Although there is no record of any earlier Saxon church, it is assume that a wooden church would have been present at the time of the Doomsday book. About 1250 a Norman Church was first built, and would have consisted of a round-ended chancel and a long nave. A hundred years later the early nave was replaced by a longer one in the early English style. At the same time one side of the nave was extended and four pointed arches were introduced to create an aisle. Today there are only a few stones left of the original Norman work, but half of the south wall of the chancel is early English. Three of the 1250 granite pillar capitals still remain, being three feet square with rounded corners, and these are built into the basement of the tower buttresses. Whilst it is believed that there was a Rector in 1154, the true list begins in 1255.

The Present Day Church

The entrance porch, although much restored, dates from the end of the 15th century, whilst the outer arch and the inner doorway are of depressed Tudor style. Inside you will discover some particularly fine arcading, with lively carving at the tops of the pillars. On your left is the exceptional 14/15th century font. Octagonal in shape, each face having a square containing a quatrefoil, with three smaller ones above it. Foliage is carved above and below, and the whole stands on a carved octagonal column. The nearby window shows Israel safely crossing the Red Sea, the baptism of Jesus, and Naaman told by Elisha's messenger to wash in Jordan. Looking East down the church one can appreciate the nave roof, a good example of plastered cradle work dating from the 15th century with fine bosses and the delicately carved wooden cornice of a West Country church of the period. The chancel roof is thought to be a later imitation of cradle work, as the transverse ribs are in short straight lengths, instead of continuous curves.

The stone pulpit is a remarkable treasure, being one of only 70 in the whole country. dating from 1450/1500, it bears five octagonal faces, each being a panel within a carved frame containing a figure beneath an ogee-headed canopy of rich design. In the central panel is hewn in rough relief a Crucifix with St Mary and St John. The remaining faces bear statues of St Peter, St Paul, a Bishop, and a female saint, probably St Mary Magdalena. The original heads of these statues were knocked off in the 1650's at the time of the Puritan domination. They were replaced in the 19th century, although the restorer ignored the female figure and provided four male heads only.


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