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St Mary, Charlynch, Somerset

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Feature Sets (4)

Description

Charlynch is in N central Somerset, between the Quantocks and Bridgwater 4 miles to the E.  It just about qualifies as a hamlet, consisting of the church and a couple of houses nearby on a minor road. The benefice was united with Spaxton in 1957, and in 1981 Charlynch church closed and the benefice was further united with Enmore and Goathurst.  Charlynch church is now deconsecrated and in private hands.

It consists of a nave with a S porch and a transeptal S chapel; a chancel with vestry and organ chamber and a W tower, probably of 1867 and restored in 1887. The S doorway, chancel arch responds and font are 12thc work.  Of these, the font has been removed to a private address which cannot be supplied, and is thus described here; the doorway is in-situ and described below, and the chancel arch responds are presumably still inside but were not accessible.  They were seen by Pevsner and EH, whose comments are given below.

History

Alwig Banneson held both Charlynch and Currypool before the Conquest, and in 1086 both were held by Roger de Courcelles.  By 1166 both were in the hands of Hugh Vautort, and they remained in this family until some time in the 14thc.  The manor was generally known as Currypool, and the lords of the manor held the advowson of the church in the 13thc and 14thc.  For more information, see VCH.

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

Nave S doorway

2 orders, segmental. Apparently complete and unaltered. In light sandy-coloured stone (perhaps Hamstone or similar). Although the ashlar blocks of which it is built are fairly uniform in size, the jambs are not matched in construction, nor does there appear to be a pattern in the structure of the arches.

Dimensions
Height of opening 2.30m
Height of outer arch above imposts 0.70m
Width of opening 1.22m
Width of outer arch 2.30m
1st order

Plain and continuous with a segmental head.

2nd order

Angle rolls on the jambs, treated as shafts with fictive cushion capitals and bases, the latter on chamfered plinths. Imposts are quirked chamfered and carry a plain unmoulded arch with a quirked chamfered label. At either end of the lable, on its soffit, is an eroded projection that was once a head, and a projection at the apex of the label may provide evidence of a mask that was once in that position.

Interior Features

Arches

Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

No longer accessible. See Comments.

Furnishings

Fonts

Old font

Now at a private address.  The bowl (without lead) is separated from the rest, and approximately a quarter of it is broken & placed inside the larger part. The bowl appears to have been cut at some distant time (perhaps to enable it to fit against a wall), so that approximately ¾ of the lower fluting is missing from a substantial section.  The bowl was originally curved and fluted with, at its bottom, a shallow cylindrical section matching the stem.  The cylindrical stem consists of five blocks, and at its top is a shallow torus. The base consists of a simple cylinder with its upper edge chamfered into the stem.

Dimensions
1
Ext. diameter of bowl at rim 0.66m
Height of bowl 0.35m
Int. diameter of bowl 0.51m
2
Circumference of stem 1.68m
Height of base 0.205m
Height of stem 0.16m
Height of torus at top of stem 0.0405m

Comments/Opinions

The chancel arch was described by Pevsner as “Norman… at least in its responds. The double-chamfered arch which does not quite fit probably belongs to the C13,” and the list description agrees that the responds are Norman and the arch itself is 13thc.

The S doorway is described by Pevsner as Norman but over-restored in 1886, and the font as Norman, circular and fluted.  The Diocesan Office believed the font to be at Nether Stowey church, but it is not.

Bibliography

  • English Heritage Listed Building 269403

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Harmondsworth 1958, 119 (under Charlinch).

  • Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record 13673. 

  • Victoria County History: Somerset, VI (1992), 91-97. As Charlinch.

Exterior from S

Location

Site Location
Charlynch
National Grid Reference
ST 238 378 
Boundaries
now: Somerset
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Somerset
Dedication
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Mary
Type of building/monument
Private house, formerly parish church  
Report authors
Robin Downes 
Visit Date
25 June 2004, 2 Feb 2005