Wedmore Genealogy Pages
In 1890 I printed and published the Register of Burials from 1561 to 1860. The number of names in it is 12,947, giving a yearly average of 43. Since 1860 there have been 1,542 more burials, giving a yearly average of 41. That makes a total of 14,489 in 338 years, whose names are known. But besides them there lies in the churchyard the great many of those whose names are unknown. Their number may be roughly calculated in this way. We have visible proof that there was a church standing here in the year 1200, i.e., 360 years before the Registers begin. If we set down the yearly average during those 360 years at 20, then they will add 7,200. We have the possibility of a church being here for 300 years before the year 1200, i.e., from the time of King Alfred to whom the Manor or rather the villa, belonged. At a yearly average of 10 that will add 3,000 more.
We need not go back any further than A.D. 900 or thereabouts, because though there were people here then and long before, yet their place and manner of burial would have been different. But it is not unreasonable to calculate that 25,000 may lie in the churchyard, laid there between AD. 900 and 1898, or between 900 and 1900 as we may almost say. The number is great and the space is small, but of course the requirements of the dead are not the requirements of the living. If they were, the world would not be large enough.
There is no possibility of enlarging the churchyard in any direction. Its boundaries are such that they cannot be moved. It might have been enlarged in one direction some years ago when the Manor house changed hands, but the opportunity was allowed to slip, and, as I have already said, if you don't do a thing when you can, it is not likely that you will do it when you can't.
But though the Churchyard cannot be enlarged, yet there are parts of it which might be used more than they have been, so as to relieve those parts which have been used more than they need have been. I do not think that there have been any burials, or hardly any, outside the West-end of the church, between there and the West gate. A part of that ground has only within the last sixty years become a part of the churchyard, having previously been occupied by the Poorhouse, which I think succeeded the Church-house. A church-house and a chantry house, and the cross, and possibly other buildings occupied that ground more or less in early days and well into the last century. A blacksmith's shop belonging to the Church formerly stood near where the West entrance into the churchyard is now. Consequently all that ground has been little used for burials, though I see no reason why it should not be. Space might thus be found for a time to relieve the pressure elsewhere, and thus keep off the necessity for finding a new burial ground altogether. But of course this is now no business of mine.
Six yew trees will be found in the Churchyard, to all of which a date can be given. I always think that when a tree can be dated it adds to its interest.
1.-No. stands outside the South porch. I presume that the following entries in the Church Rate book refer to it. They come under the heading of Mr. Counsell's disbursements about the Church since February 27th, 1728, to this April 30th, 1728.
This tree unintentionally commemorates the year in which George II. came to the throne. The sowing of the oats about its roots was the result of a curious superstition which still lives on. A man told me that when he potted a plant he always put a grain of corn in the pot under it. I asked him why, but he could not tell me. It had never occurred to him. One can imagine people doing these things without thinking much about it, and because they have always seen their elders do it. But one can't imagine how the superstition first begun, and what made the first man do it who had not seen his elders do it. Mr. Castleman was Vicar of Wedmore from 1721 to 1742, having previously been Curate here. He might have given the lugs. I suppose somebody gave the varks, as there is no entry about them.
2.-No. 2 stands in the North-East corner of the churchyard. There used to be a path going through the churchyard and going out at this corner, and across what is now the Manor house kitchen garden into the Cocklake road. The parish very foolishly allowed Mr. John Barrow to stop this path, and this yew tree was planted at the time. I think it was in 1832 or thereabouts. So it commemorates the doing of something that ought not to have been done. Cocklake people ought to have made a fuss if nobody else did.
3.-No. 3 stands on the North side of the church, and was planted (as the stone tells us) on August 7, 1878, by the Bishop, Lord Arthur Hervey, on which day the 1,000th anniversary of the Peace of Wedmore was kept, and the memory of King Alfred was celebrated with great rejoicing.
4.-No. 4 was planted by my father on August 18, 1887, to commemorate the fifty years of Queen Victoria's reign.
