At the hamlet of West Stoke is Parsonage Farm, originally a chantry house, where should be noticed the Tudor gateway, the hall, a gabled room surmounted by a bell-cot, and a circular columbarium. The chantry which was served by the priests who resided here, no longer exists.
Above the village is Hamdon Hill, an eminence 426 ft. above sea level. It consists of inferior oolite, which furnishes excellent building stone, and the hill in consequence is honeycombed with quarries. On the summit is a very extensive British camp covering 2O0 acres, part of which was subsequently occupied by the Romans in order to command the ford where the Fosseway (which runs near) crossed the Parrett. The rampart is nearly 3 m. in circumference. Near the N. side of the camp is a hollow called the "Frying-pan," which is thought to have been an amphitheatre; but it looks too small to have served for this.
Stoke, North, a small village 5 m. N.W. of Bath (nearest stat. Kelston, 1-1/2 m.). The church has a low tower originally Norm. The tower arch is round-headed, without mouldings, whilst the chancel arch is pointed and probably rather later than that of the tower. There is a very massive rectangular font, said to be Saxon; note the roughly carved heads at the corners. A very fine view of the neighbourhood may be obtained by proceeding from the village to the Lansdowne golf links.
Stoke Pero a parish on the edge of Exmoor, 3-1/2 m. S. of Porlock. Its little church, with its gable tower, lies under a spur of Dunkery, and is interesting more for its isolated situation than for anything else. It may be reached either by the Horner woods and Cloutsham, or from Porlock by a path that crosses Ley Hill. The wooden N. doorway is ascribed to the 14th cent.
Stoke, Rodney, a village prettily situated at the foot of the Mendips, 5 m. N.W. from Wells (nearest stat. Draycott, 1 m.). Its little Perp. church (St Leonard) is principally noteworthy for a mortuary N. chapel, containing several tombs and monuments of the Rodney family. One of these—that of Sir Thomas Rodney—dates from the 15th cent.; the others are later. Other features which deserve attention are (1) large stoup in N. porch; (2) ancient font (late Norm.), with its cover; (3) screen (1624, given by Sir Edward Rodney whose monument is among those referred to above); (4) carved pulpit.
Stoke St Gregory, a parish 2 m. S. of Athelney Station. It has an interesting church, which, like that of its neighbour North Curry, is cruciform with a central octagonal tower. The oldest parts are E.E. (note in particular the E. windows of the S. transept, of which the piers have E.E. capitals as bases, and the base of the tower). The rest of the building was reconstructed in Perp. times. The figures (of Apostles) on the outside of the tower are modern, though the pedestals are ancient. There is a little ancient glass in one of the N. windows; but the most noteworthy features of the church are the carved Jacobean pulpit, a cupboard in the vestry made from the former reading-desk, and the carved bench ends. The pulpit has five figures in relief which should be compared with similar ones at Thurloxton and North Newton. They represent Time, Faith, Hope, Charity, and (probably) the Virgin and Child. There are also five carved figures on the vestry cupboard, which are possibly the five Wise Virgins. The W. door is closed by a bar inserted in the wall. Note the niched figure in the S. porch. At Slough Farm is an old moated manor house.
Stoke St Mary, a parish 2 m. E. of Thorne Falcon Station. Its church (restored) is prettily situated, but contains nothing to interest the antiquarian.
Stoke St Michael (or Stoke Lane), a compact but uninteresting village, 3 m. N. of Cranmore Station. Its church is an instructive example of architectural depravity, but internally has been much improved. The tower is ancient but poor. About a mile E. of the village are the ruins of a villa once owned by the notorious Duke of Buckingham.
Stoke, South, a parish 2-1/2 m. S. of Bath. The church has a fine Norm. doorway, with carved tympanum and pillars, and zigzag and other mouldings round the arch.
Stoke Trister is a small hamlet of mean appearance, 2 m. E. of Wincanton. It has a modern church (1841).
Ston Easton, a small wayside village, 2-1/2 m. S. of Hallatrow station. The church is an unpretentious little Perp. building, with a rather fine Norm. chancel arch, and has been well restored. Ston Easton House stands in a well-wooded park, and possesses an old carved oak ceiling and an ancient staircase.
Stowell, a very small parish 1 m. W. of Templecombe, which probably gets its name from the spring seen near the church. The church itself was originally built in the 15th cent., but only the tower arch belongs to this date. The nave is quite modern (1834), but it preserves a Norm. font.
Stowey, a parish 2 m. W. of Clutton. It has a small church, noteworthy for the irregularity of its windows (the small one in the S. wall was originally the S. door). It has a 14th cent. font (note the cockle-shell); and an interesting bit of sculpture is built into the exterior N. wall of the chancel. Near it is an incised pair of shears (a woolstaplers' mark). Not far from the church is an old manor house, half of which has been destroyed. Within the parish is Sutton Court (Sir E. Strachey), a house which has historical associations, for here Bishop Hooper found an asylum during the Marian persecution. The mansion is of considerable antiquity, parts of it dating from the reign of Edward II., and others from Tudor times.
Stowey, Nether, a village 9 m. W. from Bridgwater (from which place there is a motor service). It owes its interest to having been the residence of S.T. Coleridge from 1796 to 1798: his cottage, marked by a tablet, is at the end of the village on the Minehead road. Both "Christabel" and "The Ancient Mariner," as well as several of his shorter poems, are said to have been partly written in this neighbourhood. Here he must have entertained Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt, and many others of his literary friends. A movement has been recently started to purchase the cottage for the nation. The church contains nothing of note except a mural tablet in memory of Thomas Poole, described as the friend of "Wordsworth and Davy (i.e. Sir Humphrey), Southey, and Coleridge": his tomb is on the W. side of the S. door. The two painted mitres beneath the roof-beams commemorate two vicars who became bishops (Majendie of Chester and Fisher of Exeter).
Near the church is Stowey Court, a 15th cent. mansion which was garrisoned in the Civil War. There are three fish ponds in the grounds, and a curious summer-house (called the "Gazebo") overlooking the road (cp. Montacute). On Castle hill (take road to left where the highway from Bridgwater forks at the sign-post) are the foundations and ramparts of a castle, the last owner of which, James, Lord Audley, was executed for supporting Perkin Warbeck. The site is worth visiting for the prospect alone.
Stowey, Over, a parish 9 m. W. of Bridgwater, situated on the slopes of the Quantocks. Its church has some carved bench ends of an ordinary type, but otherwise contains little of interest. Quantock Lodge (E.J. Stanley) is in the parish.
Stratton on the Fosse, a village standing (as its name implies) on the old Roman road, 1 m. S.E. from Chilcompton Station. The parish church (ded. to St Vigor) is entirely overshadowed by its Roman neighbour, Downside Abbey. It is a poor little building, with a debased tower; but preserves one or two remnants of Norm. work (e.g. a S. doorway and a fragment of the original apse). Within is a small 15th cent. stone pulpit, and a Norm. font.
Street, a populous village 1 m. S. from Glastonbury Station. It spreads itself at considerable length along the Bridgwater road, and is a busy and stirring place, devoted chiefly to the manufacture of boots and shoes. It also possesses some large lias quarries which have been prolific in fossils. The church is a disappointing building standing well back from the village street, mainly Perp., with a rather poor Dec. chancel; and is made still more depressing by the addition of a very debased modern N. aisle. There is a piscina and double sedilia in the chancel. The village is furnished with a good modern Institute, which contains a large assembly hall and a small museum of local geological specimens.
Stringston, a small village 6 m. E. of Williton. Its little church has a broach spire of red tiles, a great rarity in this part of the country, and retains its piscina and the fragments of a stoup. Its most interesting possession is its cross (14th cent.), with carvings supposed to represent (1) the Crucifixion; (2) the Virgin and Child; (3) a knight; (4) a bishop.
Sutton Bingham, a small parish on the Dorset border, 3-1/2 m. S. from Yeovil, with a station on the L. & S.W. main line. The church is of considerable interest and should be visited. It is a 12th-cent. building standing on rising ground on the farther side of the station, and shows traces of the Norm., E.E., and Dec. styles. It has no tower or projecting bell-cot, but a couple of bells are let into the W. gable. A good Norm. arch, only 6 ft. wide, with zigzag ornament, divides the aisleless nave from the chancel; and other indications of Norm. workmanship are found in the N. porch and in two windows of the nave. The chancel is E.E. and is lighted by lancets. Round the walls and in the splays of the windows are a series of 14th-cent. frescoes, representing the Coronation of the Virgin, and a number of bishops, saints, and virgins. A figure in the splay of the E. window has been carefully erased by some "conscientious objector." Note (1) E.E. piscina in chancel; (2) late Norm. font. In the churchyard is a curious cross, consisting of a headless shaft mounted on a raised slab, seemingly a tombstone.
Sutton, Long, a village 3 m. S. of Somerton, said to have been the quarters of Goring before the Battle of Langport. Its church (Perp.) will repay inspection. The tower is unusually lofty, and has triple belfry windows; but in workmanship it is inferior to most of its class, too much space being left between the windows and the parapet. The most interesting feature of the church is its woodwork. The nave roof is very good, having embattled tie-beams, ornamented with angels, and open Perp. tracery above. There is a rich painted and gilded Perp. screen, with loft carrying the organ, and a highly decorated wooden pulpit of the same period (restored 1868). Note also (1) stoup outside W. door; (2) fine niche in N. porch; (3) piscinas on N. chancel pier and in chancel; (4) blocked squints; (5) sedilia (resembling those at Shepton Beauchamp). In the churchyard is the carved socket of a cross.
