Leighland, a hamlet 5 m. S.W. of Williton. The church, originally a chapelry belonging to Cleeve Abbey, was rebuilt in 1862. The neighbouring Brendon Hills were once extensively mined for iron.
Limington, a village 1 m. E. of Ilchester. It is interesting as being the first living held by Cardinal Wolsey (cp. p. 31); and its church has some features that deserve notice. Chief among them is the N. chapel (with ribbed roof) which was founded as a chantry in 1329 by Sir Richard Gyvernay, and contains several effigies. One, a knight in full armour, under a Dec. recess, is probably Sir Richard himself, with his lady beside him on a separate slab. A second knight (with bared head) reposes with his lady on an altar-tomb by the W. wall; this is supposed to be Sir Gilbert Gyvernay, father of Sir Richard. There is a piscina in the chapel and another in the chancel. Note (1) the carved ends of the choir stalls, with the arms of Lord Harington, killed at Wakefield 1460; (2) the grotesque corbels supporting the tower arch.
Littleton, High, a large village 10 m. S.W. of Bath, on the road to Wells (station, Hallatrow). The church has been more than once rebuilt, and contains nothing of interest but some mural tablets (15th cent.) to the Hodges family.
Litton, a village in a dale, 4 m. S.W. from Hallatrow Station. The church is late 15th cent. Perp. of rather poor workmanship. The chancel is out of centre with the nave, necessitating a large hagioscope on N. An ungainly modern N. aisle needlessly emphasises this lop-sidedness. The chancel contains a good piscina. In the neighbourhood is a large reservoir in connection with the Bristol water-works.
Locking, a parish 3 m. S.E. of Weston-super-Mare, but most easily reached from Worle Station, 1-1/2 m. away. The church was rebuilt in 1863, and its earlier features obliterated, with the exception of the Perp. tower. It contains, however, a very interesting old square font of Transitional date, with quaint figures at the angles, and a carved stone pulpit (cp. the neighbouring churches of Loxton, Worle, Hutton, Wick St Lawrence).
Long Load, a parish 2 m. N. of Martock, with a modern church built on the site of an old chapelry or chantry.
Lopen, a parish 4 m. N.W. of Crewkerne, is noteworthy as being the place where Cardinal Wolsey, when holding the cure of Limington, is said to have been put in the stocks by Sir Amyas Poulett. The church (Perp.) is ancient, but it has been restored and enlarged, and is of little interest.
Lovington, a parish 3 m. N. of Sparkford. Its church has unusually prominent buttresses to the tower, and preserves (1) remains of stoup in S. porch; (2) piscinas in S. nave wall and chancel; (3) aumbry; (4) poppy heads to seats. The churchyard contains some old stocks.
Loxton, a village 3 m. S.W. of Sandford Station, facing Crook's Peak. It has an interesting church, which is not easily observed from the road, as it is reached by a lane. It has a short tower (said to be Norman) on the S. side, the lower part forming a porch: in this is a curious squint. Within note (1) the fine Perp. pulpit, carved from a single block of stone: (2) a good screen; (3) the piscina in the vestry, showing that it was formerly a chapel; (4) some old glass.
Luccombe, a village at the foot of Dunkery, 2 m. S.E. from Porlock. Its name ("the enclosed combe") is aptly descriptive of its situation, for it is effectually screened from observation. A mountain brook and some fine timber give the place a pretty air of rusticity. It has a good church and some interesting old cottages—note the projecting ovens and the curiously small windows that light some of the chimney corners. The church has a Perp. W. tower, with nave and S. aisle. Within is an altar tomb on S. and on N. a monument to Rector Byam (1669), one of the fighting cavalier parsons who came by their own again at the Restoration. Note (1) E.E. lancets to sanctuary; (2) piscinas in sanctuary and S. aisle; (3) occasional "Devonshire" capitals to pillars; (4) rood-loft stair, as at Porlock; (5) faces on bosses of roof (cp. Selworthy); (6) fragment of stoup in porch. In the churchyard are some fine cypresses, and the remains of a cross.
Lufton, a small parish 3 m. W. of Yeovil. The church has been rebuilt, but preserves its Norman font (with cable moulding), and a holy-water stoup (within the S. door).
Lullington, an obscurely situated village, 3 m. N. from Frome. It should certainly be visited by anyone in the neighbourhood, as the church is of exceptional antiquarian interest and contains one of the finest Norm, doorways in the county. It is a small building having a low central tower without transepts. A small S. chantry projects from the nave. Features to be noted are: (1) the Norm, doorway mentioned above, a little to the right of main entrance. The capitals are richly carved, and support an arch ornamented with deeply cut chevron and grotesque bird's beak mouldings. The tympanum bears in relief the curious device of some winged creatures devouring a tree. Above is a roundheaded niche containing the figure of our Lord, with hand uplifted in blessing. (2) Tub-shaped Norm. font, bearing inscription, Hoc fontis sacro pereunt delicta lavacro, and another legend undecipherable. (3) Clusters of Norm. columns beneath tower supporting an arch, evidently rebuilt out of original materials (observe S. pier of chancel arch standing idle). (4) E.E. arch opening into chantry chapel, and large piscina within. (5) Body stone built into W. wall of vestry. The whole of the Norm. work is unusually rich for a small country church, but it may possibly be accounted for by the fact that Lullington at the Conquest, amongst other good things, fell to the share of Geoffrey of Coutances, who perhaps brought here his staff of continental workmen, as the figures on the capitals of the doorway are known to occur also at Coutances and Caen. The body stone in the vestry, which may at one time have marked the Bishop's own grave outside, is also said to bear traces of continental craftsmanship. The "mediaeval" gateway at the entrance of the neighbouring park is a sham.
Luxborough, a village 6 m. S. of Dunster, lying amongst the Brendon hills. The gradients are discouraging to any but determined tourists. The church, though ancient, has been too frequently restored to retain much antiquarian interest.
Lydeard St Lawrence, a village 1-1/2 m. S W. of Crowcombe Station. It climbs the hill-side that confronts the Quantocks, and has a church near the summit, whence a fine view is obtainable. The church tower is commanding; in spite of its height, it has only diagonal buttresses. The oldest part of the present building is the chancel of the 14th cent. (which has a good Dec. piscina and triple sedilia), though a round-headed window (blocked), a survival of an earlier structure, is inserted in the N. wall. The capitals of the arcade have very unusual carving (including interlaced work, and the representation of a fox seizing a goose). The screen (restored) has traces of painting; the pulpit is Jacobean; and the font seems to be double, an inverted Norman basin being surmounted by another of still older appearance. There is a piscina in the S. wall, and over the S. porch a sun-dial of 1653. Southey's father was a farmer here.
Lydford, East and West, two small villages about 1/2 m. apart, lying on either side of the Fosseway, 5 m. W. of Castle Cary. At the E. hamlet is a small modern memorial church, with a spire (1866). The W. village, which is traversed by the Brue, has a church which was rebuilt in 1846, and has undergone several renovations since.
Lympsham, a parish 6 m. S.S.E. of Weston-super-Mare (nearest station Brent Knoll, 2-1/2 m.). It has a church with a good tower (double windows in the belfry), which is said to lean westward some, feet out of the perpendicular. Within note (1) the fine wood roof of the N. aisle, which was once a chapel (it has a piscina); (2) the 12th cent. tub font.
Lyng, a village 1/2 m. W. of Athelney Station, situated on the Tone. Its little aisleless church, which was once a chapelry of Alfred's monastery at Athelney, has a beautiful, though small, Perp. tower (with double belfry windows). One of the bells dates from 1609. The body of the church (of earlier date than the tower) contains much that is interesting, particularly a good Dec. sedile and some fine carved bench-ends (16th cent.). Note also (1) the oak pulpit, (2) old glass in a window on N. of chancel, (3) piscinas, (4) tub font, (5) old chest hollowed from a single trunk (under the tower). The "isle" of Athelney, with Alfred's monument, is in this parish.
Maperton is a pleasant village 3-1/2 m. E. from Sparkford. Of the church, which is rather screened from view by an adjoining mansion, the only old portion is the tower. A few corbels of an earlier church and a piece of interlaced carving are preserved in the S. porch. The piscina deserves notice; it is said to be Norman.
Mark, a large but scattered village on the marshes between Highbridge and Wells, 3 m. N.E. from Bason Bridge Station (S. & D.). The houses straggle along the road-side for a considerable distance. The church, which is at the far end of the village, is of some dignity, and has been carefully restored. It has a Perp. tower, with triple belfry windows of not very successful design, and there is a good parapet to the nave. The S. aisle is evidently older than the rest of the building (note the arcade). The fine panelled roof covering the N. aisle should be observed, and the projecting figures on the wall-plate of the nave. Other features claiming attention are (1) the unusual direction of the squints in the chancel arch, (2) Perp. screens (1634), (3) rood-loft stair and turret in N. aisle, (4) blocked priest's door in sanctuary, (5) blocked squint in S. porch, (6) carved font under tower. The chancel contains some finely carved figures of the Evangelists, brought from Bruges Cathedral by a former rector.
Marksbury, a small village on the Keynsham and Wells road, 4 m. S. from Keynsham. The church is an ugly little building with a plaster ceiling and a chancel out of centre with the rest of the structure. The tower is crowned with an eccentric set of pyramidal pinnacles, and has a small 17th-cent. inscription on its W. face.
Marston Biggott, a small village 3 m. S.W. from Frome. The church, which stands in a park, has been rebuilt. Marston House (until lately the seat of the Earls of Cork) is a large modern "Italian" mansion, imposingly situated on a wooded hillside. The site of the original house, of which nothing remains, is locally known as Marston Moat. Close by is a field traditionally called Conqueror's Meads, and is popularly reputed to have been the scene of some ancient battle.
Marston Magna, a village 5 m. N.E. of Yeovil, with station on G.W.R. line to Weymouth. The church, though devoid of picturesqueness, has several features of architectural interest. Traces of herringbone work will be discovered on the N. exterior wall of the chancel, where, too, should be noted the flat buttresses and Norm. window. The peculiarity of the church is, however, the little chapel adjoining the N. porch, and divided from it by a rude screen surmounted by a gallery. Note the elaborate niche on the N. The chancel is lighted at E. by an E.E. triplet; and some old glass will be observed in a window on the S. The font has a fluted basin, and is doubtless Norm. The central battlement of each face of the tower bears the Tudor rose (cp. East Pennard). The fine old Jacobean house near the W. end of the church should not escape attention; and in the field to the S.E. is a moated paddock, locally known as Court Garden, and generally reputed to be the site of an ancient manor house.
