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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.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Curry and Bier in Somerset

Taking my parents (aged 94 and 88) to North Curry yesterday to see my father's sister (aged 92) offered the opportunity for lunch in the really rather pleasant Bird In Hand Inn (sexist signage aside) and then a quick pop into the Church of St Peter and St Paul.  

The Levels are prone to flooding, of course, and along with every other old settlement, North Curry was built on a ridge of land. Good views from the churchyard, then.  

Octagonal towers are quite common around here. as are gargoyles and hunky punks in glorious golden Ham stone.  


Inside, a man was tuning an old piano with much stabbing of the keys.  The older members of the party sat and chatted while I fossicked quickly and quietly. 

There's a bier, upon which the mortal remains of Colonel Chard, of Rorke's Drift fame, were borne to their everlasting rest in nearby Hatch Beauchamp ... 


Cadaver effigy of an unidentified cleric 

Toma atte Sloo

This is my favourite thing - an old parish chest made of elm that weighs over 600 lbs and is believed, by its form of construction, to date from well before 1200 and possibly even Saxon times. 

Evidence suggests it was at one time forcibly looted. I blame this lot.

1348-9       John Leyat (Seyat) of Harewell
1349           Thomas Dauyntre 
1349-50     John Trowbrugge    
                    John Muleward(e)

We know the Black Death, which arrived in Somerset in early 1349, had a 50% mortality rate in some parts, and that a large proportion of the clergy perished, but I've never spotted quite so many priests appointed in such a short space of time as here in North Curry.    

An entry from nearby Curry Rivel’s court rolls from May 1349:

‘John Pypping who held of the lord a cottage . . . is dead, by whose death there falls to the lord nothing of heriot because there is no live beast. And the said cottage remains empty in the lord’s hands’

It seems the plague had claimed Pypping, his entire family, and all his animals as well.

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