5.-No. 5 was planted by the two Portreeves of the Borough of Wedmore on July 6, 1893 to commemorate the wedding of the Duke of York. It also marks the spot where in March, 1853, a crock was found containing more than two hundred coins of the reigns of Ethelred, Canute and Harold. These coins were silver pennies. Ethelred, great-great-grandson of King Alfred, reigned from 979 to 1016. Canute was one of the Danish kings of England; he married Ethelred's widow and reigned from 1016 to 1035. Harold his son reigned from 1035 to 1040. It is clear that the coins must have been buried for safety-sake at some time between 1035 and 1040, or at any rate very soon after 1040, because there were no coins of Edward the Confessor among them. Edward the Confessor was the son of Ethelred and succeeded Harold. The two Danish kings, Canute and Harold, pushed themselves in between him and his father. The man who buried them was probably killed and so his secret died with him. Eight hundred years went by and then his secret was accidentally made known. The coins could not have been buried very deep, as they were found in the course of merely widening the path. I believe Mr. Kempthorne, my predecessor, gave information of the discovery to the Treasury, who promptly claimed them and secured them. The British Museum kept as many as it wanted. The finder, Tucker Coles, received a sum of money with which he went to America. I believe he was killed in the American civil war.
A few years ago the late Tom Wall brought me a small. silver coin which he found in digging a grave not far from yew tree No. 2. This coin had the image and superscription of King Ethelbert, who was the second of four brothers who were all in turn kings. Alfred the Great was the youngest of them. The coin is very thin and brittle, but in spite of its 1040 years is as little worn as on the day when it came from the Mint. One would like to know where and how those 1040 years have all been spent by it. Tom Wall had a marvellously quick eye for seeing anything and generally brought me what he found. On another occasion he brought me a Roman brass coin which he found in sinking a well at Chapel Allerton, I think near the road between Allerton Church and Mark. This coin bore the image and superscription of Vespasian, who was Emperor of Rome from A.D. 69 to 79. One would like to know how it had spent the 1800 years of its existence. Another time he brought me a very worn coin which he said he found in a lane "where the war was." As far as I could make out this was Quob, not our Quob, but a Quob near Allerton. Tom Wall told me that once a boy fell from the top of the tower of East Brent Church. His head made a hole where it struck the ground in the churchyard, and that hole can't be filled up. They may empty a barrow full of earth into it one day, but the next day the hole will be there as before, and it is there now.
6.-No. 6 was planted by Mr. J. C. Smith as Chairman of the Parish Council on June 22, 1897, to commemorate the 60 years of Queen Victoria's reign.
It needs no study of books but only a pair of open eyes to see that there are three kinds of crosses which were set up in former days, viz., Wayside crosses, Market crosses and Churchyard crosses, each kind of cross having a different object and origin. And in this parish we have an instance of each kind.
1.-At the point where the two hamlets of Stoughton and Crickham meet and where two ways cross each other there stands Stoughton Cross. This is a wayside cross, and I imagine that the object of wayside crosses was to provide wayfarers with a place for prayer as they passed along. This shows that the two ways which here cross each other are ancient ways. The spot is rather more than a mile from Wedmore Church. The cross belongs to the 15th century.
It occurred to me for a moment whether this cross-might not have something to do with the first syllable of Crickham, i.e., whether Crickham might not have got its name from the cross. Because cricket, crook, crooked, crutch, cross and others form a group of words that are allied and related to each other, like a lot of cousins. They have a look that is common to them, as cousins have a likeness of face; they have a meaning that is common to them, as cousins have a likeness of character; they have a common source or root as cousins have a common grandfather or great-grandfather. Something of the nature of a bend or curve is common to all those words. Crook's Peak on the Mendips is probably so called because it is a bent peak. Cricket was so called because originally it was played with a curved stick. And so on. Therefore, seeing Crickham very like cricket, and seeing a cross standing on the boundary of Crickham, and knowing that crick and cross are etymologically related to each other, it naturally occurred to one to ask, Did Crickham get its name from the cross? The question was worth asking, though I think the answer is, No. I still think that the explanation that I gave of Crickham 14 years ago (Vol. I. p. 198) is the right one, viz., that it is called from the creek or bend in the hill. But it is curious that creek is another of the group of cousins that are connected with cross. But this is wandering terribly from the church which is more than a mile off. We have no business to be at Crickham at all.