Sutton Mallet, a hamlet near the base of the Polden Hills, 4 m. S. of Edington Station. Its church, of "debased" character, is of no interest.
Sutton Montis, a parish 2 m. S.E. of Sparkford, lying under the S. side of Cadbury Hill (hence its name). Its church has a low W. tower, with a massive belfry staircase and a most incongruous "classical" porch attached to the S. door (cp. Queen Camel). Inside is a good Norm. chancel arch, Dec. chancel windows (restored), and a large piscina (restored). One of the bells is of pre-Reformation date.
Swainswick, a village 3 m. N.N.E. of Bath, reached by a lane from the Cheltenham road. Its name is perhaps connected with the Danish chief Swegen (Sweyn); and it was the birthplace of William Prynne (b. 1600). The church has a gable-topped tower, and retains some ancient features. The S. door is Norm. (note the stoup), whilst the tower arch seems E.E. A window in the S. wall has flowing tracery with an ogee moulding. Note (1) in N. chapel a piscina; (2) in chancel a brass (said to have once been on an altar-tomb) of the date 1439.
Swell, a parish 4 m. S.W. of Langport. It has a small Perp. church (very dilapidated) which retains a Norm. door. Note in the interior (1) piscina and niches; (2) fragments of ancient glass; (3) pulpit and reading-desk of 1634.
Tatworth, a parish 2 m. S. of Chard. The church is modern, but a Baptist place of worship, a plain, thatched building at South Chard, is supposed to have been an ancient chapel. It is locally known as St Margaret's, and over the doorway is an empty niche. For a curious custom of holding a sale by candlelight, see under Chedzoy.
TAUNTON, county town on the Tone (whence its name), 163 m. from London, and 44-1/2 S.W. from Bristol; pop. 21,000. A spacious station on the G.W.R. main line, Bristol to Exeter, forms a junction for the Yeovil, Chard, Minehead, and Barnstaple branches. The town is commodious, and its railway facilities make it an excellent centre. The streets are spacious and well-built, and converge upon a triangular market place which is rather spoilt by an ugly market hall in its centre. Though Taunton wears a prosperous and progressive air, it has behind it a very venerable history which is not without a flavour of stirring times. It finds a place in our national annals on four notable occasions. (1) In 710 King Ina of Wessex pushed the West Welsh beyond the Tone and erected a castle at Taunton as a barrier against their return. The site was subsequently fortified afresh by the Normans. (2) In 1497 Perkin Warbeck, in his dash for the throne, seized the town, but fled in terror at the approach of the Royal forces. (3) During the Civil War it was alternately occupied by the Royalists and Parliamentarians, and in 1643 Blake successfully withstood here attacks from Hopton and Goring; and the town was punished at the Restoration for this robust resistance by the demolition of its fortifications and the loss of its charter. (4) In 1685 the sentiments of the place were again enthusiastically "agin the government," and Monmouth was accorded here a royal ovation and was proclaimed king in the market-place. But this coup de theatre was only an introductory farce to the grim tragedy which followed. When Monmouth's hopes of sovereignty were rudely shattered by the melee at Sedgemoor the town was handed over for pacification to the tender mercies of Kirke and the brutal justice of Jeffreys. The rebels got short shrift from both. Kirke, without preliminary inquiry, swung the culprits from the sign-board of his lodgings, and Jeffreys' law was notorious for its despatch. So numerous were the executions that Bishop Ken complained to the king that "the whole diocese was tainted with death." The name Tangier still attaches to the district where Kirke penned his "lambs," and the old "White Hart" (now a shop) at the corner of Fore Street marks the Colonel's own quarters. Jeffreys' lodgings have been demolished, perhaps under the impression that nothing was needed to keep alive the memory of the "Bloody Assize." The ecclesiastical interests of Taunton were from early days associated with the see of Winchester, and the establishment of a priory here early in the 12th cent. was the see's acknowledgment of its obligations. Nothing of this benefaction now remains but the monastic barn near St James's Church.
The parish church of St Mary Magdalene, though far the finest church in Taunton, was originally only a subordinate chapel-of-ease to the monastery. It is a spacious building, noteworthy for its imposing tower and quadruple aisles. Its probable designer was Sir R. Bray, Henry VII.'s architect, and the king is supposed to have contributed to its erection. The present tower is claimed to be a conscientious reproduction of the original fabric, removed in 1858 as dangerous. It is a lofty and ornate structure of four storeys, decorated with a triple tier of double windows, and divided at the stages by bands of quatrefoils. A crown of elaborate tabernacle work—a perfect medley of battlements and pinnacles—forms the cresting. The general design, though highly artificial, is well balanced. Note (1) the stoups on either side of the W. doorway; (2) the carvings (part of the original fabric) in the spandrels above. The S. porch—a very successful and noteworthy feature of the church—is dated 1508, The rest of the building must be nearly contemporaneous. The interior is rich, but somewhat devoid of interest. Note (1) the four aisles—an unusual arrangement, occurring also at Manchester Cathedral and St Michael's, Coventry; (2) the E.E. piers to N. aisle; (3) the fine oak roof of nave; (4) canopied figure (modern) of St Mary Magdalene on one of the nave piers; (5) monument of Robert Gray, with a laudatory and rhyming epitaph in N. wall; (6) figures of apostles between clerestory lights (cp. Bruton). St James's Church has a good tower with turret and spirelet—likewise rebuilt. The interior is well proportioned and gains an air of great spaciousness from an unusually lofty chancel. The most noteworthy feature of the church is its splendid font, richly adorned with figures of apostles and ecclesiastics. The pulpit is dated 1633. Hard by, and in close proximity to the county cricket ground, is the Priory Barn, the only remnant of Taunton's once considerable and wealthy priory: note the windows—perhaps insertions from other fragments of the monastic buildings. The Castle, after centuries of complete neglect, underwent a well-intentioned but unfortunate restoration by Sir B. Hammet, but is now in the appropriate possession of the Somerset Archaeological Society, who have transformed it into a museum. The buildings, as they now stand, include (1) an outer gateway—the Castle Bow—now incorporated with Clarke's Hotel (note the portcullis groove); (2) a rectangular block consisting of Edwardian additions to an original Norm. keep and a great hall (fee for entrance, 2d.). Note (1) the arms of Bishop Langton, of Winchester, and Henry VII. over central gateway; (2) the drum tower (now the committee-room and library) at S.W. corner; (3) the immense thickness of the walls of the keep with its Norm. buttresses, and the lighter superstructure, with its Dec. windows, above; (4) the Great Hall, the scene of the Bloody Assize—a remarkably spacious chamber built by Bishop Horne, 1577. The shelves of the museum are stocked with a large collection of antiquities add natural-history specimens: the case containing the relics from Sedgemoor is of special interest. The exhibition as a whole would gain in point by being confined to objects connected with the county.
Other things worthy of attention in Taunton are (1) the old Grammar School in Corporation Street, now incorporated with the Municipal Buildings, (2) the two fine old houses opposite the Market Hall, (3) Gray's and Pope's alms-houses in East Street, (4) the old thatched alms-houses (originally a lepers' hospital) at the E. extremity of the town, in East Reach, bearing on the wall Abbot Bere's monogram and arms. A visit should be paid to Vivary Park at the end of High Street, a tastefully laid-out public recreation ground on the site of the old monastic fishponds. The Shire Hall, in Shuttern, a somewhat pretentious modern building, contains a number of busts of Somerset worthies. A rough lane striking off to the R. from the Trull road leads to an old Roman causeway crossing a narrow, one-arched bridge locally known as Ramshorn Bridge.
Tellisford, a small village 1 m. S. of Farleigh Hungerford. Its church has a passing likeness to that at Farleigh; it preserves within the porch a stoup and a fair Trans. doorway.
Templecombe (or Abbas Combe), an inconsiderable village at the S.E. extremity of the county, with an important station on the S. & D. and L. & S.W. lines. The church is ancient but uninteresting, and seems to have been considerably altered. It contains a curious E.E. font. The tower is somewhat peculiar, and forms the S. porch. On the rising ground at the S. of the village are the remains of a preceptory of the Knights Templars, founded in the 12th cent. by Serlo Fitz-Odo. From this foundation the place takes its name. A long building, which was perhaps once the refectory, but which is now used as a barn, will be noticed abutting on a farm-house along the road to Milborne Port. In an orchard at the back of the farm are the ruins of a small chapel.
Thorne (or Thorne Coffin), a parish 2-1/2 m. N.W. of Yeovil. Its small church (without a tower) contains nothing of interest except a pulpit of the date 1624 (cp. Chilthorne Domer).
Thorne St Margaret, a village 3 m. W. of Wellington. Its church has been rebuilt, and the only object of interest that it retains is a small brass (affixed to the W. wall) with an inscription in Latin and English, of a punning character, to a person called Worth.
Thornfalcon, a parish 3-1/2 m. E. of Taunton, with a station on the Taunton and Chard line. Its Perp. church preserves some good bench-ends dated 1542. There is a holy-water stoup inside the S. door, and an ancient font. Not far from the church, at a spot where four ways meet, is a roadside cross.