MARTOCK is a small town (with station) 5-1/2 m. N.W. of Yeovil, consisting virtually of one long street. It has no historic associations to speak of, though in 1645 it was the scene of a public thanksgiving by the Parliament forces for the capture of Bridgwater. At the present time it is chiefly engaged in the manufacture of gloves and jute matting. The population is about 3000. It has a noble church, the earliest part of which is the E. wall (E.E.; note the five lancets and gable-topped buttresses). In it, on a level with the floor, is a large recess, perhaps intended for relics. The rest of the church is Perp. The tower (with double belfry windows) is rather plain; but the nave is very impressive, being exceptionally lofty, and having a clerestory lighted by unusually large windows, divided by niches containing paintings of the Apostles. There is a good deal of panel-work, and a splendid oak roof, with embattled tie-beams. The pierced parapet is remarkably good. Note (1) vault of S. porch; (2) piscina in S. chapel, (3) brass to George Bisse and wife (1702 and 1685). At the extremity of the graveyard is a defaced effigy.
Near the church are two ancient buildings. The one (approached through a small ruined arch) is a 14th-cent. manor house, with a hall lighted by windows that are square without and foliated within. Note (1) oak roof, (2) curious brackets. The other (now the church-house) was formerly a grammar school, founded by William Strode of Barrington in 1661; note arms and motto. A small building, surrounded by a moat, is said to occupy the site of a manor house given to Lord Monteagle for bringing about the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. The market cross is a column crowned by a sundial and ball (cp. Ilchester).
Masbury, a station on S. & D. line from Bath to Templecombe. Here the railway, after an arduous ascent, at length reaches the summit of the Mendips. To the E. of the station is Masbury Ring, a large circular encampment. It is probably of British origin, but was, no doubt, also occupied by the Romans, as it lies on the line of the old Roman road from Uphill to Old Sarum. The fosse is now partly filled with trees. The ring may be regarded as the summit of the E. Mendip range, which here reaches 958 ft. About a mile to the E. is a thicker clump of fir trees crowning Beacon Hill, another high spot. The view from Masbury is most extensive. Below are the towers of Wells and Glastonbury Tor. On the W. horizon are the Blackdowns and Quantocks; and on clear days Dunkery and Exmoor are visible. To the E. are the Wiltshire Downs and Alfred's Tower, whilst right in front, to the N., is Dundry Hill.
Meare, a village 3-1/2 m. N.W. from Glastonbury (nearest stat. Ashcott, 1-1/4 m.). It betrays by its name the former condition of the country round it, it having been an isle (like Athelney and Muchelney) only approachable (it is said), even as late as 1808, by a bridle-path. It belonged to the abbots of Glastonbury, who frequented it for fishing; and of their connection with the place there are surviving memorials in a Manor House (where they stayed) and a Fisher's House. The first (E. of the church) contains on the first floor a fine dining-hall with large hooded fireplace and Dec. windows; the building at right angles to it is said to have been the chapel. The second, where the abbey fisherman lived, is in a field adjoining the Manor House; it is roofless (the consequence of a fire), but the walk are intact, and the building is a good example of a mediaeval dwelling-house (erected 1335). The parish church has a 14th-cent. chancel with a Dec. E. window; the nave (Perp.) dates from the 15th cent., and has on the parapet of the S. aisle the monogram of Abbot Selwood, the penultimate Abbot of Glastonbury. There is a 15th-cent. stone pulpit.
Mells, a large village 3 m. W.N.W. from Frome (nearest stat. Mells Road). Mells possesses a fine church, several old houses, and a well-merited reputation for picturesqueness. The church is a rich example of 15th-cent. Somerset Perp., with the usual low chancel and an elaborately panelled and pinnacled W. tower (cp. Leigh). Note (1) fine groined porch (cp. Doulting); (2) octagonal vestry on S. with chamber above; (3) mural tablet with emblem of peacock, on N. wall of tower, designed by Burne-Jones; (4) Norm. font. There are some modern brasses to former incumbents, and in N. chapel a tablet to Sir J. Homer (1659). Immediately adjoining the church on W. is a fine gabled Elizabethan manor house. Mells Park (J.F. Horner) is a plain freestone mansion, standing in some well-timbered grounds at the farther end of the village. The founder of the family is popularly reputed to be the "little Jack Horner" of nursery fame. In the neighbourhood of Mells are three camps, Newbury and Wadbury, on the road to Elm, and Tedbury, on the way to Frome. The last mentioned is triangular, occupying a point of land between two ravines (cp. Ruborough).
Mendips, The, a chain of hills some 25 m. long, running in a straight line across the county in a N.W. direction from Frome to the Channel. On its S.W. face the ridge drops abruptly into the plain, but the opposite side gradually shelves away in a series of irregular undulations, though the descent becomes sharper as the hills approach the coast. Viewed from the sea-board the outline of the chain is on either side sharply defined, and forms a prominent and shapely feature in the landscape. From the low-lying central flats of the county the Mendips have a quite fictitious impressiveness. Nowhere does their altitude reach 1100 ft., and their ridge-like summit is nothing but an extended plateau, in places from 2 to 3 m. wide. They have, however, even on the top a certain picturesqueness, for the undulating tableland is relieved by copses, and diversified by little wooded "bottoms," scooped out by prehistoric torrents. Nearer the sea the uplands become more desolate, the "bottoms" are replaced by rocky combes, like the gorges at Cheddar and Burrington; villages become less frequent; and traces of discarded mines give a weirdness to the solitude. The moors are, however, healthy, and nowhere lacking in interest. Geologically the structure of the Mendips is simple. A core of old red sandstone, which occasionally crops out at the surface, and through which in one spot, near Downhead, a vein of igneous rock has forced its way, is thickly coated with a crust of mountain limestone. The once superincumbent coal-measures are huddled together on one side in a confused heap near Radstock, and on the other are probably buried beneath the Glastonbury marshes. The detached hills in their neighbourhood are doubtless only the remnants of an oolitic covering which once completely enveloped them. A noteworthy feature of the Mendips, but one shared by other limestone formations, is the number of caverns and "swallet holes" with which they abound. Of the former the Cheddar Caves and Wookey Hole are the most remarkable; and a good example of the latter is the Devil's Punch Bowl near E. Harptree. The chief antiquities consist of the old Roman lead-mines and an amphitheatre near Priddy, the old Roman road linking Uphill with Old Sarum, and a few camps, such as those at Masbury and Burrington. The hills are fairly uniform in height, the chief prominences being Beacon Hill (near Shepton), Masbury Ring, and Blackdown (1067 ft.). A fairly good road traverses the range from Frome to Cheddar or Burrington; and a ramble taken anywhere along its length will repay the pedestrian.
Merriott, 2 m. N. of Crewkerne, is partly, occupied, like the neighbouring town, in the manufacture of sail-cloth. The church, in the main Perp., has been restored, but retains its massive tower, which is singularly plain, with a pinnacled turret in the middle of the S. face. The tower arch looks like E.E., and there is a fine E.E. (restored) piscina in the chancel. The S. entry has some intricate carving above it, and there are some quaint figures on a stone inserted over the vestry door.
Middlezoy (6 m. S.E. from Bridgwater, 4 from Athelney Station) has a church (ded. to the Holy Cross) which contains some interesting features. The tower has double belfry windows (not triple, like Weston Zoyland). The chancel is Dec. (the E. window being good), and has a large piscina under a foliated canopy. There is a second piscina in the S. aisle, which likewise has a low side-window (cp. Othery). Note (1) the roof (with a few pendants); (2) the early Jacobean pulpit (dated 1606); (3) some carved seat ends; (4) Perp. screen; (5) old chest with three locks; (6) some fragments of ancient glass in the N. chapel; (7) a small brass (in the middle of the nave) to "Louis Chevaleir (sic) de Misiers," a French gentleman serving in the English army, who was killed at Sedgemoor (here called "the battle of Weston").
Midford, a station on the S. & D. line to Bath. There is a pretty view to be obtained from the platform, which overhangs a deep valley. Some of the S. surroundings of Bath may be conveniently explored from here by good walkers. Midford Castle, a modern antique, built in the shape of a triangle, stands just above the railway.
Midsomer Norton, a thriving and populous village 14 m. S.E. from Bristol, with a station on the S. & D. line to Bath, and another at Welton on the G.W. branch to Bristol. It obtains its name from a little rivulet, the Somer, which partly embraces the village. Though situated on the same coalfield, it is a more pleasing-looking place than its neighbour Radstock. The church is a not very inspiring example of modern Gothic (1830), and is said to have superseded a Norm, building. The tower, which may embody some portions of the original structure, is in keeping with the rest of the church, though of greater age. It contains a niched effigy of Charles II., who, though an unlikely church benefactor, is said to have given the bells. Besides having a large output of coal, the locality does a brisk trade in boots and shoes.
MILBORNE PORT, a small town of some antiquity but of no modern importance, situated on a southern projection of the county jutting into Dorset. The station (L. & S.W. main line) is 1-1/2 m. N. of the town. In pre-Reform days it was a pocket borough, returning two members. It has now little save its quaint air of antiquity to make it remarkable. The church, however, is interesting and will repay study. Externally and internally it bears evidence of a very early origin. The nave has been rebuilt and enlarged, but the tower and chancel should be carefully observed. Without, note (1) fine Norm. S. doorway; (2) base of tower with its peculiar stair turret; (3) Norm, panelling on S. side of chancel and blocked low side-window; (4) Norm, lancets in E. and N. wall of vestry; (5) traces of Norm, arcading on N. face of tower. The original niches and stoups of the W. front will be found built into a small mortuary chapel at the N.W. corner of the churchyard. Within, the tower arch claims first attention as the most exceptional feature of the church. It is of majestic dimensions, and the workmanship is bold and rugged. The N. and S. transeptal arches retain their round heads as originally constructed, but the E. and W. piers carry pointed arches. The carving on the capitals is regarded by some as bearing traces of Saxon craftsmanship, but this is doubtful; note in some cases absence of abacus. The S. transept is also worthy of close examination; note the effigy in recess in S. wall, the Norm. windows, and the piscina. Other objects worthy of observation in the church are (1) fine old font; (2) piscinas in sanctuary and S. wall of nave; (3) ancient vestry. The chancel and N. transept are Perp. The massive severity of the central arches lends an air of great impressiveness to the whole interior, though the peculiar position of the pulpit indicates how difficult it has been to adapt the building to congregational purposes. In the central thoroughfare of the village are the remains of an old market cross, and on the S. side of the street near the present market hall is the old Guildhall, containing a Norm. doorway with good details. At the E. end of the village by the side of the Salisbury road is Venn, the seat of the Medlicotts. It is a Queen Anne mansion of characteristically formal aspect. Between Milborne Port Station and the little hamlet of Milborne Wick is the site of a camp with steep flanks, and defended on the most accessible side by a strong rampart.
Milton Clevedon, a small parish 2-1/2 m. N.W. of Bruton. The church contains the effigy of an ecclesiastic (N. of the chancel), and there is some ancient glass in the N. transept. Note, too, a curious inscription on the external E. wall of the S. transept, date 1615.