2.-In that part of Wedmore which is called the Borough is a cross which I take to be an example of a market cross. It stands in the garden of a house which was the market house. I have always been meaning to rout out the history of that house, but somehow have never done so. Its history would tell us a good many things. An additional reason for routing out its history is that (rightly or wrongly) Judge Jeffreys is said to have lodged there when he came down to hold an Assize after the Monmouth Rebellion. I presume that the original object of a market cross would be that men should be reminded of their Christian calling while engaged in buying and selling. It was hoped, I suppose, that if they stood near a cross as they dealt with one another, it would make them deal more honestly and honourably. Mr. Pooley gives illustrations of this cross in his book on Somerset crosses, and calls it late 14th century work.
3.-In the churchyard is a Churchyard cross. The object of the other two kinds of crosses, the one for wayfarers and the other for buyers and sellers, is easy to imagine. But I was a little bit puzzled when I came to consider what might be the object and origin of a Churchyard cross. What could you want the cross to do when you had the church itself standing there? I mentioned the matter to someone who had considerable knowledge of the ways of our early forefathers, and he said that often before ever a church had been built in a place there had been a cross or preaching station there, and that when afterwards a church was built on the spot they may have kept up the cross, replacing it from time to time. Although the cross lost its original use as soon as the church was set up, yet they may have kept it up as a sort of memorial. In that case the Churchyard cross, when it has been left alone, not moved but only renewed, may mark the exact spot where stood the feet of those who first preached the Gospel of peace in the place. The original cross may have gone, but its successor may mark the spot. It is a great pity when things are not left alone to tell their story. It is a great pity that about fifty or sixty years ago they thought good here to move the Churchyard cross from its place at the West end of the church to where it is now. What they did it for I can't imagine. I have often thought of suggesting that it should be put back again before they are all dead who knew where it stood. The late Mr. Arthur Wall, churchwarden, knew the exact spot, and encouraged me to do so, but somehow I never did. Something was done to this cross in 1700, for in that year John Gray and James Brown, churchwardens, saw an opportunity of getting their names cut on it. This cross, according to Mr. Pooley, belongs to the fifteenth century.
I am sorry that time will not allow me to get an illustration done of each of these three crosses. Mr. J. H. Spencer kindly made me drawings of the Market cross some years ago, which had I thought of it sooner, I would have had reproduced for these pages.
Blood has been shed in the churchyard, and I presume life has been lost. There are at Wells a series of ancient manuscript volumes called the Bishop's Registers. In them are set down what the Bishops did from day to day as Bishops. There was a certain Ralph of Shrewsbury who was Bishop of this diocese from 1329 to 1363. His Register has been printed by the Somerset Record Society. It states that on Oct. 11, 1351, "the Vicar of Wedmor was condemned by John de Rysyndon to pay half a mark on the octave of Easter next for the procuration due to the lord for the reconciliation of the Cemetery of Wedmor." Procuration means a certain fee. Every church and churchyard is consecrated before it is used, and if life is lost in it that renders necessary a reconsecration or reconciliation. Half a mark would be 6s.8d.
About sixty years afterwards another reconciliation of the churchyard was rendered necessary. Nicholas Bubwith was Bishop from 1407 to 1424. His Register tells us that on Feb. 14, 1412, commission was granted to a certain titular Bishop (John Episcopus Enagduanensis) to reconcile the cemetery of Wedmore, polluted by effusion of blood. This Register has not been printed. I am indebted to Mr. Holmes, Vicar of Wookey, for a post card telling me of this.
I would just set down that in the churchyard wall opposite and above the Post Office will be seen hewn stones that were never hewn for that wall, and fragments of columns. These have evidently come from the church, and if ever the wall is rebuilt, as has been suggested, they should be examined carefully.
Very soon after I came here in 1876 I began copying the inscriptions on the tombstones in the churchyard. But somehow I did not make very much progress with it. I am sorry now that I did not finish it, as so many of the stones have since perished and the information on them is gone for ever. I now give all the inscriptions on mural and flat stones within the church. I number them for convenience sake.
INSCRIPTIONS WITHIN THE CHURCH.