Thurlbear, a parish 3-1/2 m. S.E. of Taunton. It has a small church which is remarkable for having fine Norm. arcades N. and S., it being one of a very small number of churches in the immediate neighbourhood of Taunton that retain much Norm. work. The squint is peculiar, and there is an early font under the belfry.
Thurloxton, a parish half way between Taunton and Bridgwater (lying a little off the main road), and 3 m. N.W. of Durston Station. The small church of St Giles is noteworthy for (1) the carved oak screen, which has rests for books attached to it, (2) the fine oak pulpit (dated 1634), with four figures in relief, three apparently representing Faith, Hope, and Charity (cp. Stoke St Gregory), (3) the W. door, made of one solid block of wood; over the entrance is the date 1500. Observe, too, the piscina and the old tub font.
Tickenham, a village 4 m. E. from Clevedon and 3 m. from Nailsea Station. Its church, dedicated to SS. Quiricus and Julietta, is interesting. The tower (as at Wraxall and Brislington) is characterised by having niches on each face rising above the parapet between the pinnacles, and containing effigies. Externally, there should be observed (1) the square sanctus-bell cot, (2) the E.E. porch. The interior is very plain. The square piers of the arcades have no capitals, and are possibly Norm., though one has at two of its angles small pilasters with carved capitals. The chancel arch is round-headed, probably early Norm., without mouldings. In the N. aisle there are three life-sized effigies (two knights in full armour and a lady), assigned to the 13th cent., and supposed to be members of the Berkeley family. Note (1) font, (2) ancient glass.
A neighbouring farm contains some remains of an old 15th-cent. house, once the residence of the Berkeleys.
Above Tickenham on the N. lies Cadbury Camp, covering about 7 acres. It is protected by double ramparts and ditches, the former consisting of piled limestone fragments, now almost entirely covered with turf. Roman coins have been found within it. The position commands a fine view, both landward and seaward.
Timberscombe, a small wayside village, 3 m. S.W. of Dunster on the Dulverton road. The church (Perp.) has an unimposing tower (rebuilt 1708) with slate pyramidal spire. Within is a small coloured rood-screen resembling that at Carhampton, but with staircase intact. Note (1) piscinas in chancel and aisle, (2) old wooden door to N. entrance, (3) Devonshire foliage on one of the arcade piers (cp. Luccombe). In the churchyard is a restored cross. Half a mile beyond the village is the manor house of Bickham, one wing of which was originally a chapel.
Timsbury, one of the colliery villages near Radstock, 1 m. N.W. from Camerton. Like its neighbour Paulton it stands high, but it is both more attractive and more pleasantly situated, commanding a pretty prospect towards Camerton, which it overlooks. The church was rebuilt in 1826, but the chancel was added later from designs by Sir G. Scott.
Tintinhull (formerly Tyncnell), a village 1-1/2 m. N. from Montacute Station, preserving some old houses and possessing an interesting church. The latter appears to be E.E. with Dec. and Perp. insertions and additions. The massive tower is unusually placed on the N. side, and has in the basement a blocked squint. Features of the church which deserve notice are (1) the S. porch, which has a ribbed roof, and supports on its gable an odd kind of sundial (cp. Middle Chinnock), (2) stone base of rood screen, on which is a mutilated piscina, (3) double piscina (E.E.) in chancel, (4) bench-ends (1511), with the old seats hinged to them, (5) ancient tiles (14th cent.), (6) Jacobean pulpit; (7) brasses, one to John Stone (d. 1416), and another, with effigy, to John Heth (d. 1464). At one end of the churchyard is a gate-post with an inscription; and not far away is the former rectory (now called the Court House). In the village, beneath a magnificent elm, are the ancient stocks.
Tolland, a village 4 m. N. by E. of Wiveliscombe. Its small church contains little of interest, except some ancient tiles and some carved woodwork. In the parish is an old manor house called Gaulden Farm, with a large hall decorated with a fine plaster ceiling, with pendant and cornice, but inspection of it is not easily obtained. James Turberville, Bishop of Exeter, is said to have lived here in seclusion, when deprived of his see in 1559.
Treborough, a small village 6 m. S.W. of Williton. The district is hilly, and the church small.
Trull, a village 2 m. S.W. of Taunton, on the Honiton road. Its church is of no great architectural interest, but is remarkable for its woodwork—rood-screen, pulpit, and seat ends. The screen is very good: note above it the tympanum, projecting below the chancel arch and formerly joined to the rood-loft by an oak addition. The pulpit has five figures in high relief, which seem to represent an apostle, a pope, a cardinal, and two bishops (or perhaps a bishop and a mitred abbot). Among the bench-ends are panels representing figures in a religious procession, including (1) a boy with a cross, (2) a man with a candle, (3) a man with a reliquary, (4) and (5) two ecclesiastics (or perhaps choristers) with books. The artist's name (Simon Warman) and the date of his work (1560) are engraved at the W. end of the N. aisle. There is also some excellent ancient glass in the E. and S. windows of the chancel. In the churchyard, under a tree, are preserved the parish stocks.
Twerton, a populous working-class suburb on the W. side of Bath, with a station on the G.W.R. main line to Bristol. The name of the place (the town at the weir) betrays its Saxon origin, but the only thing known of its early history is that the Bath monks had a cloth mill here. A large clothing factory, which is one of the chief industries of the place, after a fashion perpetuates the tradition. The old village and church lie on the S. side of the railway embankment, and may be found by passing under the station archway. The church has more than once been entirely rebuilt, but still retains a commonplace Perp. tower. A photograph in the vestry shows a curious inscription on one of the battlements. A good Norm. doorway, now built into the N. porch, and a Norm. font, are relics of the original church. Henry Fielding lodged in one of the houses in the village and penned a portion of "Tom Jones" here.
Ubley, a village 2 m. S.E. of Blagdon. The church tower has rather an odd appearance, as in addition to a low spire, it has a prominent stair turret with pyramidal cap. Within, the N. arcade has been pushed out of the perpendicular by the weight of the roof. At the entrance of the S. chapel is a chained copy of Erasmus' Paraphrase of the Gospels, 1522 (cp. Bruton). The pulpit is Jacobean, and the altar bears date 1637. The churchyard is beautifully kept, and a very handsome restored cross stands on a little "green" fronting at the churchyard gate.
Uphill, a village at the mouth of the Axe, 2 m. S. of Weston-super-Mare. It is an unattractive collection of cottages without any present-day interest. Somewhere, however, in the neighbourhood once existed the old Roman seaport of Axium, where the lead dug from the Mendips was shipped for export. The church is early Victorian Gothic, with a new chancel. The old ruined church on the hill is a conspicuous landmark from Weston. It is a Norm. building, altered in Perp. times, with a low central tower. Note (1) the restored Norm. N. doorway; (2) three-faced gargoyle on S. side of tower. Near the church is the shell of a watch-tower. The old Roman road which ran across the Mendips from Old Sarum had its terminus here. Uphill was once notable for a bone cavern, but this has now been destroyed by the encroachments of a quarry. The contents, which included many valuable remains of extinct animals, have been scattered amongst neighbouring museums.
Upton, a village on the Haddeo, 6 m. E.N.E. of Dulverton. The neighbourhood is very picturesque. The church has been removed to a more convenient position at Rainsbury, but the tower of the old fabric, which has been allowed to remain, marks the original site.
Upton Noble, a parish 2-1/2 m. S.W. of Witham Friary. The church has a small gable-roofed tower, and preserves in the E. wall of a S. chapel a defaced crucifix within a nimbus. The font is early.
Vallis, 1 m. N.W. from Frome—a prettily-wooded bottom, through which flows a stream pleasantly margined by a strip of pasture. The vale is sufficiently romantic to make it a favourite trysting-place with the neighbouring townsfolk, but it is being rapidly ruined by extensive quarrying operations. The rocks, however, are geologically of much interest, as upon the edge of the upturned strata of mountain limestone will be noticed horizontal layers of oolite. On the side of the defile is the old manor-house of the Leversedges, now applied to farm purposes. The ruins of the original banqueting-hall (temp. Henry VII.) will repay investigation. The pedestrian should approach the vale from Frome across the Lees, and may either return to the town by following the course of a tributary brook to Egford, or may prolong his walk along the banks of the main stream to Elm and Mells.
Venn Cross, a rural station on the G.W.R. line to Barnstaple. It stands on the very border of the county, and serves a number of neighbouring villages.
Vobster, a small village 2 m. S. of Mells Road Station. Its uncouth name is said to be derived from some Dutch weavers who once worked a mill on the banks of the neighbouring stream. The church is a neat little modern building.
Walton, a village 3 m. S.W. of Glastonbury. The church is modern. At the W. end of it is a thatched 15th cent. parsonage with some ecclesiastical windows, now a farm. From the hill behind the village (marked by a windmill) an excellent view of the full extent of Sedgemoor may be obtained.
Walton-in-Gordano, a village 1 m. N. of Clevedon, very prettily situated near the Channel. Of the church, the only ancient part is the base of the tower (15th cent.), under which a few fragments of carved stones are preserved. The present building is said to be modelled on the style of the old.
Wanstrow, a village 6 m. S.W. of Frome, with a station on the G.W.R. branch to Wells. The church is ancient, but without interest.
Washford, a large hamlet in the parish of Old Cleeve, with a station (on the G.W.R. branch to Minehead) which affords easy access to Cleeve Abbey.
