also (1) the carved stone pulpit (once in a different position, for
there is a piscina behind it), (2) the "Miserere" seats (only those on
the N. are ancient, one of them has the initials P.R.S., explained as
those of Richard Sprynge, Prior of Woodspring and Vicar of Worle at the
end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th cents.), (3) piscina,
sedilia, and aumbry in the chancel.
_Worlebury Camp_. See _Weston-super-Mare_.
_Wraxall_, a parish 5 m. E. from Clevedon and 2 m. from Nailsea
Station. Its church has a tower, the appearance of which is spoilt by
the windows rising above the string-courses. The pinnacles are good,
and projecting above the parapets are niches for figures (_cp._
Brislington, Tickenham). The S. porch (E.E.) originally had a chamber
over it; the door leading to it still remains. In the interior observe
(1) the roof, (2) some screen-work, partly ancient and partly modern,
(3) on the N. side of the chancel a tomb with two effigies, believed to
be those of Sir E. and Lady Gorges. In the churchyard is a fine
15th-cent. cross. The view of the church, as it is approached from
Clevedon, is particularly pretty, the woods near it seeming to embower
it; whilst from its vicinity a fine prospect is obtainable.
_Wrington_, a large and compact village 10 m. S.W. of Bristol. A light
railway connects it with Yatton. In size and arrangement it is
practically a little town, and is surrounded by some very pretty
country. The glory of Wrington is its church, which possesses one of
the finest towers in Somerset. It is a stately and harmonious
composition, with long and graceful belfry windows, and bears a strong
family likeness to the towers of Evercreech and St Cuthbert's, Wells.
The church as a whole is worthy of its tower, though the chancel is, as
usual, low and undignified. Both inside and out the design is rich
without being florid, and the workmanship good. The beauty of the
interior is much enhanced by the insertion of "vaulting shafts" beneath
the corbels of both nave and aisles. It contains few curiosities. Note