Sacred to the memory of the Revd. John Richards and the Revd. Joseph Richards, successively Vicars of this parish; the former, who was also Curate of St. Michael's, Bath, died at Ridgway, Devon, April 15, 1825, in the 54 th year of his age; the latter died at his Vicarage house in this parish Dec. 27, 1826, in the 61 st year of his age ( I omit the Dean's testimony to the worth of these brothers, it being rather long). This tablet was erected as a tribute of affectionate respect to the deceased and of earnest desire for the temporal and eternal happiness of those for whom he and they must give account, by Henry Ryder, D.D., Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry and Dean of Wells, 1828.
Near to this place rest the bodies of George Hodges, Esq., and Ann his wife, since the wife of Jeremy Horler, clerk, in hope of a joyfull resurrection. Christus nobis vita, mon lucrum. (Arms and motto, Virtus Imortalis.)
3.-Flat. Inside the rails.
Robert, son of Henry Castleman, Vicar of this church, died the 11 of Sept., 1734, in the 9th week of his age. Also Henry, another son of the said Henry Castleman, died Sept. 2, 1745, in the 12th year of his age. Quem diligunt Dii juvenis moritur. Also Henry, the father of the above Robert and Henry Castleman, died March 8, 1745, aged 59 years. Elizabeth Cox, the daughter of Henry and Ann Castleman, died the 24th of April, 1747, aged 59 years. Henry, her son, died the 8th of May, 1747, aged 45 weeks. Ann, the wife of Henry Castleman and mother of the above children, died the 29th of Sept., 1769, in her 73rd year.
4.-Flat. Inside the rails.
Hic jacet corpusculum Denhanii filii Thomae Davies hujus ecclesiae Vicarii. Obiit Julii 4to, 1673. Inest sua gloria parvis.
5.-Flat. Inside the rails.
A. H. To the memory of George Hodges, Esq., who deceased the . . day of February and in the 43 yeare of his age an. domini 1654. To the memory also of Ann ye wife of Jeremy Horler, clerk, formerly the wife of George Hodges, Esq., abovesaid, who deceased the 26th of July, 1684. In the same grave lyeth Mary their eldest daughter and co-heiress, who was first married to [Henry] Wogan of Weston in Pe[mbrokeshire,] Esq., and afterwards to Edmund Clerk of Falstone in Wilts, Esq., whose widow she dyed May 24, 1709, aged 68.
What I have put within square
brackets is not now legible, the surface of the stone having scaled
off, but I have supplied the missing words from a pedigree kindly sent
me by Sir Edward Strachey, who now represents the Hodges family.
Thomas Warren Kempthorne
died Dec 25, 1841, aged 33 years. He shall enter into peace. Is.
H.S.I. Thomas Davies, AM., Vicarae Wedmorensis non minus quam ecclesiae Anglicanae jurium assertor strenuus hujus tum etiam istius Allertonensis per annos XVII. Pastor fidelis. Obstinatae integritatis ille vir & priscae fidei cultor. obtit pridie id. Decemb. MDCLXXXVII.
The records of legal proceedings in London show Mr. Davies contending with his people about tithes, and thus confirm the above words "assertor strenuus."
Beneath this stone
are deposited the remains of the Rev. Joseph Richards, AM., some time
Vicar of this parish, who died Dec. 27, 1826, aged 60 years.
Vicar of this parish, deceased March XXIII., anno dom. LXXI., aetatis
XXXIIII., Pastorat. XIII.
10.-Flat. What is in brackets is illegible but supplied from the Parish Register. There must be some reason for their being buried in the chancel, but I know not what it is.
Beneath this stone were . . . the body of John Porch Yeo . . who [died Oct. 1808]. Also to the memory of Elizabeth, wife of the above John Porch, who died Sept. 3 1835, aged 80 years.
Ob memoriam Reverendi Georgii Counsel de Over Stowey Vicarii Scholaeque de Bridgwater Paedagogi haud indigni. Conjux hoc charissima posuit locavitque. Satis superque omnes benignitas sua ditavit. Inimicis fuit amicus, amicis amicissimus; omnia hujus vitae incommoda serena fronte, vere compositaque mente et verb D . . na sustinuit. Quid plura? Tales ante obitom voces effudit quales aeternitatis avidas, aeternitate dignitas. Obiit 20 Julii, 1722, aetatis suae 36.-Also here lyeth the body of John, the son of John and Doreas Bartlet of the City of Wells, who died Sept. 18, 1755, aged 34 weeks.
