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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Monday 22 October 2018

Church-hopping in West Pennard and Shepton Mallet

The first time I went to Glastonbury to visit my friend Jan in her new home it tipped with rain all day. The week before last, the appointed day for our get-together dawned in the grip of Storm Callum, and the charm of goldfinches in the tree in her garden clung to the branches like sad little leaves. 

So, a wander up the tor was out. Instead we decided to visit a couple of local churches, the first of which was St Nicholas in West Pennard. 

There are a few fragments of stained glass from the middle ages, and plenty of garish Victorian painted stuff, of the type William Morris  rejected when he returned to mediaeval methods of manufacture, with the aim of raising ecclesiastical glass to an art form. 

I liked this more modern window, though ...
... with its wheeling crow.  I haven't been able to discover who made it (though it reminds me a little of Harry Stammers' work). 

Churchyard cross

After West Pennard we drove on to Shepton Mallet to have lunch. 

First, though, we popped into the Church of SS Peter and Paul. 

There's something very solid about the interior. The pillars are massive and were probably part of walls that were pierced, possibly Saxon in origin.

The church is famed for its wooden ceiling, carved with 350 panels of different designs, and 36 carved angels. 

'The finest 15th century carved oak wagon-roof in England', Pevsner said, though I couldn't make out any detail, even with the help of the mirror, and was none the wiser ...
... until I saw this photo by Michael Garlick, from the Geograph website. Now you begin to see what old Pevsner was going on about. It's absolutely stunning.
I was also struck by the effigies of two late 13th century knights which have been placed on window ledges at the west and east end of the north aisle.
They must have a much better view where they are now ...

... all interesting and smudgy through the old glass. 

Nipping up into the pulpit

The brass memorial to William Strode who died in 1649 (with Death taking aim at his wife). 

The sea holly on our table at lunch

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