WATCHET, a small port of some 2000 inhabitants, situated on the Bristol Channel. It has always been of some trading importance, as giving access to the valley between the Brendons and Quantocks, and has seen some history. In Saxon times it was more than once raided by the Danes, and on the road to Williton is a spot called "Battle Gore," which may preserve the memory of a fight with the invaders. Its church, St Decuman's, on the way to Williton, is interesting. It has a good tower, with a figure of the saint on the S. face. There is a stoup outside the W. door, and remains of another in the S. porch. It will be seen that the chancel roof is a continuation of that of the nave. In the interior note (1) the group of four bishops, and St George (or St Michael) with the Dragon on some of the arcade piers; (2) the oak roof, pulpit and cornice; (3) the screen (which, however, is mostly modern). There are two chapels, Holy Cross on the S. and St Peter's on the N. The latter is filled with tombs and brasses of the Wyndham family, chiefly 16th and 17th cent. In the churchyard is a restored cross. The farm-house of Kentisford, near the church, was once a manor-house, and preserves the name of St Keyne.
Wayford is a village 3 m. S.W. of Crewkerne Station. Its church occupies an elevated position, and displays several ancient features. Its windows are E.E. or Dec., some having the interior arch foliated. There is a good double piscina under a foliated canopy, and an old octagonal font.
Weare, a large village near the Axe, 3 m. S.W. of Axbridge. It is said to have been a borough in the early part of the 14th cent., sending two members to Parliament. The church has a good tower, rather deficient in height, with triple belfry windows. The treatment of the belfry staircase is unusual, and deserves notice. The interior of the church contains comparatively little of antiquarian interest. In one of the N. windows are some fragments of ancient glass, bearing seemingly the initials of Thomas Beckington. Note (1) piscina and small brass (late 15th cent.) in the sanctuary, (2) square Norm. font, (3) Jacobean pulpit (1617). There is a cross in the churchyard.
Wedmore, a large village 4 m. S. of Cheddar, situated on rising ground, which affords a good view of part of the Mendips and of the hamlets resting upon their slopes. The place is famous as the scene of Guthrum's "chrisom-loosing" after his baptism at Aller, and of his treaty with Alfred (see p. 13). Its church (Perp.) is an interesting building. The tower is central (as at Axbridge, Yatton, etc.), with triple windows in the belfry; and as it has no pinnacles, it presents a very plain outline (cp. Yeovil). The original cruciform plan of the church is disguised by the N. and S. aisles and chapels. The oldest parts are the tower arches and the S. doorway, which are late Trans.; the S. chapel has a Dec. window; the rest of the structure is Perp. Note (1) gallery or parvise over the porch; (2) groined vaulting under tower; (3) wooden roof of N. chapel; (4) sedile, piscina, and squint; (5) fine Jacobean pulpit; (6) mural brasses to Thomas and George Hodges (1583 and 1630). There appear to be traces of a double rood-loft (as at Axbridge and Crewkerne). There is a cross in the churchyard, and a second (with defaced sculptures) in a garden on the L. hand of the Glastonbury road.
At Mudgeley, a hamlet 1-1/2 m. away, King Alfred is believed to have had a palace, and the foundation of walls have been discovered in the course of recent excavations.
WELLINGTON, a market town 7 m. S.W. from Taunton, with a station on the main G.W. line to Exeter. Population, 7283. No one seems to know why the hero of Waterloo chose to immortalise this quiet little west-country town: he does not appear to have had any original connection with it. The reputation of Wellington, made by war, is now maintained by woollens. The town is girdled by large cloth and serge mills. In general appearance the place is not unprepossessing. The streets are wide and airy, and their arrangement compact, but the shops are poor, and create an impression of dullness. The only object of more than passing interest is the Parish Church, inconveniently situated at the E. extremity of the town. It is chiefly remarkable for a good Perp. W. tower, distinguished by the local peculiarity of a stair turret carried up the centre of its S. face. The interior—Perp. throughout, with the exception of an E.E. east window—is lofty, but not particularly impressive, and has an unusually high chancel. The fragments of an elaborately carved reredos which the building once possessed are now in Taunton Museum. There are two monuments of note: (1) fine Jacobean tomb with canopy and effigies of Lord Chief-Justice Popham and wife (1607); (2) defaced effigy of ecclesiastic in recess at E. end of N. chapel. The other features to be observed are (1) old carved reading-desk and pulpit; (2) very fine piscina in chancel; (3) crucifix on mullion of E. window of S. chapel, now obscured by the organ.
The Wellington Monument, a conspicuous landmark on the summit of one of the Blackdowns, is nearly 3 m. S. of the town. It is a triangular column, erected by public subscription to commemorate the Iron Duke, and was originally intended to be surmounted by his statue. The site commands an extensive prospect in the direction of the Quantocks, Brendons, and Exmoor.
Wellow, a largish but somewhat declining village, lying in a valley 6 m. S. from Bath, with a station on the S. & D. line. St Julian's Church is a fine specimen of early Perp. architecture (1372). It is interesting within and imposing without. The tower is severe but dignified, and a good effect is obtained by a small octagonal turret over the rood-loft staircase. The chancel is new (1890). Within note (1) the good bossed and panelled roof, (2) dark oak screen, (3) old benches, (4) the E.E. font attached to one of the pillars and furnished with a book rest, (5) effigy of a priest with an incised chalice on breast (cp. Minehead), (6) piscina on splay of S. sanctuary window. The Hungerford chapel—now filled by an organ—is an interesting little chamber, with a gaily coloured roof and an effigy of some Lady Hungerford under an Elizabethan canopy. At the bottom of a ditch in a cottage garden to the E. of the church is the site of St Julian's well, said to have been the trysting-place of the Hungerford family ghost. A flat stone is now the only indication of this once uncanny fountain. Opposite the school is a grim-looking gabled farmhouse, once a manorial residence of the Hungerfords. It is said to contain an oak room and some fine carving, but the occupants do not encourage visitors. Half a mile to the W. of the village, in a field nearly opposite the cemetery, the foundations of a Roman villa were unearthed in 1685. Four upright stones at the top of the field mark the site, and portions of the tessellated pavement are still said to lie beneath the sod. Another antiquity of great interest will be found in the centre of a sloping field nearly a mile S.S.W. of the village. This is Stoney Littleton, a large Celtic tumulus composed of masonry, but now entirely overgrown with brushwood. The mound is easily observable (call for key at neighbouring farm-house). An inscription at the entrance claims that at a restoration in 1858 everything was replaced as found. A low passage gives access to a number of small chambers constructed of flagstones. Skeletons are said to have been found within when these were first opened.
WELLS, a cathedral city of some 5000 people, 20 m. S.W. from Bath, 20 m. S. from Bristol, 20 m. E. from Bridgewater, 32 m. N.E. from Taunton. Geographically the situation of Wells is fairly central, but it is neither easy of approach by road nor particularly accessible by rail. To reach the city from the N.E. the pedestrian or cyclist has to clamber over the Mendips; and though two railways (S. & D. and G.W.R.) have stations here, the connection is indirect and the service leisurely. Wells has been enthusiastically described as "one of the most beautiful things on earth," and though a cold-blooded visitor may be disposed to cavil at the extravagance of the praise, yet it will be universally admitted that this "city of waters," picturesquely planted at the foot of the hills, with its antiquities mellowed but unimpaired by age, is possessed of peculiar charm. There are other cities with cathedrals, but the ecclesiastical atmosphere of Wells is almost unique. It is a cathedral city pure and simple. It has come down to us from the Middle Ages practically unchanged. Here may be seen the machinery of a great mediaeval ecclesiastical foundation in actual working order. Wells probably owes its immunity from change to the secular character of its church, in consequence of which it escaped the upheaval that overthrew religious houses like its neighbour Glastonbury. Apart from its cathedral life, Wells has had few interests. It is an unenterprising little town. Bishop Goodwin once described it as a place of "little antiquity." It has less history. Its civil annals are short and simple. It gave a loyal welcome to Henry VII. on his return from stamping out Perkin Warbeck's fatuous rebellion; and Monmouth's troops, as an interlude in their inglorious campaign, found uproarious diversion by stabling their horses in the canons' stalls, and holding a wild carousal in the sanctuary. The peculiar interest of Wells lies not only in the cathedral itself, but in its entourage. Secular chapters were communities for the purposes of worship only. They had no "common life." Their only common room was the chapter-house, where they met for the transaction of business. The canons had their own separate establishments, and their residences remain for the most part intact to-day. This secular character was stamped upon the cathedral from the first. King Ina founded it as a secular church, and though Bishop Giso, the last of the Saxon bishops, made an attempt to reconstitute the chapter on "regular" lines, and is said to have actually built a refectory and dormitory, the foundation soon reverted to its original ideals, and the monastic offices were removed as unnecessary. Like most cathedrals, Wells has been the composition of many hands, and is carried out in many different styles. Roughly, the work may be classified as follows: Norm. perhaps even Pre-Norm. font; Trans. Norm. N. porch, nave and transepts: E.E. W. front; Dec. lady chapel and chapter-house, central tower and choir; Perp. W. towers, cloisters, gate-houses, chain gateway, and remains of destroyed cloister chapel. A casual glance will show that the cathedral occupies the centre of a gated close, with deanery and canons' houses to N., and bishop's palace to S. The attention is first arrested, as was no doubt intended, by the view from the spacious green. Here the spectator not only has before him the finest W. front in England, but finds spread out for his study a mediaeval historical picture-book. The statuary is not only designed to enhance the general architectural effect of the building, but is a genuine attempt to teach the unlearned the rudiments of ecclesiastical and secular history. The idea, however, is so artistically carried out that the didactic purpose of the sculpture is completely disguised. Quite in keeping with the usual mediaeval notion, Church and State are regarded as two separate kingdoms, and the events of sacred and profane history are kept distinct. The S. half is assigned to the ecclesiastics, and the N. occupied by the royalties. The figures and medallions have suffered considerably from time and fanaticism, and are too distant to be now easily deciphered. If, however, they are studied from photographs (some of which are exhibited in a photographer's show-case in the Square), their rare grace and workmanship, which caught the eye of Flaxman and secured the admiration of Ruskin, will be at once discerned. This unrivalled facade was the work of Bishop Joceline, brother of Hugh of Lincoln, in 1232, and is in the purest style of E.E. Joceline's design ended on the N. and S. with the string courses above the top groups of statuary. The towers, which add immensely to the general impressiveness of the whole, were an afterthought. They are Perp. work. The S. tower was built by Bishop Harewell in 1366-86, and its fellow did not follow till 1407-24, when it was