MILVERTON, a small town of 1427 people, 4 m. N. of Wellington, with a station on the G.W.R. Barnstaple branch. It is a poor little place—more village than town—apparently existing on its past importance. It once had a flourishing market, and did a big business in woollen cloth. The church stands on a slight eminence, at the bottom of which lies the town. It is a good stately building without a clerestory, and is not quite in line with its tower, which is of the rough Exmoor type with a square turret flush with the E. face. The interior has a remarkable display of carved bench-ends (notice the "aspergillum" in central aisle, and the arms of Henry VIII. near pulpit). The screen is modern, but embodies some old panels. The aisles (note octagonal piers) terminate peculiarly at the W. end in chambers surmounted by galleries. The font is Norm. The churchyard has the sculptured base of a cross. The vicarage is said to have once been the country residence of Cardinal Wolsey. The country round Milverton is pleasant, and some delightful views of the Quantocks are obtainable in the neighbourhood.
MINEHEAD, a seaside town of 2500 people, 25 m. N.W. from Taunton, with a terminal station on the G.W. branch from the latter place. The name seems to be a hybrid, the first syllable being the Celtic maen, stone (cp. Mendip). Once a Channel port second in importance only to Bristol, Minehead has of recent years abandoned merchandise, and given itself over to the entertainment of visitors. It has blossomed into a watering-place of some pretensions with a pier, an esplanade, and a generous profusion of public walks. It has, moreover, one claim to distinction peculiarly its own. Exmoor, the home of the red deer, lies behind it, and Minehead is the metropolis of the hunt. The advent of the stranger was not always so eagerly welcomed. The inaccessible situation of "the old town," as it is called, suggests that one of the chief perils of ancient Minehead was the frequent incursions of marauding Danes and Welsh. But the proximity of the Cambrian coast opposite nevertheless had its occasional conveniences. In the Civil War Lord Hertford, foiled in his attempt on Dunster, found Minehead a serviceable stepping-stone to security amid the Welsh fastnesses. The general appearance of the town is eminently attractive. A promenade, which might well be extended, borders the sands, and an avenue fringed with lime trees runs up from the station to the market-place and shops. The church and older portions of the town are perched amid modern residences on the hill side above, and a quaint row of mariners' cottages (Quay Town) lies at the seaward foot of the headland. The huge bulk of the N. hill forms an effectual windscreen at the back of the town, and the abundance of flowers in the gardens testifies to the mild climate which Minehead enjoys in consequence. The parish church of St Michael stands out conspicuously on the hill side. It has a well-designed Perp. W. tower, and both within and without shows several features of interest. Externally should be noted (1) the fine projecting window which lights the rood-loft stairway; (2) the bas-reliefs on the E. and S. sides of the tower; (3) the figures supporting the weather-mouldings of one of the E. windows (one of which carries a shield with date 1529), and the inscription in the masonry above. There is a plain cross on the N. side of the graveyard. Within the church remark (1) fine rood-screen (cp. Dunster); (2) carved Elizabethan altar; (3) oak box and black-letter books; (4) canopied tomb of priest in eucharistic vestments, and holding fragment of chalice; (5) curious wooden arch to vestry; (6) fine font; (7) defaced brass of a lady under the tower. No visitor can leave the churchyard unimpressed with the panorama spread at his feet. Beyond the cliffs at Blue Anchor may be discerned Weston pier. A new church in the market-place provides further accommodation for the influx of summer visitors. Beneath the churchyard wall of the new building stands a stout statue of good Queen Anne, which once adorned the parish church. It was the gift of a Swede (Sir J. Bancks), who married in 1696 the well-portioned widow of one of the Luttrells. In the main street, opposite the Assembly Rooms, is a venerable building, once a court-house. A lane leading off by the new Market Hall gives entry to a quaint row of alms-houses, built by R. Quirck in 1630. The court contains the stump of an old cross. Minehead abounds in pleasant walks. The North Hill in particular furnishes many a pleasing ramble: its summit may be gained by taking a scrambling path at the E. end of the old church. The whole range of the hill can be traversed as far as Selworthy Beacon, and a descent may be made either to Wood Combe or Greenaleigh farm.
Misterton, a village 1/2 m. S.E. of Crewkerne. Its church is of no antiquarian interest, though it possesses an ancient font.
Monksilver, a parish 3 m. S. of Williton, rather less from Stogumber Station. The last half of the name is probably the Latin silva. The little church does not retain many features of interest, but note (1) the screen and pulpit; (2) a panelled altar-tomb, without inscription, N. of the chancel; (3) the piscina; (4) a bracket for a figure at the E. of the S. aisle; (5) the curious devices on some of the seat-ends; (6) the grotesque gargoyles (one seems to represent the extraction of a tooth); (7) some ancient glass (with symbols of the Evangelists) in a window of the S. aisle.
Monkton Combe is a village 1 m. W. of Limpley Stoke Station, with a church that has been entirely rebuilt.
Monkton, West, a parish 4 m. N.E. of Taunton, which gets its name from the fact that the monks of Glastonbury owned property in it. Its church, mainly Perp., but containing in the chancel arch work of earlier date (perhaps 13th cent.), is noteworthy for its lofty tower. The nave has a clerestory, and a good oak cornice. Note (1) stoup in S. porch; (2) piscinas; (3) mural tablet in chancel to the memory of William Kinglake, a physician (d. 1660), with its curious inscription. In the churchyard are the parish stocks. The old leper hospital in Taunton (q.v.) really belongs to this parish.
Montacute, 4 m. W. of Yeovil, is an attractive village (with station) which derives its name from two neighbouring pyramidal eminences, one of which, crowned by St Michael's Tower, is the site of a former castle. There are several places of interest in or near it. Its church preserves work of various periods, Norm. (chancel arch and moulding on N. wall of nave), E.E. and Dec. (windows in chancel and transepts), and Perp. (tower and nave). The tower is good, with its stages divided by rows of quatrefoils. Note (1) groining of N. porch (the ribs are inaccurately centred), (2) brackets beneath organ (the eastern alone is ancient), (3) elaborate niches in chancel arch, (4) squint and piscina, (5) texts round reredos, dated 1543, (6) effigies of the Phelipses, the earliest dating from the 15th cent. In the churchyard is the carved shaft of a cross. Near the W. end of the church is a beautiful 15th-cent. gateway, once belonging to a Cluniac Priory (founded in the time of Henry I.), with oriel windows N. and S., the latter flanked by two turrets of unequal height. Note over N. window a portcullis, and over the S. the letters T.C., the initials of Thomas Chard, the last prior but two. In the village square is a picturesque house with the initials R.S. (Robert Sherborne, the last prior) between two figures with fools' caps. Montacute House, the seat of the Phelipses, is built in the form of the letter H, and dates from the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1580-1601). The E. and W. fronts are handsome, the former being decorated with nine large statues, supposed to represent various martial characters, historical, legendary, and biblical. The two large upper-storey windows that project from the N. and S. sides, light a gallery running the whole length of the house. The building was designed by John Thorpe, the architect of Longleat. Note the "gazebos" in the garden (cp. Nether Stowey).
Moorlynch, a village on the S. edge of the Poldens, 4 m. S. of Shapwick Station. The churchyard commands a good view of Sedgemoor, with the towers of Othery, Middlezoy, and Weston Zoyland rising conspicuously from it. The church (said to be E.E., but altered in Perp. times) has some features of interest: (1) pillar piscina, (2) carved bench-ends, (3) Norm. font, (4) effigy of lady (preserved under the tower), (5) bits of old glass in chancel windows, (6) consecration crosses on exterior chancel wall. There are some carved bench-ends and old oak seats.
Muchelney, 2 m. S.E. of Langport, is a small village rich in antiquities. Like Athelney, it was once a marsh-girt "island "—the largest, or muckleey, amongst its peers. Its church has a fair tower (double windows in the belfry), though much inferior to those of Huish and Kingsbury. At the W. door there is a fine stoup. There are N. and S. porches with parvises or chambers, and the vault of the S. porch is groined. Within should be noticed (1) quaint paintings on the nave roof, (2) piscina and sedilia with fine canopies, (3) group of canopied niches E. of the S. aisle, (4) fine carved Perp. font. In the churchyard, E. of the church, is a fine panelled tomb. S. of the parish church are the foundations of the Abbey Church. The Abbey was founded by the Saxon Athelstan, about 939. The remains may be traced of (1) an apsidal Norm. Lady Chapel, (2) a square-ended Lady Chapel of later date. A few tiles are preserved in the adjoining church. S. of the churchyard is the Abbot's House, which exhibits much of interest (especially a room with a settle of Henry VIII.'s time), if admission can be obtained. A panelled (interior) wall may be seen from the road: behind it is a cloister (now a cider cellar). N. of the parish church is another interesting building, the old Vicarage House, dating from the 14th or 15th cent. In another house hard by is a fragment of Norm. carving. Note, too, the village cross (restored.)
Mudford is a village on the Yeo, 3 m. N. of Yeovil. The church has a good tower, but contains little of interest. The pulpit appears to be Jacobean, and there is a curious bracket near one of the S. windows.
Mudgeley. See Wedmore.
Nailsea, a village (with station) 9 m. W.S.W. of Bristol. Its church preserves some features of interest, among them being (1) stone pulpit, entered through the wall by a staircase which formerly led to the rood-loft, (2) curious carving on the capitals of the arcade, (3) piscina, (4) monument to Richard Cole and his family, with its punning Latin epitaph and free translation. Some way from the village is Nailsea Court, a manor house of partly Tudor, partly Elizabethan construction.
Nempnett Thrubwell, a small village 7 m. S.W. from Pensford Station, and 10 S.S.W. of Bristol. It stands on high ground overlooking a deep valley. In the neighbourhood some very fine views may be obtained of the Mendip Hills, the Blagdon Reservoir, and the Wrington valley. The church is a small building with a Perp. W. tower, from the W. face of which project two curious and uncanny carved heads of a man and beast. The walls of the nave still bear the original 13th cent. consecration crosses. The chancel is modern, and contains a rich modern screen and a good E. window of Munich glass. Note (1) rude Norm. S. doorway filled with Perp. tracery; (2) Norm. font carved with a curious device by some later craftsman. Near the porch in the churchyard is (1) base of ancient cross; (2) tomb of first rector—Robert—bearing an incised cross. The parish once contained a remarkably fine tumulus of masonry, said to have been one of the finest in Britain, in the chambers of which skeletons have been discovered. A few vestiges of it now only remain, the rest has been used as a lime-kiln.
