G.W. Wade and J.H. Wade
Part 2 out of 5
situation on an ancient track cut through what was once a surrounding
forest. The church (dedicated to SS. Aldhelm and Edburga) is cruciform,
with E.E. lights at the E. end, though the W. tower and nave windows
are Perp. Its most interesting features are the 15th-cent. hexagonal
font with six figures (seemingly of apostles) at the angles, and the
churchyard cross, with two effigies under a single canopy on its W.
_Brockley_ is a small parish on the road from Bristol to Weston
(nearest stat. Nailsea, 2 m.). The church lies a little to the R. of
the main road from Bristol; it is E.E., but retains a Norm, font. There
is an ancient court-house close by.
On the left of the road is _Brockley Combe_, a beautiful glen between
two wooded hills, flanked on one side for some distance by rocky
cliffs, which are unfortunately being quarried in places. The wealth of
foliage in summer makes the ascent of the combe a delightful walk or
drive. It affords access to Chew Magna and Stanton Drew.
_Brompton Ralph_, a parish 4 m. from Wiveliscombe, on the road to
Watchet. The church is conspicuous by its position and has a tall
tower, but is not otherwise remarkable, though it retains its old oak
_Brompton Regis_ or _King's Brompton_, a village 5-1/2 m. N.E. of
Dulverton Station, lying amongst the hills which form the more
cultivated fringe of Exmoor. The church has the usual local
characteristics--a plain tower of the Exmoor type, and the Devonshire
foliage round the arcade capitals. Note plain large squint on S., and
another, of more ornate character, on N. There is a plain Jacobean
_Broomfield_, a parish situated at the S. end of the Quantocks, 5 m. N.
of Taunton. In the church, which has a plain embattled tower and square
turret, the chief features of interest are: (1) stoup in S. porch, (2)
the foliaged capitals of the arcade (on one note the emblems of the
Passion), (3) the seat-ends, sadly needing repair, one of which bears
the name of Simon Warman (whose name occurs on the woodwork at Trull),
(4) the fine old glass in the S. window of the chancel. In the
churchyard is the headless shaft of a cross. The mansion close by is
_Fyne Court_. A mile away to the N.N.E. is _Ruborough Camp_. It is
remarkable for its shape, being triangular in plan (cp. Tedbury, near
Mells), and occupies the extremity of a ridge between two declivities.
It covers 27 acres, and is overgrown with firs, which make inspection
difficult. On the W., the only vulnerable side, it is defended by an
additional vallum and fosse, thrown across the ridge 100 yards from the
base of the triangle (where the entrance to the camp is supposed to
have been). It is regarded as Roman, the usual rectangular plan being
adapted to the nature of the ground.
_Brushford_, a parish near Dulverton Station, but 2 m. S. from
Dulverton itself. It has an aisleless church, interesting only for (1)
a good 15th-cent. screen, (2) a font, of which the bowl and base date
from the 13th cent. There is a splendid oak tree in the churchyard,
which is reputed to be 600 years old.
BRUTON, a small town of 1788 inhabitants, 7 m. S.E. from Shepton Mallet,
with a station on the G.W.R. Frome and Weymouth line. It is also served
by bus from Cole Station (S. & D.), 1-1/2 m. away. It is a quaint
little place, lying at the bottom of a deep valley watered by the Brue,
to the proximity of which it owes its name. Bruton makes no show of
business; its activities are chiefly educational. The antiquarian will,
however, find here much to interest him, for there is a fine church,
and the town has many ecclesiastical associations. It was at one time
the site of a Benedictine Priory, which was subsequently converted into
an abbey of Austin Canons in 1525. Of this foundation nothing now
remains but a three-storeyed pigeon-house (which stands out
conspicuously on the summit of a little knoll behind the town) and the
abbey court-house in High Street (see below). The abbey itself stood on
the site of the present rectory, which is said to incorporate one of
its walls. At the Reformation the monastery went down in the wreck of
the religious houses, and Sir M. Berkley, who as the king's
standard-bearer was not without friends at Court, came in for the
spoil. The church is a handsome Perp. building, with a noble W. tower
of the Shepton type, decorated with triple windows and a rich parapet.
A second small tower rises above the N. porch (a very unusual feature).
The interior is remarkable for the painful incongruity of the
chancel--a pseudo-classical structure, built in 1743, to replace the
dismantled monastic choir. It contains in a recess on N. recumbent
effigies of Sir M. Berkley and wives (1559-85), and on the opposite
wall a tablet to W. Godolphin (1636). The nave is extremely handsome,
and is covered with a fine roof. Note (1) niches between clerestory
windows (cp. St Mary's, Taunton), (2) stepped recess in N. aisle (cp.
Chewton), (3) indications, on N. and S. walls, of stairway to
rood-loft, which, unless the building was once shorter, must have stood
in an unusually forward position, (4) piscina in S. aisle, (5) fragment
of mediaeval cope in N.E. corner of nave, (6) chained copies of Jewel
(1609) and Erasmus (1548), (7) Jacobean screen under tower. At the W.
gateway is an ancient tomb, said to be that of Abbot Gilbert, whose
initials, _W.G._ are cut on one of the battlements of the N. wall. Near
the school is a quaint pack-horse bridge ("Bruton Bow") spanning the
river (cp. Allerford). In High Street (S. side) will be noticed the old
_Abbey Court-house_ (now a private residence), bearing on its wall the
"canting" device of Prior Henton (1448). On the same side of the street
is _Sexey's Hospital_, an asylum for a few old men and women, founded
in 1638 by Hugh Sexey, a Bruton stable-boy, who in the "spacious days"
of Good Queen Bess rose to be auditor in the royal household. It
consists of a quadrangle, the S. side of which is formed by a combined
hall and chapel of Elizabethan architecture, finely panelled with black
oak. The surplus revenues of Sexey's estate support a local Trade
School. Bruton also possesses a well-equipped Grammar School, of Edward
IV.'s foundation, which replaced an earlier school established here in
1520 by Richard Fitz-James, Bishop of London (1506-22).
_Brympton d'Evercy_, a small parish 3 m. W. of Yeovil. It gets its name
from the D'Evercys, who seem to have possessed the estate in the 13th
cent., but it subsequently passed to other families, till in the 15th
cent. it fell to the Sydenhams, changing hands again in the 18th cent.
The church is a very interesting structure of the Dec. period. It is
cruciform in plan, with a N. chapel of Perp. date, and has on its W.
gable a large bell-cot (cp. Chilthorne Domer). Within, note (1) stone
screen (Perp.), remarkable for the seat along its W. front, (2)
piscinas in chancel, transepts, and chapel, (3) font (Dec.), (4) pulpit
(Jacobean), (5) chandeliers (said to be Dutch), (6) squints. There are
several effigies, which are not in their original positions, but are
conjectured to have belonged to a chapel now destroyed. They are, (1)
in the N. transept an abbot and a nun beneath recesses carved with
modern reliefs; (2) in the chapel a knight in armour and a lady.
Between the chapel and chancel is the large coloured tomb of Sir John
Sydenham, 1626 (the curious epitaph is worth reading). In the chapel is
some ancient glass, and in the churchyard there is the base of an old
cross and two early fonts.
N. of the church is a building of two storeys, variously described as a
_chantry house_ (a chantry was founded here by Sir Peter d'Evercy,
1307) or a _manor house_, with an external octagon turret containing a
staircase. _Brympton House_ (the residence of Sir S.C.B. Ponsonby-Fane)
has a good W. front of Tudor date (note arms of Henry VIII.), with a
porch added in 1722, and a S. front built in the 18th cent., though
from designs by Inigo Jones (died 1697), with terrace leading to the
_Buckland Denham_, a village prominently perched on a hillside 3 m.
N.W. from Frome. It was once a busy little town with a flourishing
cloth trade. The church has a W. tower with an unusual arrangement of
windows (cp. Hemington). The Norm. S. doorway and the device by which
the upper part of the porch has been converted into a parvise should be
noticed. Three chapels are attached to the church. The one at the N.,
originally the chantry of Sir J. Denham, has on the floor the figures
of a knight and his lady in relief. In two of the chapels are piscinas,
and there is a large one in the chancel. Some ancient glass, with
emblems of the Evangelists, will be found in one of the chapels. The
Norm. font, with different mouldings on opposite sides, deserves
_Buckland St Mary_, a parish 5 m. N.W. of Chard, has a modern church
(1853-63), very richly decorated, which it owes to the munificence of
the rector, though to some its ornateness will seem a little out of
harmony with its rural surroundings. The wooden cover of the font is
said to be all that remains of the former church. Not far away are a
number of flint stones which are conjectured to be Celtic memorials.
_Buckland, West_, 5 m. S.W. of Taunton, has a Perp. church, preserving
earlier materials, but of no great interest to the ordinary observer.
The W. tower has the bell-turret on the S. side (cp. Wellington and
Bradford). Note (1) the Norm. font (on a modern base), (2) the entrance
to the former rood-loft. The churchyard commands a fine view.
_Burnett_, a small village 2-1/2 m. S.E. of Keynsham. The church is a
tiny late Perp. building of poor workmanship. In the organ-chamber is a
small brass to John Cuttle (1575), once Mayor of Bristol. An attendant
family are all quaintly labelled.
_Burnham_, a watering-place on the Bristol Channel, 24 m. S.W. from
Bristol and 8 N. from Bridgwater. The S. & D. branch line from Edington
Junction has a terminal station here. Neither art nor nature has done
much for Burnham. Though a good deal exploited by the local railway
company as a half-holiday resort, it possesses few attractions for the
summer visitor. It has shown recently some signs of improvement, but no
enterprise can make a first-rate watering-place out of a muddy estuary
and a strip of sandy shore. A small pier, a narrow esplanade, and some
small gardens form its chief artificial recommendations, and its one
natural merit is an invigorating breeze which never seems to fail. A
tall lighthouse, standing some considerable distance away from the sea,
is a conspicuous landmark on the N., and a supplementary light burns
from a wooden erection on the beach. The church of St Andrew, near the
esplanade, is early Perp. Its two features of interest are its leaning
W. tower, and an altar-piece designed by Inigo Jones for Whitehall
Chapel, but eventually erected in Westminster Abbey. It appears to have
been turned out of the abbey as lumber on the occasion of George IV.'s
coronation, and to have been placed in Burnham Church by the then
vicar, who was also Canon of Westminster.
_Burrington_, a small village in the Vale of Wrington, with a station
on the Light Railway. It possesses a remarkable ravine, which would be
considered fine by any one unacquainted with Cheddar. It has the
magnitude but not the grandeur of its famous competitor. The hillsides
present merely a series of steep slopes broken by protruding masses of
rock. The combe runs up to the shoulders of Blackdown, and is
throughout wild and picturesque. Like the Cheddar gorge, it abounds in
caverns, there being no fewer than four, all of which have been
prolific in "finds." It was whilst taking shelter here that Toplady
composed "Rock of Ages." On one of the hills above the combe is a Roman
encampment fenced with a rough wall of stone, locally known as
_Burrington Ham_. Another picturesque spot in the neighbourhood is a
glen called Rickford. The church, which stands in some fields near the
mouth of the gorge, is a Perp. building with a low W. tower and a
peculiarly graceful spirelet over the rood-loft turret. There are some
good parapets to the aisles, but the roof of one of the chapels
projects in an ugly manner above that of the chancel (cp. Yatton). Note
(1) ancient glass in window above N. door, (2) pieces of an old bell
with maker's mark (a ship), _c._ 1470.
_Burrow_ (or _Borough) Bridge_, 1-1/2 m. N.E. of Athelney Station. It
is noteworthy for its conical hill, locally called the _Mump_, crowned
by a ruined church (St Michael's). It affords an extensive view over
the surrounding plain, and may be the site of Alfred's fort (see p.
_Burtle_, a parish 1 m. N. of Edington Station. (S. & D.). The church
_Butcombe_, a village 2 m. N. of Blagdon, prettily situated in a nook
of the Wrington Vale. Several monastic bodies originally owned property
here, but the church does not seem to have benefited largely by their
proprietorship. It is a small Perp. structure, of no great interest.
_Butleigh_ is a pleasant village, 4 m. S. of Glastonbury. Of its church
the only old portions are the tower (which is central), the nave, the
porch, and the chancel, to which N. and S. transepts and a N. aisle
have been added in modern times. Most of the windows of the nave and
chancel are Dec., with foliated rear arches. The large W. window is
Perp., and contains some ancient glass. In the S. transept is a
monument to the three brothers Hood, with a long epitaph in blank verse
by Southey. In the N. aisle are preserved figures (Jacobean) of a man
and woman, with a kneeling child between them, obviously portions of an
old tomb. The neighbouring mansion is _Butleigh Court_ (R.N.
Grenville). The tall column which is so conspicuous from the
Glastonbury Plain was erected to the memory of Sir Samuel Hood.
_Cadbury Camp_, near Tickenham. See _Tickenham_. The name is perhaps
connected with the Welsh _cad_ (battle). There is another near Yallon.
_Cadbury, North_, a village 2-1/2 m. E. from Sparkford Station
(G.W.R.). It possesses a remarkably fine Perp. church, built by Lady
Eliz. Botreaux (1427) for a college of eight priests. The tower, of
more than ordinarily plain design, is of rather earlier date, and the
arcades have probably been preserved from some previous structure. The
interior, though not rich, is imposing, owing to its size and excellent
proportions. The chancel is of great dignity, and some elaborately
carved tabernacles, bearing traces of colouring, flank each side of the
E. window, and form a fine architectural addition to the E. end. The
roofs and bench ends (1538) should also be observed. Note (1) altar
slab fixed to N. wall of sanctuary, (2) rood-loft stair and turret, (3)
three altar-tombs under tower, one (early 15th cent.) bearing effigies
of Sir W. and Lady Eliz. Botreaux, (4) fragments of glass in W. window.