constructed by the executors of Bishop Bubwith. The latter differs from its companion only in the possession of two canopied niches let into the buttresses. To study the church historically the visitor should enter the N. porch, the oldest part of the present building. It is E.E., but was executed before the style had divested itself of its Norm. traditions (observe the zig-zag ornament). This exceedingly beautiful porch is considered by some to be the gem of the cathedral. Note (1) foliaged weather-moulding, (2) the square bas-reliefs on either side of entrance, (3) deeply-recessed double arcading, (4) sculptured capitals, (5) parvise. If on entering the church the visitor will at once take his stand beneath the central tower, and looking N. and S. down the transepts, E. as far as the throne, and W. to the porch by which he entered, can picture the E. end closed by an apse and the church lighted by narrow lancets, and can further imagine the absence of the organ-screen and the unsightly inverted arches, he will have a very fair idea of what the church looked like when it left the hands of its first builder, Bishop Robert, in 1166. The nave was carried westwards to its present limits in 1174-91 by his successor, Bishop Reginald, and to this Bishop Joceline added the W. front, built the E. cloister, and consecrated the whole edifice in October 1239. The architecture of the nave has been aptly described as "improved Norman." Its peculiarities are assigned to the idiosyncrasies of local builders. The general effect is a certain monotonous severity, and the absence of vaulting shafts gives the building a tunnel-like appearance. The inverted arches are disguised struts inserted in 1338 to prevent the collapse of the central tower. They give, it is true, character to the interior, but their effect is ungainly. Bishop Robert's work can be distinguished from his successor's by the larger stones employed, the transverse tooling (as if done by an adze), and the existence of grotesques in the tympanum of the arches of the triforium. Note in nave (1) humorous figures on capitals of arcade, (2) cinque cento glass in central light of W. window (an importation), (3) the Perp. arches on each side of tower archway, (4) the beautiful chantries, on N. of Bishop Bubwith, on S. of Hugh Sugar (the details will repay study), (5) chapels under W. towers, (6) ugly pulpit, given by Bishop Knight in 1540, (7) above S. arcade, Perp. minstrels' gallery and projecting heads of a king with a falling lad and a bishop with children. They may have been the support of a small organ, but the local wiseacres were accustomed to declare that they were intended as prophecies of the evil days which should befall the church when a king should have a weakling for his heir and Wells should receive as its bishop a married man. These predictions were held to be fulfilled when Henry VIII., whose heir was Edward VI., nominated to the see Bishop Barlow. In N. transept note curious astronomical clock, which strikes the hours by a clumsy representation of a tournament. It was originally constructed for Glastonbury Abbey by P. Lightfoot, one of the monks. In S. transept note (1) vigorous grotesques on capitals, (2) font, perhaps pre-Norm. The visitor should now pay the customary 6d. and seek admission to the choir. Historically, both lady chapel and chapter house preceded the present choir; but the custodian's custom is to show the choir first. As it stands it was the work of Bishop Ralph in 1329-63, who reconstructed Bishop Robert's choir, removed the apse, and extended the building three bays eastwards. Bishop Ralph's contribution to the fabric may be distinguished within by the tall vaulting shafts running up from basement to roof, and without by the flying buttresses. It is a stately example of late Dec. work, verging on exuberance. The furniture of the choir with the exception of the throne (15th cent.), and a few misereres in the second row of stalls, is modern. Note fine old glass in E. window. The lady chapel at the E. is justly considered one of the finest extant examples of the more chaste Dec. style. Its builder was Bishop Drokensford, 1326. The structural design is cunningly contrived. An octagonal chamber is transformed within into a pentagonal apse by the simple device of resting the three western sides on piers, and thus throwing it into one building with the retrochoir, thereby considerably enhancing the general artistic effect. The glass in the windows is ancient, but is merely a medley of fragments. Before examining the Chapter House the visitor should dive through the doorway in the N. choir-aisle, and take a look at the so-called crypt. It is really only the basement of the chapter house, and was used as the cathedral Treasury. It is an octagonal chamber with a low vault supported on cylindrical columns. It now contains an assortment of mediaeval odds and ends, from a fine 14th-cent. wooden door to an urn that once contained a human heart. Note, besides other things, (1) stone lantern, (2) piscina with carved dog and bone. The chapter house is reached by a flight of stone steps leading out of the N. transept aisle (turn to the R.). Note, in passing, the corbels with conventual figures. The Chapter House is an octagonal chamber of spacious dimensions. The walls are indented with a recessed arcade, and carry a bench table. The vaulting springs from single shafts, and is supported in the centre by a massive clustered column. The building is a finely-executed example of geometric Dec., and dates from the episcopate of William de Marchia (1293-1319). Note (1) the excellent tracery of the windows, and the fragments of old glass; (2) carved heads in arcading of wall, (3) double archway of door. Before returning to the nave the visitor should make an examination of the Monuments in the transepts and choir aisles. Their identity will best be discovered from a glance at the plan provided by the verger. Here mention will only be made of the most notable. In S. transept, against S. wall (1) William de Marchia (1319), builder of the chapter house; (2) Viscountess Lisle, with coloured canopy (14th cent.). In Chapel of St Calixtus (1) shrine of Bishop Beckington, unhappily detached from its original position over his tomb; (2) Treasurer Husee (1309); observe panel with representation of the Trinity. In S. choir aisle (1) incised slab (said to be one of the earliest in England) of Bishop Bytton, junior (1274), to touch which was once held to be an infallible remedy for toothache (see grotesque on a capital in S. transept); (2) modern recumbent effigy of Bishop Hervey (d. 1894); (3) Bishop Beckington (1464), with skeleton beneath (cp. Frome); (4) Bishop Harewell (1386), builder of S.W. tower; observe hare at his feet (cp. sugar loaves in Sugar's chantry). In the Chapel of St John the Evangelist—a sort of choir transept—(1) Dean Gunthorpe (1475), builder of the Deanery; observe Dec. piscina in E. wall; (2) Bishop Drokensford (1309-29), builder of the Lady Chapel; (3) shrine of unknown person. In N. choir aisle, Bishop Ralph de Salopia (1363), builder of the choir (possibly removed here from the sanctuary). The effigies of the Saxon bishops in the choir aisles were probably an after-thought of Bishop Joceline, who perhaps thought that this tardy testimonial to the labours of his predecessors would be an effective advertisement of the priority of his see. The labelled stone coffins of Dudoc and Giso are said to have been unearthed within recent memory. In S. transept aisle are (1) Bishop Still (1608); (2) Bishop Kidder, Ken's successor, killed by the fall of the palace chimney-stack during a memorable storm in 1703; (3) against N. wall, Bishop T. Cornish (1513)—a tomb supposed to have been used as an Easter sepulchre (cp. Pilton). The visitor should now inspect the cloisters, and should observe in passing the fine external E.E. doorway ruthlessly obscured by the Perp. vaulting. The cloisters form a covered ambulatory leading from the S. transept to the S.W. corner of the nave. Bishop Joceline, Bishop Bubwith's executors, and Bishop Beckington all seem to have had a hand in their construction; Beckington has stamped his rebus on some of the bosses of the roof. The cathedral library forms an upper storey to the E. cloister, and a corresponding chamber runs the length of the cloister opposite, now used as a choir practising room. Note in E. cloister (1) external lavatories, (2) doorway in E. wall leading to a quiet little burial-ground. This was the site of an additional lady chapel (late Perp.) built by Bishop Stillington (1466-91). It was destroyed at the instigation of Bishop Barlow by Sir John Gates, a fanatical Puritan, the wrecker of the palace hard by. Some fragments of the vaulting are piled up in the cloisters, and a few traces of panelling remain on the exterior face of the doorway. The burial-ground is a good position from which to view the external features of the choir. The high architectural merit of Bishop Ralph's work will be quickly discerned, and due note should be taken of the skilful way in which a structural necessity has been turned to artistic advantage in the erection of the flying buttresses. In the earlier work they exist, but are hidden away as unsightly props beneath the roof of the aisles. Their artistic possibilities having caught the eye of the builder, they are here brought out into the light, and form a very pleasing feature in the general design. The visitor should now return to the cathedral in order to inspect the Vicars' Close, one of the unique features of Wells. The flight of stairs which gives entrance to the chapter-house leads also by a covered bridge—known as the Chain Gate—across the street into the Close, and thus forms a private passage whereby the singers may pass from the church to their quarters. The public have to find their way by returning to the street. Pass under the chain-gate, turn sharply to the left under another archway, and the Close is before you. It is a quaint oblong court closed at one end by the entrance gateway, and at the other by a chapel. On either side is a "quiet range of houses" with picturesque gables and high chimneys. Note the "canting" escutcheons of Swan, Sugar, and Talbot, Beckington's executors, on some of the chimneys. The houses, which were intended as the abode of the college of singing clerks, have been much modernised; but one or two still retain some semblance of their original design. The idea of gathering the singers together into a fraternity was Bishop Ralph's. He provided them with these picturesque dwellings, and gave them the common dining-hall which forms the upper storey of the entrance gateway. This is said to be one of the most beautiful examples of mid-14th-cent. domestic architecture in the country. It was enlarged subsequently by Rich. Pomeroy (temp. Hen. VIII.), and Bishop Beckington's executors are said to have built the chapel at the other end of the Close. Regarded now-a-days as a devotional superfluity by the singers, it has been turned over to the Theological College. The chapel and muniment room above should be inspected, but admission cannot now be obtained to the hall. Before leaving the Cathedral precincts note on the same side of the road as the Vicars' Close (in order, westwards): (1) the Archdeacon's House, now used as the College library, (2) the Deanery—an embattled residence with gatehouse and turrets, built by Dean Gunthorpe, 1472-98 (the imposing character of the building is not discernible from the road, as the real front faces the garden), (3) Browne's Gate, through which the Close is entered from Sadler Street. The remainder of the official residences of the chapter lie to the N. of the Deanery, outside the Close, in a street called the E. Liberty—so named because it lay outside parochial jurisdiction. Though much modernised, they are mostly mediaeval buildings. The path which traverses the Cathedral green enters the Market place by the third of the Close gate-ways—Penniless Porch, where alms are said to have been periodically distributed. This was the work of Beckington; note the prelate's arms on W. face, and rebus (a beacon and tun) on the E. side. Beckington made the city his debtor by giving it a water supply. He tapped the well in the palace garden, which feeds the fountain in the square. Note the quaint method of distributing the overflow.
