St Mary's is quite simply a glorious edifice. On the day we visited it was bathed in warm sunshine which made the red sandstone glow. Considered by some to be the most perfect example in the group of late Perpendicular towers, known as the Quantock Group, built between 1440 and 1510 in Taunton Deane.
Inside, the church is just as glorious. Here is the nave looking east. .
The simplicity of the columns and the lack of a chancel arch give the space an open yet solid feeling. The nave and arcades were built in the 13th century; although the south aisle was originally narrower
In the south aisle is this tomb, topped with a huge slab of polished Purbeck marble. It was to accommodate this tomb that the south aisle was widened in about 1400. The tomb was erected in honour of John de la Warre who fought at Poitiers in 1356 and took part in the capture of King John of France. On the sides of the tomb are shields bearing the arms of the Warre and allied families, repainted at the direction of Captain George Warre in 1936.
The octagonal stone font is 16th century Perpendicular, with a modern cover (1900).
The brass chandelier was made in 1773 by Thos. Bayley of Bridgewater, costing £24 when new!
The chancel is 16th century; the arch through to the south aisle was put in later. The great east (Perpendicular) window was re-glazed in 1923. To see the rest of the stained glass in the building, click here or on the image below.
The carved pulpit is the work of a local craftsman and dates from 1742.
The oak benches were installed in 1552, and no carved panel is like another.
The organ was relocated into its present position under the wonderful tower arch in the 1970s.
The ceiling of the south porch, which was added during the reconstructions that began with the tower (c. 1520), has a four centred archway and a simply fabulous vaulted ceiling.
Here is a view of the south elevation, taken from below as the graveyard slopes away quite steeply. The Yew tree to the left is supposed to be as old as the church. The central window of the south aisle is early Perpendicular, those flanking it are 19th century restorations in the same style. All are set in a wall that was rebuilt in the 13th century in order to widen the south aisle.
The final view of this very special building is of its glory, the tower, taken from the west. The strange creatures that clamber up the corner of the towers are known as "hunky punks", and are purely decorative. The tower is interesting for the adornment of the pinnacles with flying shafts and with the addition of weather mouldings to the windows.
Factual information on this page taken from the excellent guide for sale in the church - one of the best designed parish church guides I've seen. Opinions are my own!
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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