Nettlecombe, a parish 2-1/2 m. S.W. of Williton. Its church stands in the park of Nettlecombe Court, the seat of Sir J.W. Trevelyan. Though restored in 1869 it retains several features of interest. The tower has the staircase turret at the N.W. angle (cp. Martock and Yeovil). In the interior note (1) the foliage round the capitals of the arcade piers; (2) the fine ancient glass in two windows in the N. aisle, representing seven saints; (3) the octagonal font, with carved sides (much defaced), seven of them supposed to represent the seven sacraments; (4) the effigies under two E.E. recesses in the S. aisle, representing (i) a crusader, (ii) a knight (hip-belted) and his lady. They probably belong to the Raleigh family, the former owners of Nettlecombe Court. There is also a slab with an inscription to John Trevelyan (d. 1623). The pulpit is approached by the old rood staircase. The Communion plate dates from the 15th cent. (1479).
Newton, North, a parish 4-1/2 m. S. of Bridgwater and 2 m. N. of Durston Station. Its church has been wholly rebuilt with the exception of its very ancient tower (which is thought by some to be of Saxon origin). The only antiquities which the building contains are (1) a beautiful screen, with four figures in relief, three of which represent Faith, Hope and Charity (cp. the similar figures at Stoke St Gregory and Thurloxton); (2) a carved door leading into the vestry, with figures of the Ten Virgins; (3) a Caroline pulpit (1637). In this parish there was found, in 1693 a jewel set in gold, with an inscription on the rim: AELFRED MEE HEHT GEWYRCAN (Alfred directed me to be made). It is now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, whilst a copy of it may be seen in Taunton Museum.
Newton, St Loe, a well-kept village 3-1/2 m. W. of Bath, standing on high ground on the outskirts of Newton Park. The church has been much restored, but retains on the S. the original Dec. arcade and a squint. There is some good modern carving. In the graveyard are the base and stump of what was once a fine cross. The church possesses a chalice of the date 1555.
Northover, a parish adjoining Ilchester, on the opposite side of the Ivel. Its church (restored 1878) has an ancient tower, and contains a Norm. font and a plain Jacobean pulpit.
Norton Fitzwarren, a village 2 m. N.W. of Taunton. Its church (restored) is of late 14th cent. origin, with Dec. windows, and the tower is Perp. The edifice is interesting chiefly for its fine rood-screen, supposed to date from about 1500; the carvings on it deserve attention (note dragons, ploughman and team, and name of churchwarden). The figures above it are modern. There are some carved seat-ends in the body of the church. On the hill above is a circular British camp, about 13 acres in extent.
Norton Malreward, a small and secluded village under Maes Knoll, 1 m. N.W. of Pensford. The church (rebuilt 1861) retains its original tower, a good Norm. chancel arch, and a Norm. font. In the churchyard is a square dole-stone, similar to the one at Dundry, but smaller.
Norton St Philip, a comely village equidistant (3 m.) from Midford (S. & D.) and Freshford (G.W.R.) Stations. It stands on high ground near the crossing of the roads from Frome to Bath, and from Radstock to Trowbridge. In mediaeval days Norton was the scene of a considerable cloth fair, the tolls of which were the perquisites of the prior of Hinton. At a later date it was the scene of a sharp skirmish between the Duke of Monmouth's forces and a body of regulars under the Duke of Grafton. The church has an extraordinary W. tower, the eccentricities of which have led some to conclude that it was constructed out of odds and ends from the dismantled monastic buildings at Hinton. Note the singularly deep buttresses and the quasi-porch formed between them. The body of the church is likewise peculiar, but of more merit. It is one of Sir G. Scott's restorations. In the S. wall of the nave is the recumbent effigy of a layman (cp. Cleeve). Beneath the tower is a tablet commemorating a local "freak"—the two ladies of Foxcote, who appear to have been an early edition of the Siamese Twins. A neighbouring garden contains a good Elizabethan dovecot. Norton St Philip claims to possess the oldest licensed house in England—the George—a stately 15th cent. hostelry standing at the top of the village. It is a fine old half-timbered building, with a small bay window in front and an octagonal projecting staircase and gallery at the back, and is well worthy of inspection within and without. It was probably built for the accommodation of the merchants of the staple in the old cloth fair-days.
Norton-sub-Hamdon, a village at the foot of the S.W. flank of Hamdon Hill, 2-1/2 m. S.W. of Montacute Station. The church has a fine tower, which was rebuilt in 1894 after destruction by lightning; it is characterised by large single windows extending from the belfry into the storey below (cp. Shepton Beauchamp and Hinton St George). The body of the church was restored in 1862; the oldest part would seem to be the S. porch, which has a ribbed stone roof (cp. Tintinhall). The interior is imposing by reason of the height of the nave and chancel, but it contains little that calls for notice. In the E. wall is a piscina and two niches. The modern and very ugly font is made of a single block of alabaster. The most interesting object is in the churchyard, which contains a circular dovecot, quite perfect, supported by buttresses.
Nunney, a village 3 m. S.W. from Frome. It possesses the unusual attraction of a ruined castle. The castle is an excellent specimen of a 14th cent. fortified dwelling-house. The walls are still complete, but bear abundant traces of the ravages of time and warfare. In plan the castle consists of a rectangular parallelogram with a cylindrical tower at each angle The interior is gutted, but as the beam-marks still remain, the general arrangements are easily reconstructed. It was divided into four storeys by wooden floors, the dining-hall being (as the large fireplace indicates) on the first floor. Access was gained to the different apartments by a large spiral staircase winding round the interior of the N. turret. The top storey of the S. turret, marked externally by a Perp. window, was evidently furnished as an oratory; an altar slab and piscina can still be seen projecting from the wall. The position, not naturally strong, was rendered more defensible by a moat, beyond which flows a stream. The castle was built by Sir J. de la Mere in 1373 out of the spoils of the French wars. It afterwards passed successively to the families of Pawlet and Prater, and during the Civil Wars was held by Colonel Prater for the king. After a determined resistance it surrendered on terms to Fairfax. The neighbouring church has a picturesque Perp. tower with a projecting spiral stair turret. On the W. face is a panel representing a key and a knotted cord, thought to be a Delamere badge. Internally the fabric has been much pulled about and altered. It contains a heavy Norman font and a small oak chancel screen. Behind the organ in the N. aisle are two altar tombs with double recumbent effigies (15th cent.), and a third (14th cent.) with a single figure—that of the founder of the castle—is shelved on the window-sill above. The effigies furnish excellent illustrations of the armour of their periods.
Nynehead, a village 1-1/2 m. N. of Wellington. From the neighbouring village of Bradford it is approached by a deep artificial cutting picturesquely overhung with creepers. The church is something of a "show place." Its chief attraction is a remarkable collection of marble statuary and Della Robbia work. Notice in particular the tablet representing the Trinity, by Mino da Fiesole, on the W. wall of S. aisle, the Madonna and Child on same wall, and the "Nativity" beneath the tower. The church itself is Perp., but largely rebuilt. It contains a very fine oak screen. Note also (1) squint on N.; (2) rough piscina in chancel; (3) monument to the Clarkes of Chipley (1679) in N. chapel. In the beautifully-kept churchyard is the base of a fine cross, now prettily overgrown with ferns and lichen. In close proximity to the church is a large but uncomely-looking manor house.
Oake, a parish 3 m. S.E. of Milverton. Its little church, sadly dilapidated, has the tower on the S. side. Over the porch (1601) is a pierced parapet, bearing the monogram I.P. (cp. Hill-farrance). The interior contains nothing of note except a carved pulpit and an old font, and some fragments of ancient glass in a window of unusual size, which is said to have been brought from Taunton Priory. Outside is a stone for doles.
Oakhill, a large village on the N. slope of the Mendips, 2 m. S.E. of Binegar Station (S. and D.). It is chiefly dependent upon a large brewery. The church is modern (1861).
Oare, a small village 7 m. W. of Porlock, situated in a delightful valley between heather-clad hills. It is a favourite drive from Porlock, and may be reached by two routes, the better being along the main Porlock and Lynton road almost as far as County Gate. Oare church is quaint, but contains little of interest. 3/4 m. away is Malmesmead, where the Oare Water joins the Badgeworthy Water, which for some distance constitutes the boundary between Somerset and Devon, and is familiar to readers of Lorna Doone.
Odcombe, a village 3 m. W. of Yeovil. The church occupies a very elevated position and commands a good view. In plan it is cruciform, with a central tower resting on piers which seem to belong to the Dec. period, though the E. and W. arches have been altered in Perp. times. There is a good piscina in the chancel, and the basin of the font is ancient. The ribbed and panelled roof of the S. porch deserves notice. Odcombe was the birthplace of Tom Coryate, who, early in the 17th cent., tramped through Europe and the East. After his first journey he is said to have hung up his boots in the church.
Orchardleigh, a modern mansion, 2 m. N. from Frome, built to replace the ancient seat of the Champneys. In the park is a knoll crowned by three huge stones, which were once a cromlech, and are supposed to mark a place of sepulture. Upon an island in a lake is a small church, quite a little gem in its way. It contains a carved cup-shaped font, a beautiful Dec. priest's doorway, and an elaborately sculptured aumbry and piscina. The unique features of the building, however, are the small projecting figures on the N. and S. walls of the sanctuary; the hand of the one on the S. will be seen still grasping the staple on which was once suspended the Lenten veil (cp. Leigh-on-Mendip).
Orchard Portman, a parish 2 m. S. of Taunton, which represents in its name an alliance between a Portman and the heiress of the Orchards. The most noteworthy features of its small Perp. church is a Norm. S. door, and an ancient font (likewise presumably Norm.) of curious shape. Note, too, (1) carved wooden pulpit; (2) carved stalls; (3) brass on chancel S. wall to "Humfredus de Collibus" (Anglice, Coles or Colles), who died 1693 (cp. Pitminster).
Othery, a parish on the Sedgemoor plain, 3 m. N.E. of Athelney Station. Its church has quite a number of interesting features. It is cruciform in plan, with a central tower, and is said to be an E. E. building, which has been altered in the Dec. and Perp. periods. The tower is noticeable for its "batter," for its belfry window of four lights, and for its niches and figures. The chancel, like some others in the county, has a low side-window, outside of which a neighbouring buttress is perforated to permit some object (possibly a lamp) placed in the window to be seen. The cross on the E. gable is said to be Norm., but if so, is probably not in its original position, since it is little weathered. Within note (1) the manner in which the narrow central tower is joined to the wider nave; (2) the ancient glass in the N. transept; (3) squint and piscinas. Most of the woodwork is modern. At the present churchwarden's house is preserved a 15th cent. cope, which has been converted into an altar frontal.
Otterford, a parish 6 m. N.W. of Chard. The hamlet of Bishop's Wood, the most thickly populated part of the parish, lies in a broad defile, through which trickles the Otter brook. The church is 2-1/2 m. away on the hill-top. It is not of great interest, but contains a stoup, a piscina, and a Norm. font.