Next in interest to the Cathedral is the Palace. It is approached either from the cloisters or through another of Beckington's porches, called the Palace Eye. Both entrances give access to the outer court. Within is a second court containing the palace. This inclosure is protected by crenellated walls and surrounded by a moat. These semi-fortifications were erected by Bishop Ralph, who perhaps found that a mitre was as uneasy a headgear as a crown. A gate-house, with a drawbridge commands the entrance. If the porter has not been too worried by tourists a peep may sometimes be obtained at the sacred enclosure. The actual palace forms the E. boundary of what was once a stately quadrangle. The kitchens formed the N. wing, and on the S. was the chapel and hall. The latter is now only a picturesque ruin. The oldest part of the structure has oddly enough been the one to survive. With the exception of the modern upper storey, the existing palace was the work of Bishop Joceline (1206-42). It consists of a groined basement, forming an entrance hall (note chimney piece) and dining hall. Above are the household apartments and a picture gallery, hung with portraits of former occupants of the see. The chapel and the now dismantled great hall on the S. were built by Bishop Burnell (1274-92). The chapel remains intact. It is a fine Dec. building, with groined roof and some good window tracery. Of the hall only the N. and W. walls and some detached turrets now survive. It was originally a chamber of quite majestic proportions, covered by a wooden roof and lighted on either side by some tall 2-light Dec. windows. At the W. end stood the buttery and above it the solar (a "sunny" drawing-room). The palace appears to have been sold by Bishop Barlow to Protector Somerset, and upon the dispersal of Somerset's ill-gotten gains it passed into the hands of Sir J. Gates, who unroofed the building for the sake of its lead and timber. The ruin of the fabric was completed by Dean Burgess (temp. Cromwell), who used it as a quarry for the repair of the Deanery. A kind of poetic justice eventually overtook both these depredators. Gates lost his head and Burgess his liberty. A particularly picturesque bit of the palace is the N. face overlooking the moat. The dead surface of the wall is prettily broken by some projecting oriel windows, the insertion of Bishop Clarke (1523-40). The gardens are delightful, and are watered by St Andrew's well which gushes from its hidden sources to overflow into the moat. A visitor may occasionally enjoy the mild sensation of seeing a bevy of swans ring a bell for their dinner. To the right of the broad public walk which runs along the W. side of the moat is the city recreation ground in which will be noticed the old episcopal barn. It is a good example of a mediaeval granary, and is said to be of the same age as the N.W. tower of the Cathedral. It has an unusual number of buttresses.
It is the misfortune, not the fault, of the subordinate churches of a cathedral city that they arouse but a languid interest in the already surfeited sight-seer. Wells has one other church which merits more than a passing attention. St Cuthbert's is a Perp. building of generous dimensions. It possesses an exceedingly fine tower of the best Somerset type—massive and graceful—belonging to the same class as the towers of Wrington and Evercreech, but spoilt by a want of proportion between the upper and lower stages. The interior of the church is spacious and imposing, and contains a good panelled roof. The E.E. capitals of the piers and some old roof marks suggest that it was originally an E.E. cruciform fabric, altered by Perp. builders, and heightened by the erection of a clerestory. There is documentary evidence that a "public collection" was made in 1561 to repair the havoc caused by the collapse of the central tower. The transeptal chapels were once brilliant with statuary and colour, but the axes and hammers of the image breakers have successfully purged them of their original glory. All that is left for the admiration of the modern visitor are a few gaping recesses and a pile of gathered fragments. Note (1) double transepts, (2) oak pulpit, (3) Dec. window with Jesse altar-piece in S. transept, (3) piscinas, in chancel and S. choir aisle, (5) mutilated figure of knight in ruff and armour at E. end of N. aisle, (6) tomb with figure (1614) under tower. The other antiquities of Wells are (1) Bishop Bubwith's alms-houses in Chamberlain Street (near St Cuthbert's Church)—an eccentric building, containing a number of separate cells, a chapel and a small hall under one roof (note old alms chest in hall, now called the Committee room), (2) some ancient timber-work in the courtyard of the Crown Inn.
Amongst the more interesting walks in the neighbourhood are (1) Arthur's Point, offering a good view of the Glastonbury plain; (2) Tor and Dulcot hills on the Shepton road; (3) Ebbor rocks near Wookey Hole.
Wembdon, a parish 1 m. N.W. of Bridgwater, of which it is virtually a suburb. The church has been restored (after a fire in 1868), and its ancient features have been obliterated. On the S. of the building is an old cross.
Westbury (stat. Lodge Hill), a village on the road between Wells and Axbridge, 4 m. N.W. from the former town. It has an interesting church (ded. to St Lawrence), with a W. tower of the prevailing Perp. type, but supported on a Norm. arch (the flanking columns do not reach the ground). There is also a Norm. door on the N. side, now blocked. In the S. porch note the doors which once led to the parvise or gallery above, and the holy-water stoup. The E. window is Dec., with the interior arch foliated. The S. aisle has a small chapel at the E. end, containing a tomb of George Rodney (d. 1586).
Weston, a parish forming a suburb of Bath. Of its church the only old portion is the tower, with angular buttresses finishing in pinnacles. The nave was rebuilt in 1832.
Weston Bampfylde, a parish 1 m. S. of Sparkford. Its little church has a W. octagonal tower on a square base. Within the building should be noticed (1) the rood staircase, which has been thrown open; (2) the Norm. font with cable mouldings; (3) the two squints.
Weston-in-Gordano, a village 3 m. N.E. of Clevedon, on the Portishead road. Its little church is well worth inspection. The tower (with a pyramidal top) is said to be E.E., and is placed on the S. side of the church (rather an exceptional position in this county). The most interesting features are (1) indications of a gallery over the S. porch (intended to be used by choristers on Palm Sunday); (2) holy water stoup within S. door; (3) curious 13th-cent. stone reading-desk or pulpit in S. wall; (4) "Miserere" seats in the choir, with their quaint carvings (attributed to the 14th cent.); (5) Jacobean oak pulpit; (6) Norm. font; (7) sanctus bell-cot; (8) fine 15th-cent. tomb (with French epitaph) of "Rycharde Persyvale"; (9) piscina in S. wall. There is an altar-tomb in the churchyard, said to belong to a Percival of the time of Richard I.