12.-The Hodges Monument. A large Draycot stone standing up, with two brasses over it. This monument has been altered more than once. The following inscriptions are on the two brasses
(1) Wounded not Vanquisht. Sacred to the memory of Captaine Thomas Hodges in the County of Somerset, Esq., who at the Siege of Antwerp aboute 1583 with unconquer'd courage wonne two ensignes from the enemy, where receiving his last wound he gave three legacyes his soule to his Lord Jesus; his body to be lodged in Flemish earth his heart to be sent to his deare wife in England.
Here lyes his wounded
heart for whome
(2) The effigies of George Hodges, Esq., who lived many years at this place in a pious and religious manner, whose better part was rapt into the best place, and his mortall lieth heere intered in the sepulcher of his granfather and father.
Over this inscription is the effigy of George Hodges in armour, which Col. Bramble tells us is probably the latest instance of military costume on any brass in England. The Hodges family arms are given on a shield, which in the language of heraldry are thus described: Or, three crescents sable; on a canton of the second a ducal crown of the last. The motto (see No. 2) is omitted on this monument.
Beneath this stone is interr'd ye body of Mary Pople who died July 15, 1810, aged 6o years.
14.-Set up on four modern legs and used now as a table is a fiat monument of freestone which was found in 1880. There has been a good deal of passing over it at some time, which has made the inscription partly illegible. What is printed within brackets is supplied by the Parish Register.
Heere resteth the body of Robert Sherwel of Blackforde G[ent] [who dec]eased [January] 14 .
The flat stones here and in the South transept were mostly brought here from the Nave and elsewhere in 1881. It was not very convenient to keep them in their original places, and the wear and tear of them will be less where they are.
15.-Mural, over the old Vestry door.
Sacred to the memory of John Hancock formerly of this parish, gentleman, who died at Banwell on Aug. 24, 1849, aged 77. Also of Sarah Hancock his widow, formerly Sarah Tyley, who departed this life at Wedmore on Nov. 3. 1864, aged 85. I know that my Redeemer liveth.-Job c. 19 v. 25.
16.-Mural. Over the old Ringers' door.
In memory of Edward son of William and John Edwards of Wedmore, who died at Sand, July 5,1822, aged 61 years. Hester sister of Edward Edwards and wife of William Wall of Sand deceased. Edward Webb son of the above Edward Edwards and Hannah his wife, died at Wedmore May 21, 1803, aged 11 years. Edward son of Edward and Hannab Edwards, died March 31, 1804, aged 18 weeks. Edward Webb their son died March 24, 1808, aged 2 years. Hester their daughter died at Sand May 15, 1819, aged 20 years. John their son died Oct. 2, 1830, aged 34 years. Hannah, widow of the above Edward Edwards, died at Sand March 16, 1845, aged 78 years. Mrs. Hester Comer of Sand, daughter of Edward and Jane Edwards of that place, was buried Dcc. 3, 1816, aged 85 years. Erected by Jane Phippen, daughter of Edward and Hannah Edwards, 1881.
17.-Near the old high altar.
In memory of Jane wife of Edward Edwards who was here buried Nov. 23, 1781, aged 78 years.
This stone enables one to correct an error in the original Register of Burials. On July 9, 1735, the only entry of Burial is that of Margaret, wife of William Jeffereys, which must be a mistake for the wife of Richard Glanvile. I have given some account of the coming of the Glanviles into Wedmore in the Wedmore Chronicle Vol. I. 365.
young I was and thought no ill,
Also the said William Tucker who died Sept. 1, 1820, aged 80 years.
Here resteth ye body of John Westover Senior of this parish Chyrugion, who departed this life Jan. 30, 1678.
Here also resteth the body of Joane his wive who departed this life April 18, 1692. And also John Westover their son Chyrugion departed this life Feb.25 in the 63rd year of his age. 1705.
39.- This is a Draycot stone, but so worn that one can only make out that it covers a Boulting or two.
40. - This stone also is too much worn to make much of it. It covers several John Boultings of the 17th Century and others of that family. The last line reads thus:
Robert Ivyleafe died March 28. 1730, aged 75 years.