Of this church, Ralph Cudworth, the famous Cambridge philosopher, was
At the S.E. of the church is _Cadbury Court_, a fine gabled Elizabethan
mansion, with a curiously incongruous modern front on the S.
_Cadbury, South_ (2-1/4 m. E. of Sparkford), is a village on the N.E.
side of Cadbury Camp, with a church dedicated to St Thomas a Becket,
who is perhaps intended by the fresco of a bishop which is on the splay
of a window in the N. aisle. The responds of the aisle arches are
curiously banded. There is a good reredos, a piscina, and a hagioscope.
_Cadbury Castle_, near Sparkford (2 m. away), is the most remarkable of
all the Somerset earthworks. Besides its antiquarian importance, the
"Castle" derives a romantic interest from its popular association with
the fabled Camelot. The hill is best ascended by a lane near a
farm-house to the S. of S. Cadbury Church. Though much covered with
timber, the fortifications are still clearly traceable, and consist of
a quadruple series of ramparts and ditches. The interior "ring" is
faced with wrought masonry. The fortifications enclose an area of some
18 acres, and the crest of the hill is crowned by a mound locally known
as King Arthur's Palace. The defensive works must originally have been
of great strength, and are impressive even in their decay. The S. face
of the hill is fashioned into a series of terraces, possibly with a
view to cultivation. A well, called King Arthur's Well, will be found
within the lowest rampart by taking the path to the right of the
entrance gate. Another well--Queen Anne's--is in the neighbourhood of
the keeper's cottage. The country-side is rich in Arthurian traditions.
King Arthur and his knights are said on moonlight nights to gallop
round the fortifications on steeds shod with silver shoes. A hardly
traceable forest-path runs at the base of the hill in the direction of
Glastonbury. This is King Arthur's hunting track. Apart from these
legendary associations, Cadbury must have played a considerable part in
the British struggle for freedom. It may have been here (instead of at
Penselwood) that the West Welsh made their last effort against
Cenwealh, when he drove them to the Parrett (see p. 12). For so low an
eminence, the "castle" commands a remarkably extensive view. The great
plain of Central Somerset spreads away at the foot of the hill. In the
foreground is the ever-conspicuous Glastonbury Tor; the Mendip ridge
closes the horizon on the right; the Quantocks and Brendons are in
front; and the Blackdowns and Dorset highlands lie jumbled together on
_Camel, Queen_ (1 m. S.W. of Sparkford Station), is a large and
attractive village, owing its name to the neighbouring stream, the Cam.
Its church is a dignified structure with a lofty tower, which has its
turret unusually placed at the N.W. angle (cp. Yeovil and Martock). The
arcade has octagonal piers. Two of them have small niches, and there is
a clerestory above. The roof has embattled tie-beams, the space above
them being filled with Perp. tracery. The E. window is lofty. The
chancel has a screen and rood-loft, with fan tracery E. and W.; the
staircase is in the S. pier of the arch. At the E. end is a piscina and
a sedile, each under an elaborate triple ogee canopy. The Perp. font is
unusual, being supported on pillars which have niches containing
figures. On the S. side of the church there is an incongruous
"classical" porch (cp. Sutton Montis). In the parish is a mineral
spring with properties resembling those of Harrogate waters.
_Camel, West_, a village 2 m. S.W. of Sparkford Station, has a church
with many features of interest. In plan it is cruciform, the S.
transept being under the tower, which is on the S. side, and is crowned
by a small spire. The arches of the tower, chancel, and N. transept are
probably Dec. The E. window is Dec., with the interior arch foliated.
The rest are Perp. The nave roof deserves notice. The chancel contains
a double piscina under a large foliated arch, and triple sedilia. The
font is Norm., with shallow arcading round the basin. Near it is a
fragment of the shaft of a cross, ascribed to the 9th cent., with the
interlaced carving generally associated with Celtic and Irish crosses.
In a window behind the pulpit there is some ancient glass.
_Camely_, a parish about 1-1/2 m. S.W. from Clutton Station, deriving
its name from another Cam. The church is a solitary building standing
back from the roadside. It has a good Perp. W. tower, but a very
uncouth-looking nave and chancel.
_Camerton_, a flourishing colliery village lying in a deep valley about
2 m. N.N.E. of Radstock. It has a terminal station on a small branch
line running up from Hallatrow. The church, which is rather obscurely
situated at the back of the rectory, has been well restored, and is
handsomely furnished. The chancel is new. A side chapel contains two
altar-tombs to members of the Carew family (1640-86), said to be mere
replicas of the original tombs in Carew Church, Pembrokeshire. Note (1)
stoup inside N. doorway, (2) piscina in organ chamber. _Camerton Court_
(Miss Jarrett), a modern building with a colonnade, stands over against
the church on the other side of the dale.
_Cannington_, a large village 4 m. N.W. of Bridgwater, is a place of
some interest. It is the birthplace of a distinguished man, for at
_Brymore House_, hard by, John Pym was born. The church has some
unusual features, for a single roof covers nave, aisles, and chancel;
and there is no chancel arch. The whole building is very lofty, and it
has good E. and W. windows. The tower, which will be seen to be out of
line with the axis of the nave, is richly ornamented with niches. Note
externally the turret above the rood staircase, and the series of
consecration crosses (12) on the E. and S. wall of the chancel; and in
the interior observe (1) the carved oak cornice, (2) the screen (the
upper part restored), (3) Norm. pillar (a survival of an earlier
church) in the vestry, (4) old Bible of 1617. A priory of Benedictine
nuns, founded by a De Courcy (of Stoke Courcy) in 1138, once existed
here. The large house with mullioned windows, near the church, now
occupied by a Roman Catholic industrial school, was once a court-house
belonging to the Clifford family.
Down a road running E. from the church is _Gurney Street Farm_, an old
manor-house. It has a small chapel, with piscina, aumbry, niches, and
carved roof; above is a chamber (probably for the priest), reached by
stairs, each of which consists of a single block of oak, while behind
is a room panelled in oak, with a window looking into the chapel.
A mile from the village on the Stowey road (take path to left) is
another manor house, _Blackmoor Farm_. It has a good porch, and retains
its chapel (note piscina and niches), over the W. end of which some of
the chambers on the first floor project.
_Carhampton_, a village on the Dunster and Williton road, 2 m. S.E. of
Dunster. The church has been restored and in parts rebuilt. It still
contains a fine and richly coloured screen, evidently copied from the
one at Dunster (cp. Timberscombe), but there are no indications of a
stairway. Note (1) piscinas in S. aisle and chancel, (2) carved
wall-plate in S. aisle. There is the base of a cross in the churchyard.
On the road to Blue Anchor there is an ancient manor-house, called
_Marshwood Farm_, which has in its porch some curious plaster figures.
CASTLE CARY, a small market town at S.E. corner of the county, with a
station (1 m.) at the junction of the G.W.R. Weymouth line with the
Langport loop. Its population in 1901 was 1904. The town has a pleasant
air of old-fashionedness about it. The castle which gave it its name
long since disappeared from history, and until recently from knowledge.
It was only in 1890 that its site was revealed. Some excavations in a
field at the bottom of Lodge Hill brought to light the foundations of a
large square Norm. keep. Its outlines are now marked by pillars. It
seems to have acquired notoriety chiefly in the disorderly days of
Stephen. The Church possesses a good spire, and is conspicuously
situated. But though outwardly picturesque, it has little of interest
within. Note, however, (1) piscina in chancel, (2) oak screen, (3)
carved pulpit, (4) panel and canopied effigy over S. porch. There is
also a shallow font (_temp._ Henry VI.) on a pedestal of curious
_Castle Neroche_, locally known as Castle Ratch, a remarkable earthwork
of problematical origin, 7 m. S. of Taunton. It crowns the edge of a
precipitous hillside, over which runs the main road to Chard. The camp
is of quite exceptional strength, and occupies a position of great
strategic importance. Recent excavations have proved it to have been
occupied and strengthened, if not originally made, by the Normans. On
the accessible side looking towards Chard the station is defended by a
triple row of ramparts and ditches, but the side overlooking the vale
of Taunton is so precipitous that the only protection provided appears
to have been a kind of citadel surmounted probably by a keep. The
centre of this once formidable military position is now incongruously
occupied by a farm-house. The view from the citadel or beacon across
Taunton Dean is far-reaching and exhilarating. The outlook on the other
side is circumscribed by the high ground beyond.
_Castle of Comfort_, a lonely public-house on the top of the Mendips,
standing by the side of the Bristol and Wells road. For the tourist it
forms a very convenient landmark from which to indicate the more
interesting features of the Mendip plateau. (1) The Roman road from
Uphill to Old Sarum may be traced across a field near the house. (2)
The Devil's Punch Bowl, one of the most notable swallets on the
Mendips, is 1/4 m. nearer Bristol (climb a wall on the R. and the
swallet, a funnel-shaped hollow, partly overgrown with brushwood, will
be seen in a field about 100 yards from the roadside). (3) The old
Roman lead mines are 2-1/2 m. away on the road to Charterhouse. (4) The
"Lamb's Lair" cavern (now unexplorable) lies 2 m. to the N. near the
Bristol road. (5) Nine Barrows, to find which take the Wells road; 1/2
m. to the S. is another solitary inn, and opposite are the barrows.
_Catcott_, a village on the Poldens, 3 m. S. of Edington Station. The
church is quaint; note, in particular, the old oak seats, and the odd
means by which they can be lengthened. There is an old octagonal font.
_Chaffcombe_, a secluded village on the slope of Windwhistle Hill,
2-1/2 m. N.E. from Chard. The church is a small Dec. building with a
Perp. W. tower containing a pre-Reformation bell.
_Chantry_, or _Little Elm_, a small village 4-1/2 m. S.W. from Frome.
The church is a beautiful bit of modern Gothic, designed by Sir G.
_Chapel Allerton_, a village 4-1/2 m. S.W. from Axbridge. The church is
a 13th-cent. building which has been subsequently altered and enlarged.
In the parish are the remains of an old "hundred stone," marking the
boundaries of the hundred of Bempstone.
CHARD, a market town of 4437 inhabitants, at the S. extremity of the
county, served by both the G.W.R. and L. & S.W.R. Chard is a pleasant
variant upon the usual cramped type of Somerset county town. It spreads
itself out up the side of a hill with a magnificent disregard for
ground values in one broad and breezy street a mile long. Its situation
is remarkable for the impartiality of its maritime predilections, for
the runnels at the side of the thoroughfare are said to discharge their
contents, the one into the Bristol, the other into the English Channel.
Its early name, Cerde (for Cerdic), implies its Saxon origin, but it
was a benefaction of Bishop Joceline, who gave half his manor for its
extension, which really made the town. Chard has figured a little in
history. Charles I. and Fairfax both made some stay in it. Penruddock
suffered a severe reverse in the neighbourhood in 1655, and Monmouth,
in 1685, marched through Chard _en route_, as he thought, for the
throne, a circumstance which Jeffreys did not allow the town to forget.
"Hangcross tree," which once stood near the L. & S.W. station, was long
locally reputed to be the gibbet on which some of the Duke's
sympathisers expiated their treason. The town is nowadays chiefly
dependent upon a large lace works and some collar factories. The
church, which stands in the "old town" (turn down Axminster Road), is
said to have been erected about 1400, and is a spacious Perp. building
without a clerestory. It has a squat W. tower, some good porches (cp.
N. porch with Ilminster), and some bold gargoyles. Within note (1)
squints, (2) rood-loft stair with external turret, (3) indistinct
traces of mural paintings in N. transept, (4) Brewer monument (early
17th cent.) in N. transeptal chapel. The main street contains some
notable examples of domestic architecture--(1) gabled hostelry, "The
Choughs" (opposite street leading to church), (2) fine old house
opposite Town Hall, date about 1580, supposed to have been the court
house of the manor (containing an exceptionally fine room, with two
mullioned windows of 20 lights, and a moulded plaster ceiling), (3)
grammar school, at foot of the town opposite a fountain. A leaden pipe
carries the date 1583, though the present school was not founded till
_Charlcombe_ is a parish 2 m. N. of Bath, with a very small church,
which has a Norm. S. door. Note (1) the font (probably Norm.), (2) the
massive stone pulpit, (3) the reredos. There is a fine yew tree near
_Charlinch_, a parish 5 m. W. of Bridgwater. The second syllable
(recurring in _Moorlinch, Redlynch_) means a level terrace on the side
of a hill; the first is probably a personal name. Its church
illustrates many periods of architecture, for it has a Norm. font and
S. door (with depressed arch), a Trans. chancel arch (pointed), a Dec.
E. window, and Perp. tower, chapel (or transept), and nave windows. The
altar-piece, in memory of Lady Taunton, is a modern copy of the
15th-cent. painter Francia. There are two interesting epitaphs, one on
the S. wall of the chancel, the other on a brass on the floor. There
are also some fragments of ancient glass; and a stone, with a
consecration cross, is built into the porch.
E. of the church, on the road to Wembdon, is _Gothelney Hall_, an old
manor house, with a good front, and walls of great thickness. The
banqueting-hall (now divided into rooms) was on the first floor and had
a minstrel gallery, whilst the chapel was probably at the top of the
tower. There is an interesting collection of portraits of (it is
believed) former owners of the house.
_Charlton Adam_, a village 3 m. E. of Somerton, has a church which
contains a few features of interest. The chancel has two foliated
lancets; in the S. chapel there is the canopied tomb of Thomas Baker
(d. 1592); and in both chancel and chapel are some curious old seats.
Note also (1) the piscina, (2) Norm. font, (3) a Jacobean pulpit, (4)
rudely carved figures in S. porch. There seems to have been here a
chantry of the Holy Spirit from 1348 to 1547.