Otterhampton, a parish near the estuary of the Parrett, 7 m. N.W. of Bridgewater. It has a small aisleless church, the most remarkable feature of which is the wall separating the chancel (which is modern) from the nave. It is pierced by a chancel arch without mouldings, and has on its W. face several niches. There is a small but old screen, and a Norm. font. Attached to Otterhampton is Combwich, identified by some with "Cynuit," the scene of the battle between The Dane Hubba (one of the murderers of St Edmund) and Earl Odda in 878, which by others is placed near Appledore in Devon. The Saxon Chronicle, indeed, definitely states that Hubba met his death in Devonshire; but at that time Devon probably extended as far east as the Parrett, and Hubba was possibly co-operating with the Danish force that was observing Alfred at Athelney (see p. 13). (With Hubba's name cp. Hobb's Boat on the Axe).
Paulton, a populous mining and manufacturing village, 1-1/2 m. S.E. from Hallatrow Station. The church is an uninteresting bit of early Victorian re-building (1839) with an 18th cent. tower, a woefully poor imitation of Perp. work.
Pawlett, a parish 4 m. N. of Bridgwater (nearest station Dunball, 1-1/2 m.) It has a cruciform church (with W. tower), possessing (1) a Norm. S. door, with some unusual but much defaced mouldings; (2) a tub font (on a later base); (3) a screen with vine ornamentation; (4) a Jacobean pulpit.
Peasedown St John, a bleakly situated colliery village, 6 m. S.W. from Bath. It consists of a long string of cottages and a modern church.
Pendomer, a small hamlet, 2 m. W.S.W. from Sutton Bingham (L. and S.W.). A combination of situation and family associations is responsible for its name (Dummer's Hill). The church is noteworthy only as containing a remarkable monument. In a cinque-foiled recess on the N., faced with a square canopy surmounted by pinnacles, is the recumbent figure of a knight clad in coat of mail. It is believed to represent Sir J. de Dummer (d. about 1321), son of Sir William buried at Chilthorne Domer. Note (1) grotesque figures supporting canopy; (2) cusps worked up into figures of angels (cp. Dowlishwake); (3) iron prickets for lights. The church windows contain some old glass, and the arms of the Stourton family. The neighbouring farmhouse is a 16th cent. building.
Pennard, East, a village 1-1/2 m. N.W. from Pylle Station (S. and D.). There is a painful neatness about this little group of cottages characteristic of a manorial appurtenance. The church, which partakes of the same trimness, is Perp. The tower is of rather an unusual type, being low and squat, and unrelieved by battlements. The staircase is only a flat projection on the S. side, carried half way up. Upon the N. face of the tower is a Tudor rose (cp. Marston Magna). Note (1) stoups in S. porch and outside N. door; (2) Jacobean stalls; (3) piscina and aumbry; (4) niche in E. wall of N. aisle; (5) richly carved square font. The nave retains its original 15th cent. roof supported on large corbels. In the churchyard is the shaft of a cross. A good view is obtainable from the neighbouring Wrax Hill.
Pennard, West, a village 5 m. S. from Shepton Mallet, with a station on S. and D. line to Glastonbury. The church, which stands some little distance away, is a large and strikingly handsome Perp. building of uniform design (temp. Edward IV.). The W. tower carries a lead spire. Its chief interest is its general comeliness. It has neither chapels nor monuments. One or two features, however, are deserving of notice: (1) good screen; (2) large squint (containing rood stairway) on N.; (3) corresponding doorway on S.; (4) stoup at W. doorway. In the churchyard is a good cross bearing emblems of the Passion on its base (cp. Doulting).
Penselwood, a parish 4 m. N.E. of Wincanton. It occupies high ground, which in early times has been strongly defended. Hard by are the British earthwork known as Cenwealh's Castle, and the Norm, moated mound called Orchard Castle. In the neighbourhood, too, are Pen-Pits, circular cavities in the ground (extending over 200 acres), which are believed to have been excavated for the purpose of obtaining grindstones. The parish church, mainly Perp., retains a Norm. S. door (note the carving on the lintel) and a Norm. font; and over the gable of a door in the S. wall is another piece of carving (the Virgin and Child and two kneeling figures), which probably was, once part of the cross. There are some bits of early glass in one of the windows. One of the bells is said to date from the 13th cent.
Pensford, a village with a station on the G.W.R. Frome and Bristol line. It lies immediately at the foot of a lofty viaduct, which commands a pretty prospect of the valley of the Chew. Like other places on the bank of a stream, the village was once the centre of a brisk cloth trade. The church has been rebuilt, but contains a Jacobean pulpit and a Perp. font (cp. Dundry). The inverted fragment of a piscina may be seen in the churchyard, built into the wall of a shed.
Perrott, North, a small village on the Parrett (which doubtless gives it its name), 2 m. N.E. of Crewkerne. The church is a small cruciform Perp. structure of rather poor workmanship, with a low central tower. The tower arches are panelled, and there is a piscina in the chancel. The manor house hard by is a handsome gabled modern mansion. In the parish Roman remains have been discovered. The companion village of South Perrott is in Dorset.
Petherton, North, a village 3 m. S.W. of Bridgwater, deriving its name from the neighbouring Parrett. In the time of Alfred the country around was one of the royal forests, the others being Selwood, Mendip, Neroche, and Exmoor. There is a fine church, with a noble tower, perhaps the best of its class. It belongs to the type that is characterised by double windows in the belfry, but is more elaborate than most of its compeers. The stages are divided by bands of quatrefoils (cp. Huish and Kingsbury), whilst the wall-face above the belfry windows is beautifully panelled. The W., N., and S. sides are decorated with niches containing figures; and the summit is finished with an ornate crown. The turret (as at Lyng) ascends only half-way up. There are two porches, the S. having a chamber, or gallery, looking into the church. The most peculiar features of the building are the slenderness of the piers carrying the chancel arch, and the sacristy below the E. window (the latter peculiarity occurring also at Langport, Kingsbury, Porlock, Ilminster, and formerly at Crewkerne). Note the piscina at the end of the S. aisle. In the churchyard there is the octagonal base, carved with quatrefoils, of an ancient cross.
PETHERTON, SOUTH, 3 m. S.W. of Martock, is a small town, interesting mainly for its noble church, which has a central (rather attenuated) octagonal tower on a square base. The oldest parts of the building appear to be the basement of the tower, the chancel, the S. porch, and the N. transept, the difference in the masonry between these portions and the rest being instructive. The tower still retains some lancets of the E.E. period; but the earliest windows in the chancel and N. transept are Dec. The body of the church is Perp., and the W. window deserves attention. Note, too, (1) stoup outside N. porch; (2) fragments in S. porch of the same zodiacal signs that appear at Stoke-sub-Hamdon; (3) piscinas (especially that in the chancel); (4) tomb of Sir Giles Daubeny (d. 1445) and one of his wives, with a fine brass (there is also a brass to his second wife on the floor, concealed by matting); (5) 17th-cent. mural tablets in the S. and N. chapels. King Ina's Palace is the name of an interesting house on the Martock road. It is said to date from Richard II.'s time (with later alterations), and contains a hall, with minstrel gallery, and a good fireplace. Near the church there are one or two other ancient houses which invite notice.
Pill, a populous village, 6 m. N.W. of Bristol, standing on a muddy creek of the Avon. A sufficient impression of the place may be obtained from the station platform. The church is modern.
Pilton, 1-1/2 m. N.W. of West Pennard Station, lies in pretty country. Its church is spacious, and contains much of interest. Architecturally it belongs to various periods. The S. door is Norm., the porch later. The columns and arches which separate the nave from the aisle are late Norm. or Trans.; the roof was raised at a later date, and a Perp. clerestory was inserted. The chancel is Perp., with a panelled arch and a clerestory. Note (1) the fine wooden roof; (2) the screen that encloses what was once a chapel (it has a piscina); (3) the "Easter sepulchre," under a recess in the N. wall, with a representation of our Lord cut in the stone; (4) the fine brass chandelier (1749); (5) the curious old chest at the base of the tower, which contains the remains of an old 16th cent. cope, which has been converted into an altar frontal; (6) the Jacobean pulpit (1618). The communion plate includes a paten of about 1500. Near the church is a noble cruciform barn, once belonging to the abbots of Glastonbury, with the emblems of the Evangelists at the gables.
Pitcombe, a parish 1-1/4 m. S. of Bruton. The church, with the exception of the tower, has been rebuilt, and contains nothing of interest, except an ancient font.
Pitminster, a large village, 4-1/2 m. S. of Taunton. The church is noticeable for its octagonal tower, which is surmounted by a spire. There are two large monuments of the Coles family on either side of the chancel, and a third at the W. end, dating from the 16th and 17th cents. The font is elaborately carved. Note (1) the bench ends; (2) the old glass in the tracery of the E. window of the N. aisle; (3) the two piscinas.
Pitney, a village 2-1/2 m. N.E. of Langport. The church (Perp.) has an interesting stoup in the porch, and a ribbed squint, with a curious little recess beneath. A Roman pavement has been unearthed in the parish; some specimens of the tiles are preserved in the Taunton Museum.
Podimore, a village 2 m. N.E. of Ilchester. Its church has an octagonal tower on a square base (cp. Weston Bampfylde), the upper part of which is lighted with small lancets. The way in which the octagon has been superimposed on the square may be observed from the interior. The windows of the church are partly Dec., partly Perp. The E. window has some fragments of ancient glass. The chancel arch is unusually narrow. Note (1) the piscina and aumbry; (2) the old font; (3) the stoup in the S. porch. There is the base of an old cross in the churchyard.