This does not appear in the
Register of Burials, but the Register of Baptisms does contain the baptism
of a Robert son of Gabriel Ivyleafe of Blackford who would be 75 in
1730. There are three old altar-shaped monuments of the Ivyleafe family
in the churchyard near the South porch.
According to the Parish Registers the above Joan Boulting was not buried till Nov. 5, 1640. The burial of Rebecca Boulting is not in the Registers at all.
43. - Mural.
THE OLD OR LADY CHAPEL.
44. - Mural.
45. - Mural.
46. - Mural.
Sacred to the memory of William White of Sand in this parish, whose earthly remains are deposited in the adjoining churchyard. He possessed the most eminent intellectual endowments and terminated an honourable life of exerted talents May 30, 1816, aged 67. His afflicted widow has caused this monument to be erected in testimony of her affectionate respect. Also to the memory of Ann relict of the above named William White and daughter of the late George and Betty Savidge of Blackford in the parish of Wedmore, who died April 11, 1831, aged 65 years.
Nos. 47 To 54. ALL MURAL.
Near to this place was interred ye body of Edith Boulting of Theale in this parish who dyed April 8 anno 1622. And also Will: Boulting of Theale Gent, husband of ye above named Edith who dyed Oct.26 anno 1654. And also Alice wife of William Boulting their son who dyed June 12 anno 1677. And also Will: Boulting of Theale gent. husband of ye above named Alice who dyed June 15 anno 1678. And also John Boulting their son who dyed May 4 annon 1681. And also Ann daughter of Rebeckah and Will: Boulting Esq. their son who dyed Jan. 31 annon 1688. And also James son of Alice and Will: Boulting who dyed Aug. 27 annon 1689. And also William Boulting Esq. who dyed Nov. 16 anno 1705. And also Phillis daughter of Rebeckah & Will: Boulting Esq. who dyed March 6 annon 1711. And also James son of Rebeckah & Will: Boulting Esq. who dyed Aug. 10 annon 1716.
The putting the mother's name before the father's has an awkward and unnatural look about it, but the object of it is to get in the Esq. When we have not had a legal right to Esq. very long, or when we are very doubtful whether we have a legal right to it at all, then we are so very particular about its always being lugged in, however awkward it is to do so.
Near to this place lieth the body of John Boulting MB. son of William and Rebecca Boulting he died Aug. 23, 1726, aged 31 years. Also here resteth ye body of ye said Rebecca Boulting who died Sept. 7th, 1736, aged years. Here lieth also the body of Mary Boulting her daughter, who departed this life Dec. 27, 1745, aged 50. And also near to this place resteth the body of Hannah the daughter of the above said Rebecca Boulting, who departed this life Sept. 29, 1765, aged 60, Also Sarah Boolting only surviving daughter of William Boulting Esq. who died Feb. 17, 1774, aged 48 years.
Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth Spencer eldest daughter of Gabriel Stone of Somerset Farm in the Parish of South Brent and wife of Joseph Ruscombe Poole of Bridgwater, who died April 27, 1822, aged 37. Sacred also to the memory of Hannah the second wife of the above named Joseph Ruscombe Poole and the youngest daughter of William Savidge of Blackford and Mary his wife, who died Oct. 13, 1836 aged 51. Sacred also to the memory of the above named Joseph Ru,combe Poole who died Jan. 29, 1843, aged 68.
A short account of the Stone
family will be found at the end of this number.
On these two monuments, Nos. 53 and 54, we have three successive John Barrows, father, son and grandson, whose lives covered the 150 years from 1700 to 1850. The farming operations of the first two were so successful that the third was able to buy the Manor House and become a Magistrate. But what they could win while living they could not keep in their family when dead. Though the Magistrate was the father of many sons, yet within a few years of his death the Manor House passed into other hands. I recollect about 20 years ago seeing the late Mr. E. A. Freeman read the inscription on No. 54 with a very comical expression of countenance, being amused at St. Paul's words being applied to the worthy J.P. It was the second John Barrow who was Hannah More's opponent. The first of these three John Barrows was the son of John Barrow on tombstone No. 24, who was the son of Mathew Barrow, who I think was the first of his name to come into the parish, in the reign of Charles II.
to this sacred pile now rests enshrin'd
of parents best of friends I farewell
Nos. 59 TO 64. ALL MURAL.
thou art, thou well may'st drop a tear
Sacred also to
the memory of the above named Joseph Wollen Esq. who departed this life
April 17, 1845, aged 85 years. Rev. xiv. 13.