_Charlton Horethorne_ is a pleasant village 1-1/2 m. N.W. of Milborne
Port Station. The church has a well-proportioned Perp. tower with bold
buttresses; the rest of the building appears to be earlier. Note (1)
the recesses and niches in the N. and S. walls, (2) piscina, (3) heavy
cylindrical font. The church porch is old. In the parish are some
barrows which have been opened and found to contain remains.
_Charlton Mackrell_, 3 m. E. of Somerton, has a cruciform church with a
central tower, in the piers of which are large foliated squints. The
church contains little of interest; but note (1) the roof of the
chancel, with the angels above the corbels, (2) the piscina, (3) the
carved seat-ends (especially the figure of a satyr). The churchyard
cross has figures carved on it, perhaps the symbols of the four
Evangelists. Within the parish but nearer the village of Kingsdon is
_Lytes Cary House_, situated a little distance from the Glastonbury and
Ilchester road. It is an interesting example of domestic architecture,
the chapel dating from 1340, the rest of the building from the 15th
cent. The E. front has two oriels, whilst the S. front, crowned with a
parapet, bears the arms of Lyte (a chevron between 3 swans) and Horsey
(3 horses' heads), and the initials _I, E_ (John Lyte and Edith
Horsey). The chapel has a Dec. window and ruined piscina and stoup. The
hall, now divided by a wall, has a fine roof and cornice. An upper room
retains a good moulded ceiling, decorated with heraldic blazons.
_Charlton Musgrove_, a small village 1 m. N. of Wincanton. The church
is early Perp. and has a fair W. tower. Note (1) panelled chancel arch,
(2) square blocked squint, (3) odd-looking font. One of the bells is
pre-Reformation, and has the inscription _Regina coeli, laetare_.
_Charterhouse on Mendip_, a lonely hamlet at the W. end of the Mendips,
3 m. N.W. of Priddy. Here the Carthusians of Witham had a cell (hence
the name), but all traces of the building have now disappeared. The
locality is, however, still of interest as the scene of the Roman
mining industry. Here lead was unearthed and transported across the
hills for shipment at Uphill. The settlement seems to have been a sort
of Roman "Roaring Camp," where the miners relaxed the tedium of their
exile by the excitements of the gaming-table. The surrounding heaps of
slag have been rich in revelations. Discarded trinkets, spoons, forks,
beads, and dice bear eloquent testimony to their habits, whilst on a
shoulder of the neighbouring upland is an amphitheatre. (Take Blagdon
road and turn up a grassy lane on L.: the amphitheatre is in a field
near the top). The workings have now been abandoned, but many attempts
have been made since Roman times to re-start them. A Roman road is
distinctly traceable in the fields beyond the mines. It ran in a
straight line from Uphill to Old Sarum. The rounded upland on the N.W.,
a mile or so farther on, is Blackdown (1067 ft.), the highest point of
_Cheddar_, a large village 2-1/2 m. S.E. of Axbridge and 12 S.E. from
Weston-super-Mare. The G.W.R. line from Yatton to Wells has a station
here. There are few to whom Cheddar is not known by name as possessing
one of the most remarkable bits of scenery in the British Isles. The
gorge, the sides of which form the famous cliffs, cleaves the edge of
the Mendips very abruptly, and at its mouth lies the village. The most
impressive introduction to the sight is to approach Cheddar by road
from Priddy and to descend the ravine from the top of the hills, as the
cliffs increase in grandeur in the course of the descent, and the best
is thus kept till last. To the majority of sightseers who arrive by
train this is, of course, a counsel of perfection, but it is as well
that those who ascend from the village should be warned that the top of
the pass emerges upon open tableland, and that nothing remarkable
awaits them at the end of their climb. The grand _canon_ is only a
quarter of a mile or so from the mouth of the gorge. Here the road
winds in and out like a double S at the foot of the cliffs, which,
gracefully festooned with creepers, tower above the spectator like the
bastions of some gigantic castle. Possibly there are higher walls of
rock elsewhere, but there are none which, for their height, have the
same perpendicularity. In some cases they rise sheer from the roadway
with a vertical face of 450 ft. Unfortunately an energetically worked
quarry has wrecked one side of the ravine, and the clatter of the
machinery detracts considerably from the repose of the scene. Near the
entrance of the pass a detached mass of rock roughly resembling a
crouching lion guards it like a sentinel. At its feet is spread a
pretty little sheet of water fed by subterranean streams. In these
hidden rivulets we have no doubt the instrument which nature has used
to fashion the cliffs. Geologists assert that the gorge is but the
ruins of a collapsed tunnel which once carried the water of some
primeval river. A series of caverns at the entrance of the valley are
vigorously exploited by their owners as "side shows" to this exhibition
of natural marvels. Of these caves _Cox's_, the one nearest the
village, was discovered as early as 1832, and has long been known to
excursionists as one of the sights of Cheddar (entrance fee 1s.). The
stalactites within are highly fantastic in shape and peculiarly rich in
colour. There is, however, more to be seen for the money at _Gough's_,
a little higher up, where a similar charge is made. A long natural
gallery, rendered in places more accessible by excavation, runs for a
quarter of a mile into the heart of the rock and opens up a series of
vast chambers elaborately hung with stalactites. When the electric
light is thrown on these pendants an almost pantomimic effect is
produced. The scientific interest of the cavern consists in the
abundant remains of extinct animals that from time to time have been
discovered here. Amongst other specimens on show at the entrance are
the bones of a pre-historic man unearthed in 1903. At a point along the
gallery will be heard the rumble of a hidden river.
[Illustration: CHEDDAR VILLAGE]
The village itself is not particularly picturesque. In its centre is an
ancient hexagonal cross (cp. Shepton) of no great merit, and much
doctored. The cheeses for which Cheddar is also famous are not the
exclusive product of the locality but are extensively made throughout
Somerset. The church is worth inspection. It is a fine Perp. building,
with a lofty W. tower of four stages. It has triple belfry windows, and
a spired stair turret, but the shallowness of the buttresses detracts
from its impressiveness. Within there is a good coloured roof, some
Perp. screens, a good 15th-cent. stone pulpit (also coloured), some
carved benches, and a rich S. chantry chapel of the Fitz-Walters. In
the sanctuary note the fine piscina and the brasses to the De
Cheddars--one to Sir Thomas on a recessed altar-tomb on the N., and a
smaller one to his wife on the floor below. The piers of the arcade
stand on some curious bases, probably the foundations of earlier
columns. The general effect of the interior is spoilt by the fantastic
modern colouring at the E. end.
_Cheddon Fitzpaine_, a parish 2 m. N.E. of Taunton, preserving, like
Stoke Courcy, Stoke Gomer, Norton Fitzwarren, the name of its Norman
lord. It has a nice church, which, however, contains little that is
noteworthy. The piers of the S. arcade have figures on the capitals
(cp. Taunton St Mary's), and there are a few bench ends and two
_Chedzoy_ (2-1/2 m. from Bridgwater) is, with its neighbour Weston
Zoyland, a village of great historic interest, since between the two is
the field of Sedgemoor. The final _-oy_ is probably identical with the
_-ey_ (isle) which occurs in Athelney and Muchelney, whilst _chedz-_
may be the possessive of _Cedda_, a Saxon personal name. The church of
St Mary well deserves inspection. The embattled tower has double belfry
windows, and is noteworthy for the unusual way in which the buttresses
are finished. From its summit, in 1685, the approach of the royal
troops towards Sedgemoor was discovered through a telescope. Over the
S. porch is the date 1579, and the initials R.B. (Richard Bere, Abbot
of Glastonbury), R.F. (Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester), and H.P.
(unknown). The interior is remarkable for the difference in the width
of the aisles, which are separated from the nave by an E.E. arcade,
above which there is a clerestory. Over the N. aisle there is a curious
arch, with some defaced carving (apparently a crucifixion) above it.
The chancel originally had a lateral chapel on the S., of which traces
are visible both within and without. On the W. buttress of the S.
transept there are still marks where Monmouth's rustics sharpened their
scythes and axes. On both the S. and N. walls of the church there are
consecration crosses. One of its most notable features is the
excellence of its woodwork: note in particular (1) the bench ends, one
of which has _M_ (Queen Mary), surmounted by a crown, with the date
1559; (2) the lectern, dated 1618; (3) the pulpit, with linen-pattern
carving; (4) the railings near the organ, and the base of the tower,
bearing the dates 1620 and 1637. The rood-screen is partly modern, but
contains some old work. Note also the holy-water stoup, squint,
sedilia, and double piscina. Three altar frontals have been constructed
out of a beautiful cope which was discovered under the pulpit. There is
a good brass (about 1490), said to belong to a Sydenham, near the S.
entrance. Recently (1904) a curious sale took place in accordance with
a custom which is said to have been observed since 1490, when a piece
of land was left to be sold every twenty-one years to provide for the
repairs of the church, the auction to last during the burning of half
an inch of candle, and the last bidder before the candle was consumed
to become the purchaser. A similar method of sale is stated to prevail
at Tatworth, near Chard.
_Chelvey_ is a village 1 m. S.W. of Nailsea Station. Its church, ded.
to St Bridget, preserves a Norm. door within the S. porch, and a Norm.
font on the S. side of the building. There is a large chapel containing
three recesses beneath ogee canopies. Note the corbels on either side
of the chancel to support the Lenten veil, and some curious old seats.
There is some old glass in the windows, and a cross in the churchyard.
In a farmhouse near are the remains of _Chelvey Court_, once the
residence of the Tynte family, who have memorials in the church.
_Chelwood_, a small parish 2 m. S.E. of Pensford. Its little church
contains nothing of interest except an ancient font (probably Norm.)
and a medley of early glass (probably French) in the W. window.
_Cheriton, North_, a pleasant village 3 m. S.W. of Wincanton. It has a
restored church, which preserves a pulpit of Charles I.'s time (1633),
and a tub font. The screen is, in the main, modern, though part dates
from the 15th cent.
_Chesterblade_, 2 m. N.E. of Evercreech, perhaps owes the first part of
its name to its contiguity to the camp on Small Down (mentioned below).
Its church has a Norm. S. door. Note also (1) the quaintly carved Norm.
corbels at the N.E. and S.E. angles of the nave, (2) the Norm. font,
(3) the stone reading-desk (16th cent.), (4) the bell-cot, (5) the base
of a very ancient cross in the churchyard. On the adjoining height of
_Small Down_ there is a camp, defended on the E. side by two ditches.
In it remains of flint implements and pottery have recently been found,
and are now preserved in the Taunton Museum.
_Chew Magna_ (originally Bishop's Chew) is a village on the Chew, 3 m.
W. from Pensford Station. As its appearance suggests, it was once a
small town. The main street has a raised causeway and several old
houses. The church, supposed to have been built by Bishop Beckington,
whose arms appear on the fabric, is a large and stately building with a
lofty Perp. W. tower. It has N. and S. aisles, but no clerestory. The
S. arcade is Dec. A fine gilded Perp. screen stretches right across the
church. Note (1) round-headed piscinas in sanctuary and S. aisle, (2)
Norm. font. There are several interesting monuments: (1) in S. chapel
an elaborate Elizabethan tomb with recumbent effigies of E. Baber and
wife (1575), (2) in N. chapel an altar-tomb with effigies of a gigantic
knight and a diminutive lady (Sir J. St Loe and wife), (3) in recess
beneath window in S. aisle a gaudily painted wooden figure of Sir John
Hautville (_temp._ Henry VII.), said to have been brought from Norton
Hautville Church (see _Stanton Drew_). The churchyard contains the base
of a cross. At the entrance to the churchyard is a fine old mediaeval
building with a good roof, where the manorial courts were once held.
Hard by is _Chew Court_, an old manor house, possessing a Tudor gateway
with a solar above. Down a lane leading off from the Chew Stoke road is
the _Manor House_, rebuilt in 1656 on the site of an earlier residence.
_Chew Stoke_, a village 4-1/2 m. S.W. from Pensford Station. The church
stands back from the road, and has a graceful tower (restored), with
spirelet. The building is Dec., but much restored. On the R. hand side
of lane leading to the church is the old rectory, a quaint 15th-cent.
building, with small octagonal turrets and a front much decorated with
_Chewton Mendip_, a prepossessing village, held in some repute by
sightseers, on the N.E. edge of the Mendips, 5 m. N.N.E. from Wells. It
may be reached from either Hallatrow (G.W.R.) or Binegar (S. & D.)
Stations. Its chief attraction is its singularly interesting church,
which possesses one of the most stately towers in the county. This, as
the most meritorious feature, should perhaps be noticed first. The
arrangement of double belfry windows in the _two_ upper stages is
unusual, and the conventional lines of the elaborately pierced parapet
above are relieved by the projecting stair turret and spirelet. The
general effect is rich and impressive. The figure of our Lord,
surrounded by four pairs of adoring angels, over the W. doorway should
also be observed (cp. Batcombe). In the body of the church note should
be taken of the good Norm. doorway forming the N. entrance. The
interior is remarkable for an ugly bit of mediaeval vandalism. To
render the altar observable from all parts of the church, a Norm.
triplet, which once formed the chancel arch, has been mutilated; a
pointed arch has been inserted, and the corner of the S. wall pared
away. The chancel contains the only extant specimen in Somerset of a
_frid stool_, a rough seat let into the sill of the N. window of the
sacrarium for the accommodation of any one claiming sanctuary. Note (1)
piscinas of different dates in chancel; (2) change of design in
arcading of nave, showing subsequent lengthening of church--the earlier
columns stand on Norm. bases; (3) rood-loft doorway and ancient pulpit
stairs near modern pulpit; (4) Jacobean lectern and Bible of 1611. The
"Bonville" chantry, S. of chancel, contains a 15th-cent. altar-tomb
with recumbent effigies of Sir H. Fitzroger and wife, and a modern
mural tablet with medallion to Viscountess Waldegrave. In the
churchyard is a weather-worn but fine cross, with a canopied crucifix.