PORLOCK, a small town near the Devonshire border, 7 m. W. from Minehead, from which it is reached by coach. Its name—"the enclosed harbour"—indicates its former maritime character, but more than a mile of meadow land now separates it from the sea. Its attenuated shipping trade finds what accommodation it can at the Weir, 1-1/2 m. to the W. The village enjoys a reputation second only to Cleveleys' for west-country quaintness. It has certainly much to recommend it to the lovers of the picturesque. It lies snugly ensconced at the bottom of a wooded valley, enclosed on three sides by the heathery slopes of Exmoor, but open in front to the sea. Southey has penned a testimonial to its scenery; and its creeper-clad cottages, with roses and clematis reaching to their round Devonshire chimneys, still furnish many a study for the pencil or camera. In Anglo-Saxon times it was much raided by the Danes, and Harold's sons also paid it a visit, which procured for them a rough welcome from the shoresmen. The church (ded. to St Dubricius), which stands in a rather cramped position in the centre of the village, is externally much in keeping with the old-fashioned aspect of the surrounding cottages. It consists of a Perp. nave and S. aisle, with a truncated shingled spire at the W. end. Internally it is comely and of interest. Its chief curiosities are a small sacristy at the E. end (cp. Langport and N. Petherton), and a richly canopied tomb, uncomfortably crowded under the E. bay of the arcade. The recumbent effigies are finished in much detail, but a certain mystery hangs about their identity. They are now regarded as those of Baron John Harington of Aldingham (d. 1418) and his wife, Lady Elizabeth, nee Courtney (1472). The lady's head-dress, in the shape of a mitre, is particularly noteworthy. On the N. side of the sanctuary is an altar tomb panelled with devices of the Five Wounds. It is supposed to have served as an Easter sepulchre. An earlier model of the same tomb stands in the N. porch. In the S. aisle is a round-headed founder's recess, containing the mail-clad figure of a knight, supposed to be Simon Fitz-Roger (temp. Richard I.); close by is a smaller recess. The rood-loft has disappeared, but a stairway and window mark its former position. Note the indications of the earlier character of the sanctuary in the E. window and double-drained piscina. In the churchyard is a restored cross. The "Ship" at the fork of the Lynton road is a venerable hostelry, once patronised by Southey; and there is another quaint house on the road to Minehead. Specimens of an oak jug peculiar to Porlock may be obtained in the village. The nearest approach to the sea is by the road to the Weir. Here a pebble ridge encloses the tide and forms a natural pill, which a pair of dock gates transforms into a rude harbour. The view across the bay to Hurlstone Point and Bossington is delightful. Pretty views may also be obtained from Park Road, a long zigzag ascent which finally joins the Lynton road. Another pleasant walk can be taken in Hawkcombe valley (past W. end of church); whilst a third, passing "Doverhay," may terminate at the Horner Valley (L.), or at Stoke Pero (R.). A visit should be paid to Allerford, where there is an ancient pack-horse bridge of two arches, and whence the summit of Bossington Beacon may be reached by some charming zigzag paths through the woods.
Portbury, a village 8 m. N.W. of Bristol (nearest stat. Pill). It is a place where many Roman remains have been found. It possesses a spacious church, which has a fine Norm. recessed S. door. The chancel arch is also of Norm. origin, but has undergone alteration. There is a good E. window and a sanctuary bell-cot. The triple sedilia (E.E. or Dec.) and the 17th-cent. brass in the N. aisle should be noticed. At the junction of the roads to Portishead and Clapton are the remains of a priory, which are now used as a school. It is said to have belonged to an Augustinian Abbey at Bristol.
PORTISHEAD, a small town with a population of 2544, situated on the Bristol Channel, 11-1/2 m. W. from Bristol and 8 from Clifton Suspension Bridge. It is connected with the city by a G.W.R. branch line, of which it is the terminus. Portishead makes a successful attempt to combine business with pleasure. It has a biggish dock and some large grain warehouses, and is a flourishing little port. It is now awaking to its possibilities as a watering-place. Its chief attraction is a wooded promontory rising behind the docks. Round this is cut an excellent road, which finally ends in a queer little attempt at a promenade. The "Point" has figured in history, for the possession of a fort upon it was contested by the Royalist and Roundhead forces in the Civil War. The church is in the middle of the old village, which lies back from the sea. It has a stately Perp. tower crowned with a spirelet. The interior is unreformed and disappointing. Note (1) music gallery above S. porch, (2) Norm. font, (3) curious arch in N. aisle, (4) sculptured heads built into chancel wall, perhaps removed from original position as suspenders of Lenten veil (cp. Orchardleigh), (5) pulpit reached through S. wall. Near the church is an ancient manor house with an Elizabethan turret. Portishead possesses a fine new Naval College, built to replace the old training-ship Formidable. Nightingale Valley is a favourite walk.
Preston Plucknett, a village 1-1/2 m. W. of Yeovil. Its church is not particularly interesting, the ancient features being disguised by recent restorations. The body of the building is thought to be late Dec., the tower Perp. Note (1) piscina in S. transept or chapel, (2) small doorway in N. transept, which probably once led to the rood-loft, but now affords access to the pulpit. Hard by is a fine tithe barn with finials on the gables, and a 15th-cent. house with a most picturesque porch and panelled octagonal chimney.
Priddy, a lonely village on the top of the W. Mendips, 5 m. N.N.W. of Wells. It enjoys a certain celebrity as one of the bleakest and most remote spots in Somerset. Though some considerable distance from Cheddar, it is generally regarded as part of the Cheddar entourage. Nowhere can the characteristic scenery of the Mendips, with its moors, mines, and swallets, be sampled to better advantage. Priddy, ever since Roman times, has been the centre of the Mendip mining area (cp. p. 11), and wild tales used to be told of the Priddy "groovers." Lead and zinc ores are still worked in the locality. The village surrounds a large, three-cornered green, which was once the scene of a considerable fair. The church stands about a stone's-throw away on rising ground. It is a Perp. building of irregular design and rough workmanship. It has a good pillared stoup in the porch, a Jacobean screen, and fragments of a stone pulpit. In the neighbourhood are two groups of barrows.
Priston, a village in a secluded dale 5-1/4 m. S.W. from Bath (nearest stat. Camerton, 3 m.). The church is something of a deception, for a good Norm. doorway and an exterior corbel table prepares the visitor for the Norm. arches and arcading within; but these are entirely modern. There is, however, some good Dec. work in the chancel; and notice should especially be taken of the priest's doorway, the foliated rear arches of the windows (cp. Frome), and the fine pillar piscina. Observe also (1) old wooden door, (2) the lion serving as a finial to W. gable. The tower, the base of which is perhaps Norm., is incongruously finished with a balustrade and urn-like pinnacles.
Publow, a village on the Chew (nearest stat. Pensford). One of the prettiest features of the landscape from Pensford Station is the graceful tower of Publow Church. It is a stately structure of four stages, with the customary projecting stone turret and spirelet. The interior is not particularly interesting, but note (1) panelled arch on N. of sanctuary, (2) aumbry in N. aisle, (3) square font. The pulpit has been constructed out of two old pews. Near the church is an old cylindrical "lock-up."
Puckington, a small village 3 m. N.E. of Ilminster. The oldest part of the church (Perp.) is the chancel, which has Dec. windows, a piscina, and triple sedilia (E.E.) (cp. Shepton Beauchamp). There is also a Norm, font with cable moulding.
Puriton, a parish 3-3/4 m. N.N.E. from Bridgwater, 3/4 m. from Dunball. The church, though old, has lost whatever features of interest it once had. The S. porch seems formerly to have had a gallery or parvise (note the staircase), and there is a small plain oak screen. The neighbouring large house is Puriton Manor.
Puxton, a small village 7 m. E. of Weston-super-Mare, with a station 3 m. away. The church is a small building with a leaning tower. Originally it was E.E. (note one of the windows), but many parts of the fabric are much later. The porch is dated 1557. There is a good oak pulpit, with hourglass holder, and some heavy 15th-cent. benches.
Pylle, a village with station (S. & D.), situated a little off the Fosse Way, 4 m. S. of Shepton Mallet. The church (St Thomas a Becket) has, with the exception of the tower (Perp.), been rebuilt (1868). Opposite is a farmhouse, which was once a manorial residence of the Berkeleys: part of the original Elizabethan building still remains.
Quantocks, The, a range of hills forming the W. boundary of the spacious plain which occupies the centre of the county. Geologically, they belong to the Devonian series of rocks. They are not of great extent, being a comparatively narrow ridge, stretching from the neighbourhood of Taunton in a north-westerly direction some 10 or 12 m. to the sea, whilst their tallest summit (Will's Neck) is only 1270 ft. But their natural attraction of woodland dells, heathy moorlands, and mountain air are great, and are enhanced by interests which appeal both to the lovers of sport and the lovers of literature, for upon them the red deer is hunted (as well as upon Exmoor), and near them Coleridge and Wordsworth made their homes. They are easily accessible on the E. from Bridgwater, whence good roads lead to Cothelstone Beacon and Nether Stowey (to the latter the G.W.R. runs a motor car), and on the S. from Taunton, whence the railway to Minehead skirts their W. flanks all the way to the coast, with stations at intervals (Bishop's Lydeard, Crowcombe, Stogumber, Williton). On the E. side, they are cut by numerous long and leafy combes (notably Cockercombe and Seven Wells' Combe), which afford easy ascents; but on the W. the slopes are much steeper and barer. Their tops are covered with bracken, heather, scrub oak, and quantities of whortle berries, the ripening of the last marking the beginning of the summer holidays for the village children, who then go "whorting." The most conspicuous summits in order from S.E. to N.W. are Cothelstone Beacon, Witt's Neck, Danesborough (where there is a British camp), and Longstone Hill. A track (not fit for cyclists) runs the whole length of the range, starting from where the road from Bridgwater to Bagborough begins to descend to the latter place, and ending where the hills slope towards the sea between E. and W. Quantoxhead. Triscombe Stone, near the head of Cockercombe, is a famous meet for the staghounds. At Adscombe, near Seven Wells' Combe, are the remains of a chantry which is said to have belonged to the monastery at Athelney. The W. window, with door beneath, still survives.
Quantoxhead, East, a parish 4-1/2 m. N.E. from Williton, near the shore. Its church retains a few interesting features, among them being a tomb of Hugh Luttrell (1522), some carved seat ends (one with the Luttrell arms), a Caroline pulpit (1633), and a piscina. In the churchyard is the shaft of a cross. Near the church is Court House, an old manor house, with the remains of a pierced parapet. It formerly belonged to the Luttrell family.
Quantoxhead, West, a parish 1-1/2 m. E. of Williton. The church of St Etheldreda (Audrey), which is beautifully situated, has been wholly rebuilt (1856), the only ancient feature being the shaft of the churchyard cross. In the parish is St Audries, the seat of Sir A.F. Acland Hood.
Queen Charlton, a small village 2 m. S.W. of Keynsham, with the abbey of which it once had an intimate connection. A fine Norm. doorway, built into a garden wall, was originally the gateway of the abbey court-house. The church has a central Norm, tower, but is otherwise without interest. A Dec. arcade, now blocked, seems at one time to have divided the sanctuary from some demolished chantry. The base and shaft of a cross ornament the village green.
Raddington, a village on the border of Devonshire, 2 m. N. of Venn Cross Station. The church contains a good panelled oak roof and a fine screen. In the chancel is a mutilated piscina.
RADSTOCK, a small town 8-1/2 m. S.W. from Bath, with two stations close together in the centre of the main street. It possibly derives its name from its proximity to the Fosse Way. It is now the metropolis of the Somerset coalfield. It is a rather disconnected sort of place, lying in a deep valley surrounded by coal-pits, and throwing out long rows of workmen's cottages up the hillsides. The church, originally a small building (as the rood-stair on the S. wall indicates), has been restored and enlarged out of all recognition. A curious bas-relief, with the Crucifixion on one side and the Virgin and Child on the other, has been built into the E. wall of the S. porch. Within the church is a heavy Norm. font and a mutilated piscina.