WESTON-SUPER-MARE, a popular seaside resort on the Bristol Channel, 139 m. from London and 20 m. S.W. from Bristol, with a population of nearly 20,000. A loop thrown from the G.W.R. main line at Worle enables the traveller to reach the place without the inconvenience of changing trains. The town lies in the entrance of a crescent-like indentation which the sea has scooped out of the flats that intervene between the conspicuous promontories of Worle Hill on the N. and Brean Down on the S. The rise of the town has been recent and rapid. A century has transformed it from a mere handful of fishermen's cottages into one of the most popular resorts of the West. The bay faces due W. and commands an uninterrupted view of the Atlantic. Besides this advantageous geographical position, the town possesses all the qualifications of a first-class watering-place except the one essential feature of the water. At ebb tide the sea beats a hasty retreat across the bay, and leaves as its substitute many acres of dimpled mud—a peculiarity which has caused the frivolous to nickname it Weston-super-Mud. But enterprising Weston has turned even this gibe to advantage by claiming that the ozone which exhales from the ooze is one of the chief elements in its salubrity. Moreover the estrangement between the sea and the shore is by no means permanent. At high tides the spray breaks over the esplanade in showers, and under the stimulus of a brisk westerly breeze these demonstrations of the "sad sea waves" are quite lively. Weston's advantages have been exploited to the full by its townspeople. A broad and well-paved esplanade, 2-1/2 m. long, encircles the shore. Two piers are thrust out into the sea—the older one, with twin landing-stages, connects the N. end of the town with the islet of Birnbeck; the new one runs out from the centre of the parade for half a mile across the mud, and is furnished with an elaborate pavilion. Sea-bathing of a sort is occasionally obtainable, and some good public baths supply what in this respect is lacking. A strip of sand at the foot of the esplanade furnishes the children with a somewhat restricted playground. The shops are good, the accommodation plentiful, and in amusements the town can almost vie with Blackpool and Brighton. There are two public parks—Grove Park in the centre of the town, and Clarence Park (more spacious and pleasing) near the Sanatorium. In a mushroom-town like Weston there are naturally not many antiquities. Such "finds" as occasionally come to hand are treasured in a museum attached to the Free Library in the Boulevard. The churches are modern. In the parish church—an ingeniously ugly building—are one or two remnants of an earlier structure. Note (1) font near chancel; (2) representation of Trinity (cp. Binegar, S. Brent, and Yatton) built into interior wall of N. vestry; (3) fantastic glass in E. window. In the churchyard are the remains of a cross. Weston has, however, one antiquity of quite remarkable interest in Worlebury Camp. As viewed from the parade the crest of the hill behind the town will be seen to be crowned with an extensive litter of stones. These are the debris of a primitive fortification. To investigate make for the junction of South Road and Edgehill Street (the old pier), turn down a lane on the L. and ascend a flight of concealed steps at the bottom. The rampart is now largely a confused heap of limestone fragments, but the general plan of it may be easily detected. The camp is confined to the W. extremity of the hill and covers an area of about 10 acres. On the S., or level side, it is defended not only by the main rampart, but by two supplementary walls separated by a fosse. Within the fortification will be found a number of circular pits, some 93 in all. This circumstance gives the camp its peculiarity. From remains of corn and other produce found at the bottom, they are believed to have been receptacles for storage. The pits vary in size, the average diameter being 6 ft. and the depth 5 ft. They were, perhaps, originally protected by some kind. of roof, constructed of wicker-work. Amongst their contents have been found some human remains, many of them showing injuries produced by weapons. The construction of the camp has been assigned to the 3rd cent. B.C. It had three entrances, on the S.E. side, the N.E. corner, and the W. end of the hill. Beyond the camp the hill is traversed by paths, any of which will serve for a pleasant ramble. If the central path through the wood be continued, a descent may be made to Kewstoke or Milton, or a more prolonged walk may be taken to Worle. Weston's most charming walk is, however, to skirt the N. base of Worle Hill and proceed through the woods to Kewstoke, whence Worspring Priory (q.v.) may be visited. (Cycles and carriages pay toll at the lodge, pedestrians free.)
Weston Zoyland, a parish 4 m. E.S.E. of Bridgwater. The village is more closely associated even than its neighbour Chedzoy with the Battle of Sedgmoor, for Feversham, the Royalist general, had his headquarters here; and, after the battle many of the rebels were confined in the church. The church, which, unlike Chedzoy, is mainly Dec. and Perp., is remarkable for its unusually lofty tower (which has triple windows in the belfry). The nave has a good roof, with pendants. The N. transept is noteworthy for being carried above the base of the clerestory. The parish belonged to Glastonbury, and in one of the chancel windows, on one of the seat ends, and on one of the external buttresses of the S. chapel, are the initials R.B. (Richard Bere, the last but one of the abbots). In a recess under the window of the N. transept is the 15th-cent. effigy of a priest. Note (1) the font, with curious hoops; (2) piscinas in N. and S. chapels; (3) old communion table. In the fields between the church and Chedzoy were buried the slain of Sedgemoor.
Whatley, a small village 3 m. W. from Frome. The church is a small Dec. building with a rather dim interior. The W. tower, like the neighbouring church of Frome, carries a spire. There is a plain Norm. doorway within the porch. A projecting chantry chapel on the S. has a squint (note the accommodating bulge in the external wall), and contains an altar tomb with recumbent effigy of Sir Oliver de Servington (1350). Some of the bells are of pre-Reformation date. Amongst the "rude forefathers of the hamlet" sleeps Dean Church, who held the rectory for nineteen years before his promotion to the Deanery of St Paul's. His grave is near the S. wall of the chancel. Observe the small ecclesiastical window in the farn at the back of the church. Whatley House (rebuilt 1861) is on the site of an older mansion. In a neighbouring field is preserved (in situ) a Roman pavement and the ruins of a bath. In the grounds is a cross (restored) removed here from Nunney.
Wheathill, 5 m. S.W. from Castle Cary. The small church has been much restored.
Whitchurch, a village on the main road between Bristol and Shepton Mallet (nearest station Brislington, 2 m.). It has a small (originally cruciform) church, with a low central tower, which is worth inspecting. The tower arches seem to be Trans. and the chancel has three very small lancets. There is a Norm. font, and outside the S. doorway is a stoup.
Whitelackington, a village 1-1/2 m. E.N.E. of Ilminster. Its church is a handsome structure. The tower and body of the building are Perp., but there is Dec. work in the transepts (where note piscinas). In the N. transept is the tomb of Sir George Speke (d. 1637), whilst under a window in the N. aisle are some small inscriptions on metal in memory of Anthonie Poole and his wife Margerie (d. 1587, 1606). In the park of Whitelackington House there formerly stood a splendid chestnut tree, under which Monmouth met a large assemblage of his supporters in 1680.
Whitestaunton, a village 3-1/2 m. N.W. from Chard. As the only approach is by a rough country lane, the place is somewhat inaccessible, but it possesses much antiquarian interest. The church (Perp.) is poor, but contains (1) rood-loft stair and part of a small Perp. screen; (2) early Norm, font; (3) piscina in sill of sanctuary window; (4) some mediaeval tiles near altar, bearing arms of Montacute (according to some, Ferrers) and De Staunton; (5) curious squint, looking towards S. chapel (cp. Mark); (6) a few old bench ends; (7) pewter communion plate; (8) stone screen dividing small N. chantry from chancel; (9) in N. chapel, two tombs with armorial bearings, and a brass (1582) to the Brett family, former lords of the manor. Two of the bells are mediaeval. In the churchyard is the base and shaft of a cross. Close by the church is a manor house, some portions of which date from the 15th cent., but altered in the 16th cent. by John Brett, whose initials are carved on the wainscoting of the dining-room; and in the grounds are the exposed foundations of a Roman villa, discovered in 1882. Beneath an archway is a well, near which, when discovered, were traces of a Roman shrine. Old workings, supposed to be Roman mines, exist in the neighbourhood.
Wick St Lawrence, a parish 2 m. N. of Worle, on the flats near the coast. It has a Perp. church (formerly a chapel of Congresbury), a building of no interest, but containing a fine stone pulpit. Note, too, (1) ancient tub font; (2) carved chairs, with crown and Tudor roses, in sanctuary; (3) remains of inscription at N.E. angle of nave. The S. porch seems once to have had a gallery. Near the church, in the roadway, is a fragment of a fine cross, on an exceptionally high pedestal.
WILLITON, a pleasant little town (with station on the Minehead line), once the abode of Reginald Fitzurse, one of the murderers of Becket. It is rather curious that of the four knights concerned in the murder three were connected with Somerset, viz., Fitzurse, Brito (of Sampford Brett), and Moreville. The church, which is said to have been a chantry chapel founded by Robert Fitzurse, Reginald's brother, has been completely rebuilt; its only antiquities are the W. doorway, the font (1666), a piscina, and two brackets on the E. wall. There are the remains of an old cross in the graveyard, and of a second near the "Egremont Hotel." Past the church the road leads to Orchard Wyndham, a fine manor house.
WINCANTON, a trim-looking little market town in the S.E. corner of the county, with a station on the S. & D. line to Bournemouth, and possessing a population of more than 2000. It consists chiefly of one long street, which descends a steepish declivity into the vale of Blackmoor. The river Cale, from which the town derives its name (Wynd-Caleton) flows at its foot. The history of Wincanton is miscellaneous but unromantic. In 1553 travellers gave the place a wide berth on account of the plague. In the Great Rebellion a Parliamentary garrison used the town as a base of operations against Sherborne Castle. In the Revolution the Prince of Orange (William III.) had here a brisk but successful skirmish with a squad of James's Dragoons. The prince's lodgings are still pointed out in South Street. The town, however, contains no antiquities. It has a modern town hall, and virtually a modern church, for of the original fabric nothing now remains but an unimpressive Dec. tower. The present building is a twin structure. The authorities, apparently disgusted at their predecessors' ideas of reconstruction, have lately replaced the N. aisle by a new church of much better design and proportions. The N. porch of the new building contains a curious mediaeval bas-relief, brought here for preservation.
Winford, a parish 4 m. S.S.E. of Flax Bourton station. Its church possesses a stately tower, but retains no other feature of interest.