The Communion plate is pre-Reformation, dating from 1511. The
neighbouring _Priory_ (Earl Waldegrave) is an unpretentious modern
building, occupying the site of an ancient Benedictine house,
afterwards tenanted by Carthusians. Portions of the old causeway which
once connected the priory with the church are still traceable.
_Chilcompton_, a village picturesquely situated at the bottom of a
valley through which flows a rivulet. The stream forms a pretty margin
to the village street. The church was entirely rebuilt in 1839, and a
chancel of better type added in 1897. On the hill above, which commands
an attractive view of the vale, is a station (S. & D.).
_Chillington_, a small village 4 m. N.W. from Crewkerne. It has a Perp.
church possessing an early font and some well-preserved early Communion
_Chilthorne Domer_, a village 3 m. N.W. of Yeovil, has a small church
with some interesting features. Like the churches of Ashington and
Brympton, it has no tower but a curious square bell-cot over the W.
gable. There is a piscina attached to the N. pier of the chancel arch.
Some of the windows are Dec., and a lancet in the S. wall has the
interior arch foliated. The remains of a second piscina are observable
on the sill of one of the chancel windows. Under a recess in the
chancel is an effigy of a knight in chain armour, supposed to be Sir
William Domer or Dummer (_temp._ Edward I.). The Jacobean pulpit bears
the date 1624.
_Chilton Cantelo_, a village 5 m. N. of Yeovil (nearest stat. Marston
Magna, 2-1/2 m.), which gets its name from the Cantilupe family. The
church, which has been rebuilt, has a good tower, with pinnacled
buttresses and a row of quatrefoils under the belfry storey. The body
of the building retains four piscinas (in the chancel and the two
transepts). Most of the windows have foliated rear arches. Note, too,
the screen and the massive font.
_Chilton-upon-Polden_ a village 1 m. S.E. of Cossington Station,
possessing a church rebuilt in 1888-89.
_Chilton Priory_ is the church-like structure by the side of the main
road from Bridgwater to Wells, about half a mile from Chilton village.
It is a modern building, though incorporating old material said to
belong to a Benedictine priory, and was once a museum. The top of the
tower commands a fine view both of the plain of Sedgemoor and the Brue
Level, with the Quantocks and Mendips in the background.
_Chilton Trinity_, a parish 1-1/2 m. N. of Bridgwater. Its church is of
little antiquarian interest.
_Chinnock, East_, a village 5 m. S.W. of Yeovil, has a church which
retains no remains of antiquity except a piscina and a font.
_Chinnock, West_, 3 m. N.N.E. of Crewkerne, is a parish on the Parrett.
Its church has been wholly rebuilt (1889), the only parts of the
original fabric retained seemingly being a lancet-window in the N. wall
of the chancel and a Perp. one in the S.
Included in this parish is the village of _Chinnock, Middle_, which
lies a little to the E. of W. Chinnock. The church has been restored,
but retains several features of interest. The low embattled tower has a
very wide staircase-turret. The S. door is Norm., with the zigzag
moulding on the jambs and arch, and a carved tympanum. Under one of the
stone seats in the porch is a canopy, protecting the head and shoulders
of a small effigy (apparently an ecclesiastic). There is a (late) Norm.
font, with an unusual moulding. Note, too, an old carved stone built
into the exterior of the N. transept. The gable of the porch carries a
curious sundial (as at Tintinhull).
_Chipstable_, a picturesquely situated village, 3 m. W. from
Wiveliscombe. The church is of ancient origin, but it is difficult to
say how much of the original fabric survives. The Perp. W. tower
appears to have been restored merely, but the nave and aisles were
rebuilt in 1869. The window tracery is good, and the clustered columns
with angel capitals on the S. are noteworthy.
_Chiselborough_, a parish near the Parrett, 4-1/2 m. N.N.E. of
Crewkerne. Its church has a central tower and spire, built over
unusually low E.E. arches, with a groined vault. One of the bells bears
the inscription "_Carmine laetatur Paulus campana vocatur_," and the
name of the maker. The body of the church was rebuilt in 1842. The
chancel is a makeshift.
_Christon_, a parish 3 m. S.W. of Sandford and Banwell Station, has a
small but very interesting church. It is without aisles or transepts,
but has a low central tower. The tower-vault has quadripartite
groining, with curious ornaments at the base of the ribs, and is
supported by two Norm. recessed arches, with double chevron and other
mouldings, resting on fluted pillars. The S. door has likewise a fine
Norm. arch with the lozenge moulding. The chancel windows have rear
foliations. The other windows are modern restorations.
A fine view is obtainable by crossing the hill on the N. which
separates Christon from Hutton.
_Churchill_, a parish 1-1/2 m. E. of Sandford and Banwell Stations.
Like Wellington, it is associated (though perhaps distantly) with one
of the greatest soldiers our history has known, for _Churchill Court_,
a mansion near the church, was once the home of the family from a
branch of which the Duke of Marlborough sprung. The church itself is
not without interest. There are two aisles, separated from the nave by
arcades of different styles. The N. aisle has a good wooden roof,
whilst the S., in which are hung some pieces of armour, contains a
brass (protected by a carpet) to "Raphe Jenyns" and his wife (1572),
who are said to have been ancestors of Sarah Jennings, who became
Duchess of Marlborough. Note (1) the old font, (2) the carved seat
ends, (3) the squint looking from the S. aisle, (4) the monument to
Thomas and Sarah Latch, with a quaint inscription, said to have been
written by Dr Donne.
A little way S.E. of Churchill, on the summit of a conspicuous hill, is
_Dolbury Camp_. It occupies 22 acres, is irregularly oblong in shape,
and is defended by a rampart, constructed of fragments of limestone
piled together, outside of which is a ditch, traceable in places. The
camp is presumably British in origin, but was used by the Romans, who
seem to have made their ramparts within the British earthwork.
_Clandown_, a small unlovely village on a hillside a little to the R.
of the Bath road, 1-1/2 m. N. from Radstock. The church, which is
almost screened from observation by the workings of a colliery, is a
small, modern building, rather foreign in appearance. The Fosse Way
strikes right through the village, and may here be inspected with
advantage. The modern Bath road deserts the Roman trackway to make an
easier descent into Radstock, but the Roman road, _more suo_,
regardless of obstacles, clambered up hill and down dale, and made
straight for Stratton. The lane which passes in front of the
post-office and mounts the opposite embankment keeps the line of the
_Clapton-in-Gordano_, a parish 4 m. N.E. of Clevedon. The description,
_in Gordano_, still attached to four places in this neighbourhood,
Clapton, Easton, Walton, and Weston, and formerly affixed to Portbury
and Portishead besides, goes back to the 13th cent. The prevailing
English form seems to have been _Gorden_ or _Gordene_, and the name was
probably applied to the triangular vale in which all these places are
situated, from _gore_, a wedge-shaped strip of land (cp. the
application of the term to a triangular insertion in a garment), and
_dean_ or _dene_, a valley (as in Taunton Dean). Clapton Church and
manor house are both of considerable antiquity. The church has a plain
W. tower, which is said to be of the 13th cent., though the main
building has Perp. windows; it contains a large monument to the Winter
family. At the entrance to the tower is a curious wooden screen, which
is not ecclesiastical but domestic, and originally belonged to _Clapton
Court_, the 14th-cent. manor house mentioned above, which is near the
_Clatworthy_, a village 4 m. N.W. from Wiveliscombe. The church is a
small Dec. building, of no particular interest, though it contains an
ancient font. About a mile away is an encampment.
_Claverton_ (said to be a corruption of _Clatfordton_; cp. Clatworthy)
is a parish 3 m. E.S.E. of Bath, situated near the Avon in very
picturesque surroundings. In 1643 it had its peace rudely disturbed by
an engagement between the Parliament forces (under Sir W. Waller) and
the Royalists. The parish church, which has a squat tower surmounted by
a gable, contains within the chancel rails the coloured effigies of Sir
W. Bassett and his wife, whilst in the churchyard is buried Ralph
Allen, the friend of Fielding and Pope. His tomb is under an ugly
canopy, supported on arches. Above the village, to the N.W., is
_Hampton Down_, where there is a large British encampment.
_Cleeve_, a parish 2 m. E. from Yatton, on the Bristol and Bridgwater
road, with a modern church. Near it is _Goblin Combe_ (take the road
that leaves the highway near the "Lord Nelson" inn, and when past a
schoolhouse enter through a gate). It is a long cleft in the mountain
limestone, wild and solitary, and covered with tangled vegetation. The
whole neighbourhood round is picturesque.
[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO CLEEVE ABBEY]
_Cleeve Abbey_, the ruins of a Cistercian monastery, 1/2 m. S. from
Washford Station (G.W.R. branch to Minehead). Leave the station by the
Taunton road, and take first turning to R. It is only recently that
these interesting remains have been rescued from the farmer and made
accessible to the public. The abbey was founded in 1188. With the
proverbial monkish eye for a fine situation and a trout stream, its
builders set it in a fertile valley, to which old chroniclers gave the
name of the Flowery Vale. Contrary to the usual fate of such ruins, the
domestic portions of the monastery have survived; the church has gone.
Entrance is gained through a gatehouse standing well apart from the
main block of buildings. It is generally believed to have been a kind
of combined guest-house and porter's lodge, where the casual visitor
found temporary entertainment. Over its hospitable doorway is graven
the salutation "_Patens porta esto, nulli claudaris honesto_" (This
gate shall ever open be To all who enter honestly). The floor which
divided the upper chamber from the passage below has disappeared. Note
on the front face (1) Perp. window; (2) empty niche; (3) niched figure
of Virgin and Child; and on the back (1) name of the last abbot,
Dovell; (2) crucifix flanked by two empty niches. Crossing a rough
field, the visitor enters the monastery proper by a doorway pierced in
the cloister wall. (Admission 1s. for one, 6d. for each additional
person.) The entrance opens at once into the quadrangle. Immediately on
the L. are the W. cloisters (Perp.), once surmounted by the sleeping
apartments of the lay brothers. Opposite on the E., and easily
distinguishable by its E.E. lancet windows, is the large dormitory
which occupies the whole length of the upper storey of the E. side of
the quadrangle. The chambers beneath this on the ground floor should be
carefully inspected. In succession, from L. to R., are (1) sacristy,
lighted by a broken rose window and containing a painted piscina and
aumbry; (2) treasury; (3) chapter-house, partly vaulted and entered
from the quadrangle by a beautiful E.E. doorway; (4) library and
staircase to dormitory; (5) a passage; (6) entrance to monastic common
room. This last was a kind of parlour running under the S. end of the
dormitory and divided from it by a vaulted ceiling of which only the
supporting piers now remain. On the R., or S. side, of the quadrangle
is the refectory, the most striking feature of the whole group of
buildings. It is a beautiful room, finely proportioned, and well
lighted by some lofty Perp. windows. It still retains its original roof
and some faded wall paintings. Note the stairs for reader's pulpit, and
contrast outer doorway of entrance staircase with doorway of dormitory.
The basement below is taken up by various offices of E.E. date, and the
rest of the block consists of the buttery, abbot's lodgings, and
kitchens. The "lie" of the refectory (parallel with the church) is
unusual for a Cistercian house, but it is the exception which proves
the rule, for in the garden outside, standing in the orthodox position
at right angles to the present structure, is the tiled floor of the
original building. The church stood on the N. side of the quadrangle
and was divided from the cloister garth by a blank wall in which will
be noticed a recess. It has now entirely disappeared, but the site may
be inspected by passing through an opening at the N.E. corner of the
quadrangle. The foundations are traceable, and a few fragments of the
tiled pavement and the bases of the piers are still visible. A stone
cross in the turf marks the site of the high altar.
_Cleeve, Old_, village half way between Washford Station and Blue
Anchor, 5 m. from Minehead. From the Minehead road the church tower
will be seen picturesquely protruding above the trees. The village has
nothing to recommend it but its rural seclusion. The church has a fair
Perp. W. tower, in which the usual string course is replaced by a band
of quatrefoils. Within, it contains by N. wall under an ogee canopy an
effigy in lay costume (cp. Norton St Philip), with a cat at its
feet--perhaps some local Dick Whittington. Note also (1) foliated
squint; (2) good Perp. font. In the porch are some rough oak benches.
The churchyard contains the base and shaft of a cross, and the remains
of another cross will be passed on the road to Washford. Between here
and Blue Anchor is an ancient lady chapel, once a shrine of
considerable local repute.
CLEVEDON, a watering-place 12 m. W. of Bristol, reached by a line from
Yatton. A light railway thrown across the intervening mud flats
connects it directly with Weston. The population in 1901 was 5898. Like
Weston, Clevedon is the outcome of the modern craze for health resorts.