These Savidges lived at the
house at Blackford now occupied as the Vicarage. The last mentioned
Mary Savidge used to ride in to Wedmore Church on a pillion.
These last two are in the
porch. They were put there in 1880. Formerly these were in the lower
of the Porch rooms. I presume they were put there to keep company with
the books which formerly belonged to the Andrews family. See Vol. 1.
From June 1880 to June 1881 the church was being restored under the direction of Mr. Ferrey. The Wedmore Chronicle was just then coming to the birth. Mr. Ferrey very kindly said he would write a short account of the church for me to put into it. He did so. That account has been lying idle in my drawer while 57 irrevocable years have glided by. I print it now exactly as Mr. Ferrey wrote it. It was written to help at the birth of this magazine, it is now printed to help at its death.
The Parish Church of St. Mary, Wedmore, is a very good example of the manner in which a church built at the end of the 12th Century was transformed and enlarged in the Perpendicular period. Originally it was evidently a simple aisleless cruciform church with central tower, nave, chancel and transepts. The Eastern portion, as is very usual in mediaeval churches, was commenced before the Western and worked Westward. No remains, however, of the original church now exist except perhaps a portion of the plain walls. Four arches of the central tower in their character shew that their date is very early in the Early English period, when it was changing from Norman. The beautiful South porch doorway is also Early English but a little later in date, probably of about the same date and by the same architect as the transepts to Wells Cathedral. We notice here the square abaci, which disappear in the later work of the West front of the Cathedral, when the circular abaci are usual. This doorway is not in situ, as the early church never could have had aisles; it was preserved and rebuilt in Perpendicular times. The transepts, nave and chancel and upper part of the tower are of well-developed Perpendicular work of about the middle of the 15th century; but the North aisle of the nave is probably some 30 years later in date than the South. The piers and mouldings of this arcade are inferior in character to those on the South side. Observe too the roof of the North aisle and compare it to that of the South, which is of better character and design as well as richer. The windows to the North aisle, though in general character resembling those to the South aisle, have four-centred or Tudor arches. The North and South chantry chapels are later additions than the chancel and the nave, such additions being very usual in later Perpendicular times. The South chantry and the old chapel seem the latest additions, and it is evident the former windows to the South side of the nave were cut out, made into archways, and the windows refixed to the South side of the old chapel. The Parvise with its two rooms above, one over the other, is almost a small tower, and appears to have been built soon after the South aisle. The rooms were probably used by the priests attached to the chantries. The doorway, with window on each side, in the East wall of the parvise, which appears to be of the same date as the rest of the parvise, was a most unsuspected discovery during the recent works. The door probably led into a low building or chapel existing previous to the present old chapel. The very beautiful two-light window of the early decorated period in the East wall of the South-East chantry has evidently been removed here and refixed from elsewhere. The doorway leading into the modern vestry (recently pulled down) was evidently quite a late work of the 17th Century. The roofs of the nave, transepts and South-East chantry are mostly modern, but contain some of the original old oak timber, and all the corbels, etc., are ancient. The tower has rather a truncated appearance owing to the long straight horizontal line of the perforated parapet. It probably had a pyramidal roof the addition of which would greatly improve it. The stair turret to the parvise also is evidently incomplete, both as regards its battlement and the lead covering to it. The font is a plain specimen of about the same date as the nave. The painted roof of the North chantry represents the Te Deum and is a very beautiful and valuable example. The roof to the old chapel has some well moulded substantial beams with their ancient simple colouring on them. The pulpit and sounding board are rich specimens of Jacobean work. The effect of this church both externally and internally has been much increased in picturesqueness by the additions of later dates, and makes it possess an interest which a structure built all at one period could never have. Mem. - The Perpendicular period lasted from A.D. 1400 to 1546. The vaulting to the tower and the stair turret also is rather late Perpendicular work.
EDMUND B. FERREY.