Winscombe (with a station) is a parish 2 m. N.W. of Axbridge. Its church, which stands conspicuously on rising ground and commands a fine view, has a graceful tower resembling that of Cheddar, with triple belfry windows. Its chief defect is the shallowness of its buttresses. Note the lily on the stone-work of the central window (cp. Banwell). There is a good parapet along the aisles, and the rood-loft stair has an external turret. Within note (1) wooden roof of N. aisle; (2) ancient glass in E. windows of N. aisle and N. window of chancel; (3) some carved seat-ends; (4) old stone coffin in churchyard.
Winsford, a village on the Exe, 8 m. N. of Dulverton Station. It is a pleasant and picturesque little place, situated in a valley just where the Exe as a tumbling brook emerges from the moors to settle down into a sober stream; and is a favourite meet for the staghounds. The church is a good-sized building, with a gaunt-looking tower, but is of no particular interest. The font, is Norm., and so probably is the round-headed S. doorway. The windows at the E. of the nave are peculiar.
Winsham, a village on the Axe, near the Dorset border, 2-1/2 m. N.N.E. of Chard Junction. Its church, which has been extensively restored, possesses a good central tower (though there are no transepts), with a turret at the S.W. angle. The chancel inclines S. from the axis of the nave. The walls of the nave are older than the present Perp. windows, and traces of an earlier window are still visible on the S. wall. The chancel lights are partly E.E., partly early Dec. Note (1) the small squint; (2)the oak screen with its loft; (3) the monument (1639), on the E. wall of the chancel; (4) the old copy of Foxe's "Book of Martyrs"; (5) the much-defaced painting (on wood) of the Crucifixion (said to date from the 14th cent.), which is now hung on the N. wall under the tower, but was formerly placed above the screen, serving to complete the separation of the sanctuary from the nave. The Crucifixion as a subject for representation on such tympana is said to be rare, the Last Judgment being the one usually selected. Opposite the "George Inn" is the base of an old market cross with a modern shaft.
Witham, or Witham Friary a small village 6 m. S. from Frome, with a station (G.W.R.). Its only present-day interest is its church. Its popular designation preserves its early ecclesiastical associations, though with some degree of "terminological inexactitude." It was a settlement not of Friars but of Monks. Here was established the first of the few Carthusian houses in England, which only number nine in all. It was Henry II.'s gift to the church, in part payment for the murder of Becket. Witham had as one of its earliest priors the celebrated Burgundian, Hugh of Avalon, who afterwards became Bishop of Lincoln. The existing church is perhaps a surviving portion of his work. It is a plain vaulted building of severe simplicity with an apsidal E. end, containing a good E.E. triplet. Opinions differ as to whether the present structure was the monks' church, the choir of the monks' church, or the church of the lay brothers (for in Carthusian houses the clergy and the laymen worshipped in separate buildings). In recent years the church has been extended one bay westward, and a belfry added. Note (1) the curious recess in exterior S. wall of apse; (2) double square piscina in chancel; (3) rood-loft stair; (4) Norm. font, which was once built into the tower erected in 1832. There is also a modern font, which was used before the former one was recovered. The buttresses are copies of those constructed by St Hugh for the chapter-house at Lincoln. The domestic buildings have disappeared; they are supposed to have stood N. of the church. One curious relic of the "common life" of the monks has escaped the hand of the destroyer. This is the dovecot, on the other side of the road, now converted into a village reading-room. The building is of unusual size; but the existence of some of the pigeon-holes puts its original purpose beyond doubt (cp. Hinton Charter-house).
Withiel Florey, a village 7 miles N.E. from Dulverton. The church is a small Perp. building with a low W. tower, to which a partial casing of slate scarcely adds additional beauty.
Withycombe, a village 2-1/2 m. S.E. of Dunster. It has an aisleless church, which contains a few objects of interest: (1) a screen; (2) a font with cable moulding; (3) two effigies, both of females (one with curious turret-like ornaments at the head and foot); (4) a large stoup on the L. hand of the S. door.
Withypool, a village on the Barle, 8 m. N.W. from Dulverton. It is one of the lonely outposts of civilisation on Exmoor. Though picturesquely situated itself, it is best known as a sort of halting-place on the way to the still more romantic neighbourhood of Simonsbath. The church is E.E., but not interesting. The local farmers are said to enjoy four harvests in a year—turf, whortleberries, hay and corn.
WIVELISCOMBE, a market town 6 m. N.W. of Wellington, with a station on the G.W.R. branch to Barnstaple. Population, 1417. It is a dull and uninteresting, but clean and comely little place. Of antiquities it has none, except traces, to the S. of the church, of a bishop's palace, built by John Drokensford in the 14th cent., some windows of which have found their way into neighbouring houses. The church is a tasteless building, erected in 1829, with a showy semi-Italian interior. It has an odd-looking S. aisle, containing a somewhat dilapidated monument, with recumbent effigies of Humphrey Wyndham and wife, 1622-70. In the churchyard is a time-worn cross, with an almost defaced effigy (cp. Fitzhead). In the main street is a modern town hall and market house. The town lies pleasantly in the lap of the surrounding hills, which furnish many a pleasant ramble. A mile from the station, on the way to Milverton, is a British camp, and a Danish camp is said to have existed on the site of a neighbouring mansion. Waterrow is a hamlet a couple of miles to the W. on the Bampton road, lying at the bottom of a picturesque combe, through which flow the beginnings of the Tone.
Woodspring Priory (formerly Worspring, and perhaps containing the same element as Worle) is about 5 m. N. of Weston, and is best reached from Kewstoke, either by the shore as far as Sand Point, or by a lane that leaves (L.) the road to Worle. It was a priory of Austin canons, who were established here in 1210 by William Courtenay, whose mother was the daughter of Reginald Fitzurse, one of the murderers of Thomas a Becker, whose death the foundation was originally meant to expiate. The remains, now used as farm buildings, consist of a church, a chantry, a court-room, and a barn. The church, dedicated to the Trinity, St Mary and St Thomas the Martyr, is approached through a Dec. arch (14th cent.), which leads to an outer court at the W. of the building. On the W. wall, flanked by angle turrets, will be seen the outline of a Perp. window, and three niches with nearly obliterated figures. From this outer court an inner court is reached, having on the N. of it the S. wall of the church (with two large windows), at right angles to which the dormitories extended (the mark of the gable is still visible on the wall). Beyond the E. wall of the court are supposed to have been the chapter-house and the prior's residence. At the E. of the nave of the church is the tower, which was originally central, the chancel having been destroyed. It is 15th-cent. work, but is believed to case an earlier 13th-cent. core. The vault has fan tracery. N. of the church are the remains of the chantry (now a cider cellar), originally founded by Robert Courtenay, father of William, showing on the outside three Perp. windows and buttresses, and containing the shrine of St Thomas of Canterbury, with a ruined piscina on the pier of one of the pillars. S.E. of the church is the court-room (now a cow-house), which is sometimes styled the refectory, but erroneously, since there is no fireplace. It is assigned to the early part of the 15th cent. The barn (14th cent.) has Dec. doorways, rounded buttresses on either side of the main entrance, and remains of finials.
Wookey, a village 2 m. W. from Wells, with a station on the G.W.R. Cheddar branch. The church—chiefly Perp., with a blend of E.E.—is interesting. The tower stair turret carries a lofty spirelet. Note within (1) E.E. columns in N. aisle; (2) squints, especially the one on N., combined with piscina. On the S. side of the sanctuary is a small Perp. chapel decorated with modern frescoes, containing a plain altar-tomb to Thos. Clarke and wife, 1689. In the churchyard is the base of a cross. Near the church is Mellifont Abbey, built on the site of the old rectory, and ornamented with fragments of the original building. The Court, a farm-house in the fields, was once a manorial residence of the Bishops of Bath and Wells. It has an E.E. doorway.
Wookey Hole is a cavern (1-1/2 m. away) which gives its name (said to be a corruption of ogof, Celtic for "cavern") to the village. It is the oldest known cave in Great Britain, and was once inhabited (legend asserts) by an ancient witch. It may be reached either from Wookey Station or, just as easily, from Wells. Proceed through the hamlet to the large paper-mill and inquire at the farm opposite for a guide (fee, 1s. 6d.; 1s. each for two or more). A pathway runs up the L. bank of the stream which feeds the paper-mill, and ends abruptly in a precipitous wall of rock. The stream, which is the source of the Axe, will be seen issuing from a large natural archway at the base of the cliff. An orifice in the rock enables the visitor to descend "Hell's Ladder" to the "witch's kitchen"—a spacious chamber which, when illuminated by the primitive device of igniting the scattered contents of an oil-can, will be seen to contain some large stalagmites, the witch and her dog on guard; and by pursuing a further series of corridors, entry is gained to the witch's "drawing-room" and "parlour." The three caverns are all of considerable extent, and have a strong resemblance to Gough's caves at Cheddar, but are without the pendant stalactites so profusely displayed at the latter. The gallery is 500 ft. long, and ends in a miniature lake. Geologically the series of caverns is of much interest, on account of the varied assortment of bones of extinct cave animals once contained in them. Cartloads of these bones are said to have been thrown on the land as manure. Recently another collection of bones has been discovered in a hitherto unsuspected chamber near the roof of the main series. The visitor to Wookey Hole should extend his peregrinations to Ebbor Rocks, which are close by and are worth a visit.