It is now a fashionable collection of comfortable villas, profusely
disposed over the W. and N. slopes of a range of hills which run with
the channel on its way to Bristol. Though approached on the E. by miles
of uninviting marshes, the situation of the town is pleasant and
picturesque. Clevedon offers several points of contrast with its
enterprising rival and neighbour. Besides other things it retains some
remnants of ruder days. A humble row of cottages to the L. of the
station, and an ancient church dumped down in a hollow of the W.
headland, preserve the savour of a former simplicity. To one of these
"pretty cots" Coleridge is said to have brought his bride in 1795. The
reputed house still stands in Old Church Road, but the identification
is now questioned. Along the sea-front there is a pleasant little
promenade, flanked with turf and shrubs. The shore is rocky, and though
the ebb tide uncovers a considerable stretch of mud in the bay, along
the road to Walton the sea is never far away, even at low water. There
is nothing romantically bold about the coast scenery, but it is
pervaded by an air of quiet retirement much in keeping with its
literary associations. The esplanade leads at one end to a pleasant
walk along the cliffs in the direction of Walton, and at the other to a
pathway across the meadows towards the "old church." The main interest
of the church is its association with "In Memoriam," but
archaeologically, too, it is well worth a visit. It is a building with
a low central tower, which is pierced with some Norm, belfry windows,
and rests upon fine Norm. arches N. and E., cut with rather unusual
mouldings. The pointed arches leading to the nave and S. transept are
later (14th cent.). The arcading of the nave is peculiar; above is a
Perp. clerestory. A quaint little altar-tomb, with recumbent effigy of
a child, stands on the S. side of the tower arch, and within the arch
is a slab with the rudely incised figure of a knight. The S. transept
(Dec.) is spacious. Beneath its floor lie the hero of "In Memoriam" and
his father, H. Hallam, the historian. The memorial tablets in marble
are hung against the W. wall. Note also the roof corbels, the windows,
and the founder's niche. The corresponding chapel on the N. is
unusually small, and deserves notice (observe window at E.). In the
nave remark (1) Dec. W. window, defaced to carry modern glass, (2)
stone pulpit and adjoining window. In the porch is a staircase, said to
have once led to a priest's chamber over the S. aisle. The other
churches in the town are modern.
_Clevedon Court_, "one of the most valuable relics of early domestic
architecture in England," dates from the reign of Edward II. It
underwent both restoration and extension in the days of Elizabeth, and
has been considerably modified since. The porch (containing a
portcullis groove), hall, and kitchen are part of the original fabric.
A room in the first floor, with a window of reticulated tracery, is
believed to have been the chapel. The place is, of course, closely
associated through the Hallams with Tennyson, and Thackeray worked at
"Esmond" whilst a visitor here. The grounds are open to the public on
Thursdays, _Walton Castle_, on the top of a hill E. of Clevedon, is an
old house, octagonal in shape, and surrounded by a low wall with round
towers at the angles. The hill offers a very picturesque view.
[Illustration: CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE]
_Clifton Suspension Bridge_, one of the famous sights of Bristol. It is
a structure of remarkable grace, thrown across the gorge of the Avon,
which affords a much-needed means of communication between the Somerset
and Gloucestershire banks of the river. The history of the bridge is a
strange record of commercial vicissitudes. It was originally projected
by a Mr Vick of Bristol (d. 1753), who, with an inadequate conception
of the cost, left L1000 for its construction, which was to be
undertaken when the accumulated earnings of the sum had multiplied it
tenfold. In 1830, the amount in the bank was L8000, and an Act of
Parliament was obtained sanctioning the raising of additional capital,
With L45,000 in hand, the work was commenced under the direction of
Brunel; but funds gave out long before the bridge was complete. For
thirty years the work was at a standstill, but in 1861 another start
was made, and in 1864 the bridge was opened for traffic. The supporting
chains, which were brought from old Hungerford Bridge, are thrown over
lofty turrets, resting in one case on a projecting bastion of rock, and
in the other on a solid pier of masonry. These slender suspenders carry
a roadway and two footpaths across a span of 700 feet. The bridge
stands 245 feet above high-water level, and its altitude seems to
furnish an irresistible temptation to people of a suicidal tendency.
The prospect from the footway is extraordinarily impressive. Looking
down the river, the spectator commands the romantic gorge of the Avon,
and turning round he can view the panorama of Bristol shut in on the
right by the lofty height of Dundry.
_Cloford_, a small village, 2 m. N.E. of Wanstrow. The church, rebuilt
in 1856, has a tiny side chapel, containing a monument to Maurice
Horner (d. 1621), and a tablet with some quaint-coloured busts to Sir
G. Horner and his wife (1676).
_Closworth_, a village 2 m, S.E. of Sutton Bingham (L. & S.W.). The
church is Perp. In the churchyard is the shaft of a cross. The rectory
bears date 1606.
_Clutton_, a parish (with station) 2 m. S. of Bristol, with collieries
in its neighbourhood. The church has been rebuilt (1865), but preserves
a good Trans. S. doorway, and a chancel arch of the same date. The
tower, rebuilt in 1726, is constructed of rather curious stone.
_Coker, East_, a village 3 m. S.S.W. from Yeovil. The church and hall
are prettily grouped together on rising ground above the roadway. The
church is chiefly Perp. with debased transepts and a N.E. tower of the
same character but greater dignity. Note (1) cylindrical arcade on S.,
(2) panelled arches to transept, (3) old oak door on N., (4) Norm, font
with cable moulding. In the churchyard is the effigy of a woman, and
another old tomb with incised figure stands near the church door. The
_Court_ hard by is a modernised 15th-cent. hall. A dignified row of
17th-cent. alms-houses lines the common roadway to the church and
court. Near the bridge on the Yeovil road is the old manor house, now a
farm. It has a two-storeyed Perp. porch and some good windows. It was
the birthplace of Dampier, the navigator (1652). A Roman pavement,
bronzes, and coins have been discovered in the neighbourhood. _Naish
Priory_, 1-1/2 m. away, is now a private residence. It retains its
chapel and one or two other relics of its early conventual days. It is
assigned to the 14th cent. or 15th cent.
_Coker, West_, a large village 3 m. S.W. of Yeovil, on the London and
Exeter road. The church is spacious, with an unusually low tower; some
small windows in the turret are of horn. The body of the church seems
to be partly Dec. and partly Perp. It contains some seats dated 1633,
and a monument to two daughters of Sir John Portman. In the village is
a 14th-cent. manor house, formerly belonging to the Earls of Devon.
_Coleford_ (4 m. S. from Radstock) is an unattractive colliery village,
with a modern church (1831). The tower is of fair design.
_Combe Down_ (a large parish 2 m. S.E. from Bath) possesses some large
freestone quarries. The church is modern (1835).
_Combe Florey_, a very pretty village 1-1/2 m. N.W. of Bishop Lydeard
Station, which gets its name from the Floreys, the ancient owners of
the manor. Its church, Perp. in the main, contains some interesting
memorials. There are three effigies in the N. aisle--a knight (supposed
to be one of the Merriet family, to which the manor passed from the
Floreys) and two ladies (perhaps his successive wives). In the N. wall
the heart of a lady, "Maud de Merriette," who was a nun of Cannington,
is recorded to have been buried. On the floor at the W. end of the N.
aisle is a brass to Nicholas Francis, who possessed the manor
subsequently to the Merriets. Sydney Smith was rector here (1829-45),
and the glass in the E. window is in memory of him. Note also (1)
angels on piers of arcade (cp. St Mary's, Taunton), (2) carved seat
ends, (3) restored cross in churchyard. In the village is a Tudor manor
_Combe Hay_, a small village 1-1/2 m. N. of Wellow. The Paulton Canal
here boldly climbs the hillside by a series of locks. The church, which
has been much altered and enlarged, is the burial-place of Sir Lewes
Dyves, the defender of Sherborne Castle.
_Combe St Nicholas_ (21 m. N.W. of Chard) has a spacious Perp. church,
preserving in the N. aisle a jamb of a doorway belonging to the
original Norm. church, and in the chancel a piscina of the succeeding
E.E. building. There are also piscinas in the N. and S. chapels. Near
the organ are some remains of the old rood-screen, whilst two ancient
fonts are kept in the W. end of the church. In the neighbourhood some
barrows have been discovered, and at _Higher Wadeford_ a Roman pavement
has been found, forming part of a villa.
_Compton Bishop_, a small parish under the shadow of Crook's Peak, 2 m.
W.N.W. of Axbridge. The church contains a Norm. font (with a wooden
cover dated 1617) and some E.E. work (note especially the jambs of the
S. doorway and the fine double piscina). There is a very good carved
stone pulpit, some ancient glass in the E. window, and a cross with
traces of carving on the shaft.
_Compton Dando_, a small village on the Chew, 2-1/2 m. E. of Pensford.
The church is of 14th-cent. workmanship, but the chancel and S. porch
respectively bear the dates 1793 and 1735 (probably referring to
repairs). Within is a piscina and Norm. font. The churchyard contains a
_Compton Dundon_, a village 5 m. S. from Glastonbury Station (S. & D.),
on the main road to Somerton. In the centre of the village of Compton
is the remnant of an old cross. The church, in the hamlet of Dundon, is
half a mile away on higher ground at the foot of Dundon Beacon. It has
a Perp. nave and a Dec. chancel, with a fine E. window. The whole
fabric has been carefully restored. There is a good specimen of a
Caroline pulpit (1628), let into the N. wall, and reached by means of
the rood stairway. The sanctuary contains a sedile and piscina, and a
stoup and a rougher piscina will be found in the nave. In the
churchyard is a very fine yew tree, locally credited with an age of
almost 1000 years.
To the E. of the church rise the wooded sides of _Dundon Beacon_, a
striking-looking hill with the summit encircled by a camp. A cist,
containing a skeleton and some metal rings, is said to have been
_Compton Martin_, a village 3 m. E.S.E. of Blagdon. The church is quite
remarkable, and is one of the finest bits of Norm. work in the county.
The nave is entirely late Norm., and possesses the unusual feature of a
clerestory. The fine arcades, with their cylindrical columns and
circular abaci, are too obvious to escape notice, but particular
attention should be paid to the twisted pillar on the N.E. The chancel
has an extremely low quadripartite vault, the effect of which is rather
spoilt by the distortion of the chancel arch through some defect in the
foundations. The aisles are Perp., and the one on the S. curiously
encloses the clerestory. Note (1) the junction of the Perp. arch and
Norm. pillars, (2) recessed effigy of a lady at E. end of N. aisle, (3)
semi-circular recess, probably for additional altar (cp. Cudworth); (4)
Norm. font on a fluted pedestal, (5) Perp. screen, said to have been an
importation. There is a Perp. W. tower of weak design and poor
workmanship, opening into the nave by a panelled arch.
_Compton Pauncefote_, a village 2-1/2 m. from Sparkford. It lies in
pretty country, and has a church to which the possession of a slender
spire adds picturesqueness. Internally there is little that calls for
remark. There is a squint in one of the piers, and a piscina in the
_Congresbury_ (pronounced Coomsbury), a parish 2 m. S. of Yatton. It is
said by tradition to derive its name from St Congar, an Eastern prince
who took refuge here to avoid an unwelcome marriage, and became a
hermit. In Alfred's time the village had a monastery, given by the king
to Asser. The church has a W. tower surmounted by a good spire, a rare
feature in Somerset. The S. arcade is E.E., with modern detached
shafts, which, unlike the original which they have replaced, do not
support the arches above them. The N. arcade is later (early Perp.).
The clerestory is rather unusual, with curious coloured figures between
the windows. Note (1) the parvise or gallery over the S. porch, (2) the
elaborate sedilia and double piscina, (3) the rood-screen on a stone
base, (4) the Norm. font.
Near the church is the _Vicarage House_, with a fine carved doorway on
the S. side (15th cent.), bearing, amongst other heraldic devices, that
of Bishop Beckington. There are the remains of two ancient crosses, one
in the churchyard, the other in the roadway.
_Corfe_, a parish 3-1/2 m. S. of Taunton. It has a church which was
originally of Trans. character, but has been completely restored, the
only remains of the early building being part of the chancel, two
corbels in the nave, and a fine font bowl. The bells are ancient, and
_Corston_, a village 4 m. W. of Bath (nearest stat. Saltford, 1 m.).
Southey was at school here, and did not like it, but the place seems
pleasant enough to the casual visitor. The church, which has been
altered and enlarged, has an E.E. chancel and W. tower, capped by a
short octagonal spire. Note large unique foiled piscina built into the
E. wall of the church, and Norm. doorway.
_Corton Denham_, a village 2-1/2 m. E. of Marston Magna. The church is
modern, but stands on the site of the original fabric. Its tower is
good, and, standing against the green hillside beyond, makes a pretty
addition to the landscape. The fragment of a canopy will be noticed
built into a wall on the road-side. Some Roman remains have been found
in the neighbourhood.
_Cossington_, a picturesque village on the Poldens, with a station on
the S. & D.J.R. Its church is beautifully situated, but retains little
to interest the antiquarian, except a brass of the 16th cent.
_Cothelstone_, a parish at the base of the Quantocks, 2 m. N.N.W. of
Bishop's Lydeard Station, has a church dedicated to St Thomas of
Canterbury. Its most interesting feature is a large S. chapel,
separated from the nave by two arches supported on a Norm. or Trans.
pier, and containing two tombs (each with the effigies of a knight and
lady) belonging to the Stawell family. The one dates from the 14th, the
other from the 16th cent., and both are well worth examining. Note also
(1) stoup, (2) fine Perp. font, (3) large squint, (4) some good
bench-ends, (5) medallions of ancient glass, with figures of St Thomas
a Becket, St Dunstan, St Aldhelm, etc.
Adjoining the church is _Cothelstone Manor_, the home of the Stawells,
a Jacobean house, partially destroyed by Blake in the Civil War. It is
built round three sides of a quadrangle, the fourth being occupied by a
curious gatehouse or porter's lodge. Note the banded mullions of the
windows. On the arch by the road Judge Jeffreys hung two adherents of
Monmouth's by way of retort to Lord Stawell for remonstrating with him
for his cruelty. On the S. extremity of the Quantocks is _Cothelstone
Beacon_. a round tower, which is a conspicuous object from the valley.
The site affords a fine prospect over Taunton Dean and the adjoining
_Coxley_, a village 2 m. S. from Wells, served by Polsham Station, on
the S. & D. branch to Glastonbury. The church is modern (1839).
_Cranmore, East_, 1 m. E. from Cranmore Station (G.W.R.), has a small
modern church in close proximity to _Cranmore House_ (Sir R. Paget). On
the summit of the neighbouring hill is a tower, one of the most
conspicuous objects on the E. Mendip range. It is a square structure,
with projecting balconies, built in 1862. Though of no artistic merit,
it is worth a visit on account of the extensive panorama which it
_Cranmore, West_, a village with station on the G.W. branch line to
Wells. The church has a good Perp. W. tower of the Shepton type, with
triple belfry windows. Within is an ancient bier and some monuments to
the Strode family.