Redlynch, a small hamlet 1-1/2 m. S.E. from Bruton. The church is without interest. Redlynch Park is the seat of the Earl of Ilchester.
Rimpton, a village 3/4 m. S.E. of Marston Magna Station. It has a pretty church, cruciform in plan, with a chancel of E.E. or Dec. origin. There is a niche for a stoup inside the S. door, and piscinas in the chancel and S. transept. The pulpit is Jacobean, whilst some of the carved bench-ends date from the 15th or 16th cent., and bear the Tudor rose. Note the squint and ancient font.
Road, a village on the borders of Wiltshire, 4 m. N.N.E. from Frome. The church has a heavy embattled tower, from the top of which Charles II. is said to have reconnoitred the surrounding country after his hurried flight from Worcester. The interior is disappointing. There is an empty canopied recess in the S. aisle, and a piscina in the chancel.
Rodden, a small parish 1-1/2 m. E. from Frome. There is no village. The church stands in a farmyard, and has to be reached by crossing the fields. It is a quaint little pseudo-Perp. structure with a toy tower, built 1640.
Rowberrow, 2-1/2 m. E. from Winscombe or Sandford Stations, is a parish which was once the centre of a mining district, but the mines are now disused. Its little church lies under Dolbury Camp. Above the S. porch is a stone with interlaced carving.
Ruborough Camp. See Broomfield.
Ruishton, a village 3 m. E. of Taunton. Its church has a massive tower, with double belfry windows and prominent buttresses, but the absence of parapet and pinnacles gives it an unfinished appearance. Traces of Norm. architecture remain in the S. porch, and there is some Dec. work, in the S. chapel, but the nave is Perp. The font is richly carved. A poor painting—the Adoration of the Magi—which is supposed to be Flemish, forms an altarpiece. In the churchyard is the base of a large cross.
Runnington, a village 1 m. N.W. of Wellington. Its church is a characterless little building at the bottom of a lane. It retains its rood stairway.
St Catherine, a parish 4 m. N.E. of Bath. It is reached by a road from Batheaston (2 m.), through a very pretty valley (where the road forks, turn to the L.), and has much that is interesting. Portions of the church are late Norm. or E.E. (note the tower and chancel arches, and the fine font, with its variety of mouldings); but it was rebuilt by Prior Cantlow of Bath in the 15th cent. The beautiful E. window, with its stained glass, bearing a Latin inscription, is of that date, and so is the carved pulpit, the colours of which are believed to reproduce the original. There is a monument, with figures, to William Blanchard and his wife (1631), N. of the chancel. Note, too, the roof of the choir, and the ancient glass in the S. windows. Near the church is a cruciform tithe barn. The Grange, close by, is also the work of Prior Cantlow; but the porch is a later addition, of Jacobean times.
St Decuman's. See Watchet.
St Michael Church, a small parish 1 m. N. of Durston. Its church is correspondingly small, with a low N. tower surmounted by a pyramidal roof. It contains one or two monuments of the Slade family.
Saltford, a large village (with station) 6 m. W.N.W. of Bath, situated on the Avon. Its church, restored in 1851, is without interest, though it has a good Norm. font, with roughly carved heads below the bowl.
Sampford Arundel, a small village 2-3/4 m. S.W. of Wellington. Its church, in which nave and aisles are covered by a single roof, has a curious bit of sculpture (hands holding a heart) inserted in the N. wall.
Sampford Brett, 1 m. S.E. of Williton, a village deriving its name from the family of Brett, one of whose members took part in the murder of Thomas a Becket. The church is cruciform, but the plan is obscured by the position of the tower and a chapel on the S. side. The only objects of interest are (1) the carved seat ends, one of which has the figure of a lady (supposed to be Florence Windham, of whom it is related that she was buried when in a trance, from which she was awakened by the sexton, who opened her coffin in order to steal her rings), (2) the effigy of a mailed warrior (in the vestry), presumably one of the Bretts.
Seavington St Mary, a small village 3 m. E. from Ilminster, on the road to Ilchester. The church stands by the wayside, a little apart from the village. It is a fairly good specimen of a plain E.E. country church. As examples of the style note (1) S. doorway, (2) chancel arch, comprising two remaining members of a triplet, with squint; (3) lancets in chancel, (4) plain round font. The tower, the internal arch of which is peculiar, has been reconstructed in Perp. times. The sanctuary contains a trefoiled piscina and an aumbry. Inside the church doorway is a bench bearing date 1623; it was originally the parish bier.
Seavington St Michael, a parish 4 m. E. of Ilminster. The church is small, without tower or aisles. It retains two piscinas and an ancient font; and built into the side walls are two boldly carved heads (perhaps originally supports of the Lenten veil). Outside, exposed to the weather, is the effigy of a woman.
Selworthy, a charming village 4 m. W. of Minehead, on the road to Porlock. It is best reached from Holnicote, along a pleasant shady lane, 1/2 m. long. There is much to repay the visitor. The church (Perp.) has a curious pew over the S. porch, and the S. aisle (rebuilt in 1490) has a very good roof. The mouldings of the arcade piers should be observed, and two of the capitals have the Devonshire foliage. Note, too (1) piscinas in the chancel and S. aisle, (2) fragments of early glass in the E. window of the N. aisle, (3) some 16th and 17th-cent. brasses. On the road to the church is a 15th-cent. tithe-barn; whilst W. of the church, lying in a hollow, are some interesting almhouses, known as "Selworthy Green." Selworthy Beacon, rising above the village, is 1014 ft. above the sea.
Shapwick, a village 4-1/2 m. W. of Glastonbury, situated on the Poldens. Its church has a central tower (no transepts) supported on E.E. arches. There are piscinas in the S. and N. walls of the aisles, and a large mural monument of the 17th cent.; otherwise it contains nothing of interest.
Shepton Beauchamp, a village 4 m. N.E. of Ilminster, and about the same distance S.W. of Martock. The church has a fair tower, which (like that of Hinton St George) is lighted by a single large window, common to the belfry stage and the stage below. The W. face has in a niche the figure of a bishop or a mitred abbot; the S. side has St Michael. The tower arch is panelled and the vault groined. The arcade has pointed, chamfered arches, supported on octagonal pillars, and there is a small clerestory. The massive character of one of the piers of the arcade suggests that the church originally had a central tower. The chancel has a Dec. E. window (restored), a piscina, and triple sedilia, E.E. There is also a piscina in the N. chapel. The font is ancient. There is an old Perp. house opposite the church, now used as an institute.
SHEPTON MALLET, a market town of 5238 inhabitants, on the S.E. slope of the Mendips, 5 m. E. from Wells. It has two railway stations, one (S. & D.) putting it in touch with Bath and Templecombe, the other (G.W.R.) with Wells and Frome. The ancient Fosse Way skirts the town on the E. It is a place of some antiquity, deriving its name from its former connection with the Mallets of Curry Mallet, and has had a career of respectable commercial mediocrity. Cloth, crape, and knitted stockings once formed its staple trade; but its present prosperity rests chiefly on beer, a gigantic brewery being now its principal business institution. The town has few attractions for the casual visitor, for the streets are narrow and inconvenient without being venerable. It possesses, however, a remarkably fine late 15th-cent. hexagonal market-cross, crowned with a very graceful spirelet: note brass on one of the piers to Walter Buckland and Agnes, his wife. The church has a good W. Perp. tower (spoilt by the stump of a spire), which has served probably as the model for some of its neighbours (e.g., Cranmore). The interior, originally E.E., was never handsome, and has been ruined artistically by the erection of some huge aisles, with galleries, which have absorbed the transepts. The wooden roof to the nave is, however, the most splendid in the county. It contains 350 panels, each displaying a different device. Note (1) E.E. chancel and transeptal arches, and arcade of nave; (2) fine 15th-cent. stone pulpit, (3) double pillar piscinas, E.E.; (4) effigies of knights in armour, supposed to be Mallets, stowed away on the window sills; (5) organ chamber, once a double-floored vestry; (6) old font and good brass to Wm. and Joan Strode of Barrington, beneath tower. The proximity of the town to the Fosse Way has led to the unearthing of several Roman remains, which may be inspected in the museum near the church. The foundations of a Roman brick-kiln were discovered on the site of the brewery. A few old houses—the relics of the old cloth-working days—may be found amongst the crowd of cottages on the banks of the stream. The road to Wells runs through a beautiful valley, which, by some sinister inspiration, has been chosen as the site of the town sewage works.
Shepton Montague, a village 2 m. S. from Bruton. The church stands by the side of the railway some distance away from the houses. It is a Perp. building, with a tower on the S. side (cp. Stanton Drew). The interior contains piscinas in chancel and on S. wall, and a circular Norm. font. In the churchyard is the base of a cross.
Shipham, a village on the Mendips 2 m. E. from Winscombe (G.W.R.). The church is modern.
Skilgate, a village 5 m. E. from Dulverton. The church has been rebuilt (1872).
Solsbury Hill. See Batheaston.
SOMERTON, a small town of nearly 2000 people, 7 m. S. of Glastonbury, with a station on the G.W.R. loop line from Castle Cary to Langport. Though centrally situated and occupying a prominent position on high ground, Somerton has all the appearance of a town which the world has forgotten. An air of placid decadence hangs about its old-fashioned streets, and few would guess that here was once the capital of the Somersaetas, the Saxon tribe from which Somerset derives its name. Beyond its possession of a small shirt and collar factory it has no pretensions to modern importance, and it has evidently done its best to cover up its traces of ancient dignity. Its castle has long ago been absorbed by the "White Hart" (the thickness of its walls in one place is very noticeable). A market cross of 1673, with an open arcade, still stands as the memorial of its former merchandise. The church is a good, dignified building, with one or two features of interest, notably a splendid panelled roof, which will repay inspection. An octagonal tower with a square E.E. chapel beneath it stands at the E. end of the S. aisle. The rest of the church (with the exception of the chancel, clerestory, and upper part of tower) is Dec. Within are a few old bench-ends, a dated pulpit (1615) and altar (1626), and a somewhat incongruous reredos, which is said to have been originally a screen. Note (1) in the N. chapel, 17th-cent. brass; (2) in S. chapel, effigy of female ascribed to the 11th cent.; (3) early piscina. In the wall of porch is a recess which might be either a niche or a stoup. After the Battle of Sedgemoor the key of the church (it is related) was turned upon a batch of rebel prisoners, who relieved the tedium of their captivity by playing ball. Some of their balls are said to have been found in the roof during repairs. A good view of the surrounding country is obtained from the road to Langport.
Sparkford, a village 7 m. N. from Yeovil, with a station on the G.W.R. line to Weymouth. This is the nearest station for Cadbury Camp. The church, with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt in 1824, in the sham Gothic of the day. It is of interest only to the bell-hunter. It possesses a pre-Reformation bell with an inscription, Caterina, ora pro nobisi. Sparkford Hall stands in a park bordering the Ilchester road.