_Creech St Michael_ is a village lying 3 m. E. of Taunton, on the edge
of the alluvial plain, and perhaps owes its name to an inlet of the sea
which once covered the latter. The embankment which is cut by the road
from Taunton once carried the Chard Canal. The church, which is said to
date from the 12th cent., looks as if it had once been cruciform, with
a central tower. The latter is supported on piers, three of which are
E.E., and the fourth Perp. The present nave is Perp., but there is an
E.E.S. door, concealed by a porch. The chancel arch is exceptionally
wide, and there is an unusual number of niches. Note (1) the carved
reading-desk (1634), (2) the bench-ends in the choir, (3) the oak
cornice, (4) the tomb of Robert Cuffe (d. 1597), (5) carving on face of
CREWKERNE, a market town of 4226 inhabitants, at the S. extremity of
the county, on the borders of Dorset. The station, on the L. & S.W.
line, is a mile away. Crewkerne is a clean and compact little place,
with some reputation for the manufacture of sailcloth, twine, and
shirts. The streets conveniently converge upon a central market-place.
It has, however, few features of interest, with the exception of its
church, which stands on rising ground above the market-place. This is a
fine cruciform structure, with a central tower and a quite remarkable
W. front. The doorway is enriched on either side by carved niches, and
flanked by a pair of octagonal turrets. The W. window is good, and is
surmounted by a niched dragon, which has lost its companion, St George.
Externally should also be noted (1) the vigorous, though defaced,
series of gargoyles above the S. porch, representing an amateur
orchestra; (2) the remains of a stoup; (3) the curious chamber at the
S.E. end of the S. transept. This last is a unique feature; it is
supposed to have been the cell of an anchorite. Beneath the E. window
is a railing which marks the former existence of a sacristy (cp.
Porlock, N. Petherton, Ilminster). The original doorways communicating
with it will be noticed inside. The interior is a trifle disappointing,
and contains few features of interest. Observe, however, (1) wooden
groining to tower, (2) windows and roof of N. transept, (3) ancient
square font on modern base. In the S. transept there are traces of an
earlier church: here, too, note the image of St George. There are
several brasses, but none of much interest. The earliest, on the
chancel wall, bears date 1525. One in the S. transept carries a crest
with a ludicrous resemblance to a well-known advertisement. Note also
two old chests. On the N. side of the churchyard is an old building,
once the grammar school, founded 1499. Some spacious new buildings for
the school have now been erected outside the town, on the Yeovil road.
The road to Chard, which crosses St Rayne's and Windwhistle Hills, is a
breezy highway, and affords an extensive prospect.
_Cricket Malherbie_, a parish 3 m. N.E. of Chard. The church is a
handsome modern building with a spire.
_Cricket St Thomas_, 3-1/2 m. E. of Chard, is a parish with a small
church charmingly situated above a valley through which flows the
Dorset Axe. It has a monument to Alexander Hood, Viscount Bridport, and
another to the Rev. William, Earl Nelson, brother of the famous
admiral. _Cricket House_ once belonged to Viscount Bridport, but is now
the property of F.J. Fry.
_Croscombe_, a quaint-looking village midway between Shepton and Wells,
situated in the pretty valley which connects the two towns. The name
perhaps comes from the Celtic _cors_, a marsh or marshy ground. The
church is late Perp., with aisles, clerestory, and a battlemented W.
tower with a good spire. The tower parapet has niches, some of which
still retain their figures. There is an E.E. doorway to the S. porch.
Within note (1) the unusual feature of a two storeyed vestry (cp.
Shepton), (2) curious little chamber at N.E. with ribbed stone roof.
The building, however, is chiefly remarkable for its elaborate display
of Jacobean woodwork. The screen is a fearful and wonderful piece of
carving, reaching almost to the roof, and the pulpit (the gift of
Bishop Lake, 1616) is of quite barbaric impressiveness. The dark oak
roof of the chancel is of the same date. Some fine candelabra hang from
the roof beams. The remains of a village cross stand at the bottom of
the pathway leading to the church. An old house at the Shepton end of
the village was an ancient hostelry, and is worth inspection. Behind
the church is the old manor house with a Perp. window. Overhanging the
road to Shepton is _Ham Wood_.
_Crowcombe_, a village 2 m. N. of Crowcombe Heathfield Station, and
1-1/2 m. E. of Stogumber, has a church ded. to the Holy Ghost. The roof
of the S. porch is covered with fine tracery and has a large room above
it, reached from within the church by a staircase in a recess topped by
a turret. Note (1) the large late Perp. windows; (2) the fine
bench-ends (one showing a man slaying a dragon, and another bearing the
date 1534); (3) the splendid octagonal font with carved figures on each
face; (4) the piscinas in chancel and S. aisle. There is a small
ancient screen and a modern reredos. The N. chapel belongs to the Carew
family. In the churchyard there is a good cross (13th cent.) with
niches on the shaft filled with figures now much worn. There is another
cross in the centre of the village. Opposite the church is an old
pre-Reformation building, the basement of which served as an
alms-house, and the upper floor as a school. It is now unfortunately
_Cucklington_ is a parish 3 m. E. of Wincanton, standing on a high
ridge. The church (St Lawrence) has the tower on the S. side, having
been reconstructed, after damage received in a storm, in 1703. The
arcade is severely plain, and is perhaps 13th-cent. work. The font is
Norm. The E. window of the chancel consists of three lancets. There is
a little ancient glass in the E. window of the S. chapel. The figure in
this window represents St Barbara, who is reputed to have suffered
martyrdom in the 3rd or 4th cent.; notice in her left hand the tower,
which is one of her emblems. St Barbara is said to be the patron saint
of hills; hence perhaps her connection with Cucklington.
_Cudworth_, a small isolated hamlet 3 m. S.E. of Ilminster. The church
is a very plain building without a tower, chiefly Perp., but retaining
some Dec. work, and examples of the still earlier Norm. period. Note
(1) Norm. doorway of the 12th cent.; (2) blocked doorway on the S.,
with gabled weather moulding; (3) very curious round-headed recess
beneath E. window of N. aisle, lighted by a tiny round-headed slit; (4)
piscina with stone shelf above; (5) Norm. bases to arcade columns; (6)
_Culbone_, a small parish 9-1/2 m. W. of Minehead. It is reached from
Porlock Weir by a woodland walk of a mile along the coast, through the
Ashley Combe estate. Its little Perp. church is remarkable more for its
unusual and picturesque situation (by the side of a delightful combe)
and its diminutive size (35 ft. x 12 ft.) than for any great
architectural interest, though it contains some Norm. work in its font
and a chancel window of two lights, cut in a single stone. The
churchyard contains the base of a cross. The pathway from the Weir is
unfortunately very much broken by a landslip at one point, and
difficult for ladies to traverse.
_Curland_ is a scattered parish 6 m. S.E. from Taunton, on the road to
Chard (nearest stat. Hatch Beauchamp, 3 m.). Its church (restored) is
noteworthy for its small size but for nothing else.
_Curry Mallet_, a parish 2-1/2 m. E. of Hatch Beauchamp Station, gets
its distinguishing name from the same Norman lords who once owned
Shepton Mallet and who had a castle here. Its church, which has a good
deal of panel-work, contains a large altar-tomb, and some quaint
17th-cent. mural monuments. Note piscina in N. aisle.
_Curry, North_, is a considerable and attractive village, 2 m. S.E. of
Durston, lying off the main roads. It has a fine church resembling in
plan its neighbour of Stoke St Gregory, being cruciform, with a central
octagonal tower. In the main it is Perp., but preserves earlier work in
the N. door (Norm.), the base of the tower (E.E.), and the S. transept
(which has a Dec. window). Note (1) the fine S. porch; (2) the effigies
N. of the chancel and in the N. aisle; (3) piscina in N. aisle. Read,
too, the account (preserved in the vestry) of the _Reeves' Feast_,
dating from the time of King John, but discontinued in 1868. The
churchyard cross has a modern shaft on an old base.
_Curry Rivel_, 2 m. W.S.W. of Langport, is a large village with an
interesting church. It has a lofty tower, with the belfry window
intersecting the string course; the arch is panelled and the vault
groined. There is also a fine groined vault to the S. porch (which has
a good stoup outside). The oldest portion of the church is the N.
chapel, which has a good deal of Dec. work (note the ball-flower
ornament). This chapel contains three foliated recesses in the N. wall,
each with an effigy (said to belong to the L'Orti family), and also a
tomb of Robert Jennings (d. 1593). Between the chapel and chancel is
another tomb of later date with effigies of Marmaduke and Robert
Jennings, surrounded by figures of their families. Both the N. and S.
chapels retain their piscinas and have screens. There is some fine
ancient glass in the N. aisle; and both this and the S. aisle have good
roofs. Note, too, the bench-ends.
The tall column, visible from the Taunton road, is the _Parkfield
Monument_, erected in 1768 by the Earl of Chatham to the memory of Sir
William Pynsent, who bequeathed to him the neighbouring estate of
_Cutcombe_, a large parish 7 m. S.W. from Dunster. It includes Wheddon
Cross, the highest point of the road between Dunster and Minehead
(nearly 1000 ft. above sea-level). The scenery is very beautiful,
Dunkery being a conspicuous feature in the prospect. The church, which
is 1/2 m. from the main road, has undergone extensive restoration, and
has for the archaeologist little interest. In the graveyard is the base
of an ancient cross, with modern shaft and head.
_Dinder_, a village 2 m. E. of Wells, picturesquely situated in the
valley which runs up from the city to Shepton. The church (Perp.) forms
a graceful addition to the landscape. Within is a Jacobean stone pulpit
(1621), and there is some old glass in a window above it. In the
churchyard is the base of a cross with modern shaft. _Dinder House_
stands directly in front of the house, and another mansion,
_Sharcombe_, crowns the hill behind. The serrated ridge on the other
side of the Wells road is _Dulcot Hill_.
_Ditcheat_, a village 1-1/4 m. S.W. of Evercreech Junction. Both the
church and the former rectory are interesting. The church is cruciform,
with an embattled central tower, crowned by a small pyramidal cap, and
is remarkable for possessing a clerestory to the chancel as well as the
nave. The building seems to have been originally Norm.; but the present
chancel is Dec. (note the lower windows, with their rear foliations),
and both it and the rest of the fabric were altered in the 15th cent.,
when the Perp. clerestory was added. Features to be observed are (1)
effigies on W. face of the tower, (2) groined tower-vault, (3) wooden
roof, with traces of paint and gilding, (4) fine wooden pulpit and
reading-desk of Charles I.'s time, (5) initials of John Selwood, Abbot
of Glastonbury (1456-93), on the chancel parapet. The house which was
once the rectory, was built by John Gunthorpe, Dean of Wells, in the
15th cent. (his monogram appears on one of the windows), though it has
undergone subsequent enlargement. The thickness of the walls is
_Dodington_, a small parish 7 m. E. of Williton. It has a small church,
retaining a fine stoup and some fragments of ancient glass in the E.
window. Not far from it is a fine and well-preserved Elizabethan manor
house, dating from 1581. It contains a noble hall, with fine oak roof
and screen, minstrel gallery, and a large fireplace (1581), and two
smaller rooms, one of which opens from the hall by a 15th-cent. stone
doorway, which must have been transferred from elsewhere. Of these two
rooms the one has a good oak roof, and the other a curious plaster
_Dolbury Camp_. See _Churchill_.
_Donyatt_, a village on the Ile, 2 m. S.W. of Ilminster, from which it
is most directly approached by a footpath. The church is Perp., and has
been well restored. There is a stoup at the W. entrance, and another in
the N. chapel. Note the foliage round the capitals of the chancel arch.
In the parish are the remains of an old manor house.
_Doulting_, a small village 2 m. E. from Shepton Mallet, on the road to
Frome. Its chief interest lies in its remarkable freestone quarries
from which the mediaeval builders hewed their blocks for the walls of
Wells and Glastonbury. The quarries are still of considerable
commercial importance, as the stone is easily wrought and of great
durability. Here, too, St Aldhelm was seized with a fatal illness and
carried into the church to die. His funeral procession to Malmesbury
was an imposing ecclesiastical function, the "stations" _en route_
being subsequently marked by crosses. A spring in the vicarage garden
is still called St Aldhelm's Well. The church is a small cruciform
building with a central octagonal tower and spire. It has some E.E.
features, but has been largely rebuilt (note the E.E. columns covered
with ivy in churchyard near W. end of church). The N. porch encloses a
Norm. door (note stoup). The S. porch is an elaborate Perp. structure,
beautifully finished and vaulted (cp. Mells). Within the church is a
piscina in S. transept, and a 17th-cent. brass near the vestry door. In
the churchyard opposite the N. porch is a notable sanctuary cross,
bearing the instruments of the Passion (cp. W. Pennard). A few paces
down the Evercreech road is one of the large tithe barns once belonging
to the Abbey of Glastonbury (cp. Pilton).
_Dowlish Wake_, a village at the bottom of a slight declivity 2 m. S.E.
of Ilminster. It owes the second part of its name to the family of
Wake, the last male representative of which died in 1348. The church is
a modern antique, with a central tower partly original (15th cent.).
The N. chapel is also original, and contains some interesting
monuments. These are (1) serpentine tomb with bust of Captain Speke the
African traveller, (2) effigy of a lady (_temp._ Edward I.), under a
recessed cinquefoiled canopy, the cusps of which are worked up into
faces, (3) altar-tomb, with effigies of a knight (in plate armour) and
a lady--believed to be John Speke (d. 1442) and his wife, (4) small
brass on floor to George and Elizabeth Speke (1528). Close by is a rude
font, probably early Norm. It was brought here from West Dowlish as the
only remains of a church which existed there prior to 1700.
_Downhead_, a straggling village 2-1/2 m. N.E. of Cranmore Station. The
church is small and devoid of interest. It has been "restored"
regardless of style.
_Downside_, a scattered parish without a village 1/2 m. S.W. of
Chilcompton station (S. & D.). The church is an ugly little structure,
pseudo-E.E., built in 1837. A quarter of a mile beyond the church in a
field on the right are the "fairy slats." Here is a crescent-shaped
British camp overlooking a picturesque ravine. The precipitous nature
of the ground on the S. side forms a natural defence and accounts for
the incompleteness of the rampart The "slats" are merely slight slits
in the ground caused by the slipping of the unsupported strata. Within
the parish, but contiguous to the village of Stratton, is _Downside
Abbey_, a modern settlement of Benedictine monks, who, after their
expulsion from Douai during the French Revolution, finally found a home
here in 1814. The Abbey Church is a building of noble dimensions but
somewhat lacking in symmetry. It is still incomplete. The present block
consists of choir, transepts, a multitude of chapels, and an unfinished
tower. The choir is rather severe in style, but the chapels are very
elaborate. Attached to the abbey is a large and well-equipped college
_Draycott_, a hamlet 4 m. E.S.E. of Axbridge, with a modern church
(note font) and a station that serves Rodney Stoke. The locality
possesses some quarries of a hard kind of conglomerate, capable of a
_Drayton_, a village 2 m. S. of Langport. The church has been restored,
and the chief feature of interest connected with it is the fine cross
in the churchyard, with a figure on the shaft of St Michael slaying the
DULVERTON, a market town on the Barle, 21 m. W. from Taunton, pop. (in
1901) 1369. The station on the G.W.R. branch line to Barnstaple is 2 m.
distant. Dulverton is a primitive and not very prepossessing little
place. Its quaintness is quite unpicturesque, and it is generally
unworthy of its situation. It is, however, deservedly beloved of the
angler and the huntsman. It possesses one of the best trout streams in
the W. of England, and its proximity to Exmoor, the haunt of the red
deer, makes it an excellent centre for the chase. But the rod and the
hounds are merely adventitious attractions to Dulverton. Its real merit
lies in its scenery. It not only enjoys undisputed possession of the
lovely valley of the Barle in which it lies, but a short connecting
road enables it to appropriate the beauties of the neighbouring vale of
the Exe. Both torrents descend from the highlands of Exmoor, and it is
difficult to say which is the more beautiful. The valleys are similar,
but have characteristic differences. The Barle has all the piquant
charm of the mountain torrent, whilst the beauties of the Exe are of a
sedater though not less pleasing character. Everywhere about Dulverton
delightful landscapes may be caught, but the "show sight" is Mount
Sydenham, just above the church (ascend lane at E. end of church and
turn in at gate on L. when the first hollow is reached). Dulverton will
find less favour with the antiquarian than with the artist. Such
antiquities as it does possess are more picturesque than important. The
church has been entirely rebuilt (1855) with the exception of the
tower, which is of the plain Exmoor type and is now almost hidden by a
huge sycamore. The other antiquities in the neighbourhood are (1)
_Mouncey Castle_ (a corruption of Monceaux), a rough encampment on the
summit of a wooded hill almost encircled by the Barle, a couple of
miles above Dulverton; (2) the ivy-covered ruins of _Barlynch Priory_,
a branch "cell" from Cleve Abbey, standing in a charming situation on
the banks of the Exe, a mile above Hele Bridge; (3) _Tarr Steps_, a
rude but highly picturesque footbridge over the Barle, 5 m. above
Dulverton. It crosses the river at a ford, and is constructed of large
flag-stones, uncemented, and resting on similar stones placed edgewise.
It is generally regarded as Celtic in origin, and is certainly a great
artistic addition to a charming bit of river. A most delightful walk is
to take the Winsford road through Higher Combe, cross the Barle at Tarr
Steps, and return by the opposite bank through Hawkridge. It is a round
of about 12 m., but well repays the fatigue involved. Another pleasant
excursion is to explore the valley of the Haddeo, a stream which flows
into the Exe from the opposite direction to the Barle, and which fully
maintains the reputation of the neighbourhood for river scenery. Near
Dulverton station is an interesting trout nursery. _Pixton Park_ (in
which there is a heronry) is the seat of the Countess of Carnarvon.
[Illustration: DULVERTON FROM MOUNT SYDENHAM]
_Dundry_, a small village 5 m. S.W. from Bristol, standing on the top
of a lofty hill, 790 ft. high. The church tower, which is a conspicuous
landmark for miles round, was built by the Merchant Venturers, _temp._
Edward. VI. It is a four-storeyed structure of plain design, crowned by
a very elaborate parapet. Its situation is remarkable. The view from
the summit is one of the most famous and extensive in Somerset. Bristol
lies spread out below on the N.E., and beyond are the Severn and the
Monmouthshire hills. On the R. are the highlands of Gloucestershire,
with Beckford's Tower indicating the position of Bath on the verge of
the picture. The S. side commands a different but scarcely less
fascinating landscape. The unbroken line of the Mendips bounds the
prospect in front. Peeping over them on the R. are the Quantocks, and
to the L. lie the Wiltshire Downs. At the foot is a wooded vale dotted
with villages. The church itself (rebuilt in 1861) is without interest.
In the churchyard are the lower portions of a cross, and a huge dole
table (cp. Norton Malreward).
_Dunkerton_, a small colliery village 2-1/2 m. N. from Wellow (S. &
D.), lying in a deep valley. The church has been rebuilt. The chancel
contains a Dec. piscina, and a fragment of diaper-work is inserted in
[Illustration: DUNSTER CASTLE AND YARN MARKET]
_Dunster_, a village 24 m. N.W. from Taunton. It has a station 1/2 m.
distant on the G.W. branch line to Minehead. For many people
picturesque Somerset begins with Dunster, and its attractions are
hardly overrated. Here both the artist and the antiquary find
themselves in clover. The quaint wide street, with its gabled houses
commanded at one end by the frowning heights of the castle, and
overlooked at the other by a watch-tower, wears an air impressively
mediaeval. The village was once a noted emporium for cloth, and
"Dunsters" were quoted at reputable prices by every chapman. The
venerable yarn market still stands; the date 1647 is the date of its
repair by the grandson of the builder, George Luttrell. The _Castle_
claims first attention, as the history of Dunster is largely the story
of the Castle. It was, as might be expected, a legacy of the Conquest.
It was built by Wm. de Mohun, and by his successor was made a sad thorn
in the side of King Stephen. It passed into the hands of the Luttrells
(its present possessors) by purchase. In the Civil War it was
alternately held for the Parliament and the king, and in 1546 it was
regarded as Charles's last hope in Somerset. Its resistance was stout;
for 160 days Colonel Wyndham baffled the assaults of no less an
adversary than Blake, and only surrendered on the total collapse of the
Royal cause (p. 17). The grounds are entered under a gateway (Perp.),
built by Sir H. Luttrell. The oldest part of the castle lies to the R.
of this, flanked by two round towers (13th cent.), built by Reginald
Mohun. (Note door and huge knocker, replacing original portcullis:
another similar tower of the same date will be seen from the terrace).
Of the mansion the portion to the R. of the elaborate doorway is the
oldest (Elizabethan); the part to the L. dates from the 18th cent. In
the grounds should be noticed (1) a lemon tree 200 years old, (2)
cypresses, (3) magnificent yew hedge. The view obtainable from the
terrace is varied and comprehensive, embracing mountain, sea, and park.
The Mohuns had ecclesiastical sympathies as well as military ambitions,
for in addition to building the castle, they established a priory here
in connection with Bath Abbey. This explains the peculiarity of Dunster
_Church_, which possesses a separate monastic choir. The prior's
lodging, and the conventual barn and dovecot, may still be seen in a
yard on the N. side of the church. The church has a central tower of
rather weak design. Internally this forms the division between the
secular and monastic portion of the building. The chief feature of the
church is a magnificent rood-screen which spans the whole width of the
structure. It has been the model for many neighbouring imitations. The
western half of the church is Perp., with occasional traces of an
earlier Norm. building. The W. doorway is Norm., and on the W. side of
the tower are the piers of a Norm. chancel arch. At the base of the
tower there is a bit of masonry locally claimed as pre-Norman. The
monastic choir and its sanctuary have been restored from indications of
its original E.E. character. Besides transepts, the church has three
chapels--that of the Holy Trinity on the S., St Mary's on the N., and
beyond this the interesting chantry of St Lawrence, which contains a
fine altar slab and a tiled floor. The monuments which call for notice
are (1) in the monastic choir the effigy of a lady (said to be one of
the Everard family), under a canopy; (2) on the N. of the sanctuary the
recumbent figures of Sir Hugh Luttrell and wife (1428-33); (3) at E.
end of the Chapel of Holy Trinity an incised slab with figure of Lady
Eliz. Luttrell (1493); and (4) on S. of same chapel an altar with two
pairs of recumbent figures, also Luttrells. A small brass with the
figures of a man and woman will be found at the W. end of the S. aisle,
bearing date 1470. In addition to features already mentioned, note (1)
the unique E.E. arch at entrance of S. chapel, widened by Perp.
builders for ritual purposes; (2) old alms and muniment chests in N.
chapel; (3) old bench-end near W. doorway, from which the other
woodwork has been copied. Externally should be observed (1) priest's
house at S. entrance of churchyard; (2) recess for stocks in the wall
close by; (3) churchyard cross with round base at W. end of church; (4)
conventual barn and dovecot in yard on N.
The "Luttrell Arms," at the entrance of the village, has a mediaeval
porch with openings for cross bows, a fine timbered wing at the back of
the buildings, and some plaster work in one of the rooms. The _Watch
Tower_ on Conygar Hill (i.e. _Coney Garth_--"rabbit enclosure") is, as
will easily be seen, a mere shell, built (probably for ornament's sake)
in 1775. Amongst the old houses in which Dunster is peculiarly rich,
the curious three-storeyed building at the entrance of the street
leading to the church claims particular attention. It is locally known
as the _Nunnery_, a curious designation, which points to a possible
connection with the priory, perhaps in the capacity of guest house. The
three storeys overhang one another, and are faced with shingles. At the
bottom of the street which leads into the Dulverton road will be found
a lane to the L. This descends to a stream which is crossed by a
picturesque pack-horse bridge of two spans. There is an old market
cross (locally known as the butter cross) hidden by the hedge on the
right-hand side of the upper Minehead road.
_Durleigh_, a parish 1-1/2 m. W.S.W. of Bridgwater. It has a church
which retains its old tower (with a gabled roof); but all other traces
of antiquity have been obliterated, save for the remains of a stoup in
the porch. In this parish is an old manor house called _Bower Farm_,
with a picturesque front, showing a small window flanked by two towers.
The porch roof is, of course, modern. Belonging to the farm is a
curious _columbarium_, constructed of mud, in which the nesting niches
are said to number 900.
_Durston_, a village 5 m. N.E. of Taunton, has a church (rebuilt in
1853) which possesses a good tower. The Communion-table bears date
1635, and there are some carved bench-ends. Near here, at _Mynchin
Buckland_, there used to be a Preceptory of the Knights of St John of
Jerusalem, to which was attached a priory of women belonging to the
same order. It is said to have been very rare in this country for
communities of men and women under vows to exist side by side in this
_Easton_, a village at the foot of the Mendips, 2-1/2 m. N.W. of Wells.
The church is modern (1843).
_Easton-in-Gordano_, a village 1 m. W. from Pill (G.W.R.). The church
is a large and dignified modern clerestoried structure (rebuilt in
1872), with a good Perp. W. tower (original).
_Edington_, a village on the Poldens, with a station 2 m. away. The
church has been rebuilt (1877-79), and contains no ancient features
except a very good Norm. font. On the locality, see p. 13.
_Elm_, or _Great Elm_, a village 3 m. S.W. from Frome, perched on the
edge of a vale of quite romantic picturesqueness (see _Vallis_). The
church is an unpretentious little building with a saddleback tower. It
bears one or two indications of high antiquity. Note (1) on S. external
wall, herring-bone masonry (cp. _Marston Magna_), (2) Norm, doorway to
tower, and E.E. arch within. The interior has been remodelled in
accordance with early Victorian ideas of ecclesiastical propriety.
_Elworthy_, a village 4 m. S.W. of Stogumber Station. The small church
(Perp.) contains a carved illuminated Caroline screen (1632). The
pulpit, approached by the rood staircase, is of the same date. In a
small window in the N. wall is some ancient glass. Above the village is
a British camp, called _Elworthy Barrows_, which can be reached from
near the church. Towards Wiveliscombe, on the L. of the road, rises
_Willett Hill_ (950 ft.), crowned by a tower.
_Emborrow_ (the first syllable perhaps a corruption of _Elm_), a small
hamlet on the Mendips, 1-1/2 m. N. of Binegar Station. The church is a
forlorn-looking building with a central tower containing a 14th-cent.
sanctus-bell. _Emborrow Pool_ is a dismal sheet of water bordering the
main road and surrounded by trees. It has the appearance of being
rapidly silted up.
_Englishcombe_, a small and rather uncouth-looking village 3 m. S.W.
from Bath, and 1-1/2 m. S.W. from Twerton Station (G.W.R.). It still
retains something of the aloofness which once characterised it as an
English outpost on the Welsh border, and is worth a visit. The church
is of considerable antiquarian interest. It consists of a Perp. nave, a
central Norm. tower, and a Norm. chancel. A Perp. chapel, now occupied
by the organ, adjoins the porch. Externally, note the fantastic corbel
table round chancel. Within, it has two good pointed Norm. arches, and
on the N. wall of tower a well-preserved Norm., arcade. Observe (1)
detached Norm. capitals on N. wall, (2) panelling round splay of W.
window of nave and S. window of chapel. Almost opposite to the S.
entrance to the churchyard is a tithe barn once belonging to Bath
Abbey, which still shows some indication of its ecclesiastical origin.