Spaxton, a village 5 m. W. of Bridgwater. Its church possesses several features of interest. Though mainly Perp., it retains two Dec. windows in the N. wall, and the E. window has plate tracery, though this may not be original. Some of the pillars of the arcade exhibit the Devonshire foliage. Note (1) in the chancel, the fine 14th-cent. tomb, supporting two effigies in exceptionally good preservation—possibly one of the Hulles (or Hills), who possessed the manor in the 14th and 15th cents.; (2) carved seat ends, one representing a fuller at his work (cloth was formerly much made in the W.), and others bearing the dates 1536 and 1561; (3) ancient alms-box, with its three locks; (4) in the churchyard, a fine cross, with the rood carved on two sides of the head (very rare), and a figure on each of the others. Near the church are some ancient buildings (now a farm).
Standerwick. See Beckington.
Stanton Drew, a village 1-1/2 m. W. from Pensford Station. In summer a conveyance meets some of the trains to carry visitors to the site of the Somerset Stonehenge, for which the village is famous. There is a more direct footpath across the fields. En route should be observed, on a spur of the hill to the R., a large tumulus, Maes Knoll. One of the curiosities of the place is Hautville's Quoit, which, to save time, should also be looked for on approaching the village. (Enter iron gate on L. a few hundred yards before reaching tollhouse, and search backwards along the hedge bordering road.) It is a large stone, which legend says was hurled by Sir J. Hautville (whose effigy is in Chew Magna Church) from the top of Maes Knoll. The famous "druidical remains" will be found near the church. About 50 yards from the entrance to the churchyard take a lane to the L. leading to an orchard: the stones will be observed in the field beyond (admission free, but field closed on Sundays). The "remains" consist of three contiguous circles. The first is of considerable area, and is marked out by twelve large stones, only three of which remain upright; a smaller circle of eight stones lies just beyond; and a third circle of eight will be found farther away in an orchard on the R. The two larger circles have each a few scattered stones thrown off as a kind of avenue. Standing apart from the circles is a curious group of three stones huddled together in a garden abutting on the churchyard, from which they can be easily seen by looking over the W. boundary wall. These mystic rings probably had the same origin (whatever that may have been) as that of the more famous circle at Avebury in Wiltshire, with which they should be compared. The proximity of Maes Knoll is comparable with that of Silbury Hill. A ridiculous theory suggests that the monoliths were erected as a trophy after one of Arthur's victories. The country story is that a local wedding once took place on a Sunday, when the frivolous guests would insist on winding up with a dance. The penalty for a "Sabbath" thus "profaned" was the prompt transformation of the bridal party into stone. Hence the local appellation of "The fiddlers and the maids." The church is of very secondary interest: there is nothing in it calling for detailed notice. But the fine mediaeval rectory should be observed. It stands near the bridge at the entrance of the village, and bears the arms of its builder, Bishop Beckington. The farm near the church has an ecclesiastical-looking window and some carved finials.
Stanton Prior, a small and secluded village 6 m. W.S.W. of Bath, situated at the bottom of a lane a little to the E. of the Wells and Keynsham Road. The church contains on N. wall a quaint memorial to some member of the Cox family (1644-50). Some figures in Puritan costume are carved in high relief, kneeling beside a bier. Note in porch (1) stoup and recess at side of doorway, (2) in jamb of doorway within, an earlier stoup, (3) Dec. tabernacle. Facing the village is the wooded hill of Stantonbury (to be distinguished from its barer neighbour Wynbury). The summit contains a fine camp of considerable area, and commands a remarkable prospect. (Take lane to Corston, turn into a field adjoining an orchard on L., and ascend). The view from the far side of the camp is striking. Bath and Keynsham lie near at hand; on the N.W. are Dundry and the factory chimneys of Bristol, and in the distance the Monmouthshire hills; to the S. is Stanton Prior in the foreground, and beyond, the long line of the Mendips stretching away to the R.; whilst on the L. may be discerned the Wiltshire Downs and Alfred's Tower at Stourton.
Staple Fitzpaine, a parish 5-1/2 m. S.E. of Taunton. Its church is distinguished for an exceptionally beautiful W. tower. Though it is not lofty, its decoration is unusually rich. It has double windows in the belfry stage, and the single windows in the stage below are flanked with niches; whilst the summit is crowned with pierced battlements and graceful crocketed pinnacles. The S. door is Norm., with rather uncommon mouldings. The interior is of less interest: it contains a small screen. The cross in the churchyard has a modern head, elaborately carved with figures and scenes.
Staplegrove, a parish which is virtually a suburb of Taunton. Of the church the only ancient part is the tower (on the S. side). The rest of the fabric has undergone restoration, though it retains a hagioscope and two piscinas.
Stavordale, a small hamlet 3-1/2 m. N.E. of Wincanton. Here an Augustinian priory was founded in 1263 by R. Lovel, the existing conventual church being built in 1443. The remains are now converted into a private residence. The shell of the church is intact, and a small bell-cot will be seen marking the division between the chancel and the nave. The roof of the chancel is unusually flat. On the N. is a projecting chapel containing a fan-traceried roof of considerable merit, but the interior of the building is not now on view.
Stawell, a parish 3-1/2 m. S.W. of Edington Station. Its church (restored in 1874) has a low gabled tower, and once had an aisle, the piers of the arcade being still visible; but it has been restored, and its early features lost.
Stawley, a village on the Tone, 3 m. S.E. of Venn Cross station. The church is a small E.E. building with a W. tower, on the face of which is a series of twelve panels bearing the inscription, Pray for the souls of Henry Hine and Agnes his wyffe, A.D. 1522.
Stockland Bristol, which derives its name from the fact that it formed part of the endowment of Gaunt's Hospital, in Bristol, is a parish 7 m. N.W. from Bridgwater. Its church has been entirely rebuilt (1865), but retains its Perp. font.
Stocklinch, a village 2-1/2 m. N.E. of Ilminster. Its small church has no tower. The E. window is Dec.; there is a sun-dial of 1612, and an ancient font.
Stogumber, 5 m. S. by E. of Watchet, with a station about a mile away. It is a large village at the foot of the Brendons, and preserves in its name the memory of its Norman lord, Stogumber being a corruption of Stoke Gomer (cp. Stogursey). A spring on the hillside has medicinal qualities, and the water is used for brewing a particular kind of ale. The church, in the main Perp., is an interesting structure, with a tower at the S.W. corner. The tower arches, pointed and recessed, are supported on chamfered piers without capitals, and two piers of the S. arcade have only rude capitals, and are constructed of different stone from other parts of the church. They are presumably much older than the rest of the building. There are two porches and two chapels, the N. chapel having been built by Cardinal Beaufort, whose manor-house (Halsway) is at the foot of the Quantocks (see Bicknoller). Note (1) the squint, passing through two piers (very exceptional); (2) the seat-ends, one with arms and motto, Tyme tryeth troth; (3) the tomb of Sir George Sydenham (d. 1664), with his two wives beside him, and three infants (swaddled) and their nurse at his feet; (4) the brass on the N. wall to Margery Windham (d. 1585). On the exterior of the building there are some very good animal gargoyles, and two curious figures on the gables of the S. chapel. The churchyard cross is modern. Combe Sydenham, 2 m. away, was the seat of the Sydenham family, one of whose members became the wife of Sir Francis Drake.
Stogursey or Stoke Courcy, a village 9 m. N.W. of Bridgwater. It derives its name from the Norman family of De Courcy, and is a place of much interest. Its spacious church, originally cruciform in plan, with a central tower surmounted by a lead-covered spire of disproportionate size, is remarkable for its series of Norm. arches (in parts restored) which lead into the chancel, transepts, and chapels. The pier-capitals exhibit great variety of carving, some having rough volutes of a classical type, whilst several of the arches have the "tooth" ornament. The font is also Norm. The body of the church dates from the 15th cent. The W. window deserves notice, the upper lights representing the six days of creation, with Our Lord as Creator. The N. transept was dedicated to St Erasmus, the S. to "Our Lady of Pity." The chapel of the latter contains two tombs (1) of Sir Ralph Verney (d. 1352); (2) of Sir John Verney (d. 1461): note on the shield of the second the ferns or "verns." Other features of interest in the church are (1) the three piscinas, (2) carved seat-ends, (3) chamber over vestry, (4) door leading from S. transept to neighbouring Priory. Of this Priory (which was attached to the Benedictine Abbey of Lonlay, in Normandy) all that remains is the dove-cot, the circular building in the farmyard near the church.
The De Courcys had a castle here, of which there are a few fragmentary remains, including the base of two round towers. In the course of its history it underwent many changes of ownership, finally passing into the hands of 1457, during the Wars of the Roses, by Lord Bonville, brother-in-law of the Earl of Warwick.
In the village street is the base of an ancient cross; whilst a bell on some alms-houses, which rings at six every morning and evening, is said to date from the reign of Henry V.
Stoke, East (or Stoke-sub-Hamdon), 1-1/2 m. W. from Montacute. It has a remarkably interesting church, exhibiting an exceptional combination of various styles of architecture. At present it is cruciform in plan, with a tower on the N. (cp. Tintinhull) the basement of which constitutes the N. transept; but originally it consisted of a Norm. nave and chancel only. Of the Norm. church note (1) N. porch, with quadripartite groining, supported on quaint corbels; (2) N. doorway, with carved tympanum exhibiting the zodiacal figure Sagittarius aiming at a lion, with the Agnus Dei above (King Stephen is said to have assumed Sagittarius on his badge because he obtained the kingdom when the sun was in that sign); (3) S. doorway, now blocked; (4) two very small windows in nave, one displaying outside a rude representation of St Michael and the Dragon; (5) recessed chancel arch; (6) round-headed window in chancel, visible only on the outside; (7) corbels under chancel roof; (8) flat buttresses at W. end; (9) font with cable and lozenge mouldings. To this Norm. building an E.E.N. transept was added, with a tower above (the groining supported on beautifully-carved corbels) which has two lancets on each face. In the Dec. period there was added the S. transept; foliated lancets were inserted in the nave and chancel walls (those in the nave breaking the splays of the Norm. slits); a large window (with reticulated tracery) was placed at the W. end, and a second with flowing tracery introduced into the ribbed chamber over the N. porch. Still later, Perp. windows were inserted in the E. and S. walls. Other noteworthy features are (1) the piscinas, one (double) being under a massive canopy at the S.E. corner of the chancel, a second in the S. transept, and a third (for the rood-loft altar) on the E. pier of the transept; (2) Perp. stone screen under the tower (obviously not in its original position); (3) squints; (4) effigies, one (in the chancel) of a knight under a Renaissance canopy, the other (in the S. transept) of an ecclesiastic; (5) Jacobean pulpit; (6) stand for an hour glass; (7) low side windows in the chancel.