At the W. end of graveyard is a farm-house with orchard, and beyond
this is a field where may be seen a good specimen of the Wansdyke. Near
the village once stood a castle of the De Gourneys. The site is marked
by a mound on a neighbouring estate.
_Enmore_, a village 5 m. S.W. of Bridgwater, on the road leading to the
S.E. extremity of the Quantocks. Its church has a good tower,
noticeable for the pinnacles that crown the staircase turret. The
tower-vault is groined, the chancel arch panelled, and there is a Norm.
S. door (belonging to a former fabric) with carved capitals and good
mouldings. Note (1) the carved wooden pulpit, (2) the niche, supported
by an angel, on the S. face of the tower. In the churchyard there is
the broken shaft of a cross. _Enmore Park_ (W.B. Broadmead) is hard by.
It was formerly called Enmore Castle, and once belonged to the Malets.
_Evercreech_ is a large village 3-1/2 m. S.S.E. from Shepton Mallet,
with a station on the S. & D. J.R. The first syllable of the name
probably means "boar" (cognate with the Latin _aper_), and recurs in
Eversley. It is famed for its church, which has perhaps the most
graceful tower in all Somerset; its double, long-panelled windows,
buttresses, and clustered pinnacles are particularly fine. The earliest
part of the building is the chancel (14th cent.), with Dec. windows at
the E. and N.; the rest of the church is Perp., the S. aisle being
modern. Note (1) wooden roof of nave, the colours of which are believed
to reproduce the original; (2) carving of gallery in the tower; (3)
brackets (perhaps for lights) on piers of N. arcade; (4) quaint
inscription behind the organ, of the date 1596. Outside the churchyard
is a much defaced cross. S.S.E. of the village is the commanding
eminence of _Creech Hill_, where there seem to be traces of earthworks,
and whence a fine view is obtainable, with the town of Bruton in the
valley to the S., and Stourton Tower conspicuous on the hills to the E.
_Exford_, a village on the fringe of Exmoor "Forest," near the source
of the Exe, 12 m. N.W. from Dulverton Station. It is one of the many
rendezvous of the huntsman, as there are kennels here for staghounds
and harriers. The houses are dropped into a hollow of the moors through
which trickles the stream. The church braves the gale on the hill top
above. It is remarkable for nothing but its exposed situation, a
thousand feet above sea-level--a fact which has no doubt necessitated
its frequent renewal. The tower is original, but the nave and chancel
are modern. The S. aisle appears to have been built chiefly out of a
legacy left by a local blacksmith about 1532. Note the Devonshire
foliage on capitals. The churchyard contains the base of a cross
locally known as the "Crying Stone," from its appropriation by the
parish beadle as a pedestal for proclamations. At the churchyard gate
is a "lipping" or mounting stone.
_Exmoor_. Though generally associated in the popular mind with
Devonshire, Exmoor is really, in the main, a part of Somerset. It is
the highest, wildest, and most fascinating portion of the county--a
truly delightsome land, a veritable paradise for the sportsman and the
painter. The red deer run wild at will over the moors, or find a
congenial covert in the oak scrub which clothes the combes. Brawling
brooks abound on all sides to entice the angler and interest the
artist, and a charming strip of sea-coast must also be numbered amongst
its attractions. Though mainly given over to the sportsman and the
tourist, efforts have from time to time been made to civilise these
wilds. In general they have proved futile. Mines have been sunk only to
be abandoned, and the agriculturist has fared little better than the
miner. Early in the last century, a Mr Knight made an heroic effort to
enclose a large portion of the moor for the purposes of cultivation.
The heather, however, is still triumphant. The only memorial of his
ambition is a ruined mansion at Simonsbath. The hills are all of
considerable altitude--well over 1200 ft.--but with the exception of
Dunkery few can pretend to any marked individuality. The landscape is a
mere "tumultuous waste of huge hill-tops," which no one takes the
trouble to specify. Perhaps the least praiseworthy feature of Exmoor is
its weather. To adapt a Cornish description of something quite
different, "when it's bad, it's execrable; and when it's good, it's
only middlin'." It has a disagreeable partiality for haze and drizzle.
In such an untamed region "routes" are only an embarrassment. The
regulation drive is from Minehead to Dulverton, and from Dulverton
through Simonsbath to Lynton, which virtually circumscribes the moor.
The best way, however, is to turn oneself loose in the district, and
ramble over the moors at will. The sturdy tourist will find many an
exhilarating excursion. Winsford, Exford, Withypool, and Simonsbath are
all worth seeing. Dunkery Beacon (1707 ft.) may be conveniently
ascended on the Porlock side from Luccombe or Cloutsham, and on the
Dulverton side from Wheddon Cross, near Cutcombe.
[Illustration: TARR STEPS, EXMOOR]
_Exton_, a village 8 m. N. of Dulverton Station, picturesquely perched
on the hillside overlooking the valley of the Exe. The church is
_Farleigh Hungerford_, a small village 7 m. S.S.E. of Bath. It is a
place of some interest to the antiquarian, and should be visited in
conjunction with Hinton Charterhouse from Freshford Station (2 m.). Its
attractions consist of a few crumbling fragments of a castle once
belonging to the Hungerfords, and the contents of the castle chapel.
The ruins stand on the shoulder of a deep defile descending into a
wooded bottom called Danes' Ditch. The annals of the castle are long
rather than stirring. An old manor house of the Montforts was
transformed into a castle by Sir Walter Hungerford (d. 1449), who spent
upon the alterations the ransom which he had obtained for the capture
of the Duke of Orleans at the Battle of Agincourt. In the Great
Rebellion it was, curiously enough, held for the king whilst its owner
was commanding the Parliamentary forces in Wilts. To one of the
existing towers a grim story is attached. In the unchivalrous days of
Henry VIII. a Sir W. Hungerford, who, like his royal master, was a much
married man, consigned his third wife to these uninviting quarters, and
kept her under lock and key, with a chaplain for her only attendant.
The lady, however, not only survived this knightly Bluebeard, but had
the courage to contract a second marriage. The general arrangements of
the castle are not very obvious to the casual observer. It seems to
have consisted of a gatehouse and an outer and inner court. The inner
enclosure was flanked by four cylindrical towers, and contained the
dwelling-rooms, which overlooked the ravine. On its accessible side the
castle was protected by a moat. Nothing now remains but the gatehouse,
a few fragments of the enclosing walls, the remains of two towers, and
the chapel. Passing under the gatehouse, the visitor will see the
chapel and inner court on the R. The Chapel of St Leonard (keys to be
obtained at inn above, fee 3d.) is now a museum, and contains a good
collection of armour. Amongst other curiosities on show are a "He"
Bible, a pair of Cromwell's boots, and one of his letters. A gigantic
fresco of St George adorns the E. wall, and beneath the E. window is
the original stone altar. The Chapel of St Anne, on the N., is shut off
by an iron grille, and contains some fine monuments: (1) in centre, a
costly marble cenotaph with effigies of Sir E. Hungerford, the
Parliamentarian, and his wife Margaret (1648), (2) within the grille,
Sir T. Hungerford and his wife Joan (1398-1412), (3) on N., Sir E.
Hungerford and wife (1607), (4) against W. wall, tomb of Mrs Shaa
(1613), with panel of kneeling figures. In the S.E. corner of main
building is a plain altar-tomb of Sir W. Hungerford and son (1596). The
font is said to have been brought from the church. At its foot is a
slab with incised figure of a chantry priest of unknown identity.
Beneath the side chapel is a vault (to which access can be obtained
outside) containing the leaded corpses of several members of the
family. The parish church of St Leonard stands on the other side of the
road on rising ground overlooking the ruins. It is a small plain Perp.
building with square W. tower surmounted by a short pyramidal spire. It
is somewhat quaint, but contains nothing of interest except an altar
made out of an ancient settle. Over the doorway is a semicircular stone
bearing a curious Latin inscription, said to be not later than 1200
A.D. It is supposed to have belonged either to an earlier building or
to some dismantled church in the neighbourhood. Below the church is
_Farleigh House_, a picturesque modern mansion.
_Farmborough_, a biggish village 8 m. S.W. from Bath (nearest stat.
Clutton, 2-1/2 miles). The church is modern, but has a Perp. W. tower.
The chancel contains a piscina, and there is a ribbed stone squint.
Near the village is _Barrow Hill_, a conical-shaped eminence.
_Farrington Gurney_, a pleasant village on the Bristol and Wells road,
8 m. N.E. from Wells (nearest stat. Hallatrow, 1 m.). On the Midsomer
Norton road is an old manor house. The church, which lies beyond the
house in a field, is modern (1843), but occupies an ancient
ecclesiastical site. Over the W. doorway is a small Norm. effigy,
called by the natives "Old Farrington." The churchyard contains the
base of an ancient cross.
_Fiddington_, a parish 7 m. N.W. of Bridgwater. Its church retains a
few carved seat ends, an oak pulpit, and a piscina, but presents no
other feature of interest.
_Fitzhead_, a village 2 m. N. of Milverton. The church has been
rebuilt, with the exception of the tower. In the churchyard is a good
specimen of an effigied cross (cp. Wiveliscombe). Hard by is _Fitzhead
Court_, an ancient manor house said to contain a good plaster ceiling.
_Fivehead_, a parish 5 m. S.W. of Langport. The church has two Dec.
windows in the chancel, the rest are Perp. There is a 16th-cent. tomb
of John Walshe, and an ancient Norm. font with double mouldings. Note
in the S. aisle (1) piscina, (2) remains of canopy. The manor house,
the home of the Walshes, now a farm, preserves the old hall.
_Flax Bourton_, a parish 5 m. S.W. of Bristol (with a station), is said
to owe the first part of its name to the abbey of Flaxley in
Gloucestershire, which possessed the principal estate in the parish.
The small Perp. church is noteworthy for the 12th-cent. Norm. work
preserved in it, which consists of (1) a S. door, exceptionally tall
and narrow, with banded pillars and a quaint carving of St Michael and
the Dragon; (2) a chancel arch, recessed, with curious carvings on the
chamfer of the abacus and on the capitals. Note also (1) terminals of
the label of the S. chancel windows, (2) font.
_Foxcote_ (or _Forscote_) is a small hamlet 2 m. E.N.E. of Radstock.
The church is modern, with the exception of the tower.
_Freshford_, a village near the confluence of the Frome and Avon (with
a station), 5 m. S.E. of Bath. The church is Perp., with a W. tower.
_Freshford Manor House_ once belonged to the priory of Hinton
[Illustration: MARKET PLACE, FROME]
FROME, a thriving market town of some 11,000 inhabitants, on the E.
side of the county, with a station on the G.W.R. line to Weymouth.
Though its surroundings are pretty, the town itself is an ill-arranged
collection of steep and narrow streets, one of which--Cheap
Street--deserves notice for its quaintness. The spaciousness of the
market-place redeems the narrowness of the streets. With the exception
of a little faint-hearted sympathy shown to Monmouth, Frome has never
helped to make history. Nowadays it does a brisk trade in woollen
cloth, and possesses some large printing-works, breweries, and
art-metal works. The visitor would do well to make his way at once to
the church, which is practically the only thing in Frome worth seeing.
It is a building of much greater dignity within than the exterior
suggests, and has been restored on a very elaborate scale by a former
incumbent, the Rev. W.J. Bennett (1852-66), a figure of note in the
early Ritualistic controversies. The tower, crowned with a spire, is
somewhat eccentricly placed at the E. end of the S. aisle. The interior
is remarkable for its heterogeneous mixture of styles and its multitude
of side chapels, of which St Nicholas's, the Lady Chapel, and St John
Baptist's are on the N., and St Andrew's on the S. A Saxon church was
built on the site by St Aldhelm, and possibly a couple of carved stones
built into the interior of the tower may have belonged to it. This was
succeeded in the 12th cent. by a Norm. church, of which a doorway
remains, leading from St Nicholas's Chapel to the Lady Chapel, and
perhaps a piscina opposite the latter; in the 13th cent. the chancel
arch, the lower part of the tower, and the eastern half of the arcade
were erected The rest of the arcade was added in the 15th cent. The
abrupt change in the mouldings is very noticeable. The Lady Chapel,
originally Norm. (see above), was rebuilt at this time, as well as St
John's Chapel (now the organ-chamber). The chapel of St Nicholas (the
baptistery) dates from the 16th cent.; the old glass in it bears the
rebus of Cable, the founder of it (K and a bell). St Andrew's Chapel is
said to have been founded in 1412 (though it looks like Dec. work).
Interesting features are (1) piscinas above the rood and in the S.
aisle, (2) a _memento mori_ in the Lady Chapel (said to be a Leversedge
of Vallis), (3) brass (1506) on tower wall. The rood-screen, the
statues at the W., the medallions above the arcade, and the _Calvary
Steps_ outside the building are all modern. In the churchyard, beneath
the E. window, is the tomb of Bishop Ken, who, after his "uncanonical
deposition," lived in retirement at Longleat, and, dying in 1711, was
buried at his own request "just at sunrising in the nearest parish
church within his own diocese."
GLASTONBURY, a small market-town of some 4000 people in the centre of
the county, 6 m. S. from Wells. It has a station on the S. & D. line
from Evercreech to Bridgwater. The site of Glastonbury is almost as
conspicuous in a Somerset landscape as its name is in Somerset history.
Its huge conical tor, crowned by a tower, rises like a gigantic
sugar-loaf from the surrounding plain, and is visible to half the
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