April 19 – Good Friday

A trip to Clevedon Church and Clevedon Pier, with a few church micro's on the way
Hi from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic
Today we headed to the other side of the river Avon across the Clifton Suspension Bridge into North Somerset. On our right, we saw St Mary the Virgin church in Long Ashton which is a lovely looking church with a bargeboard roof on the tower and four-bay windows. However, it was not open nor was there a church micro there.
We continued on, passing the Ashton Court gatehouse which was a very impressive edifice. We wondered what the mansion was like but we had a plan for today so we continued on. Maybe we will return another time.
Holy Trinity Church in Abbots Leigh has a fascinating history spanning 800 years including 2 fires on the same date 21 February, once in 1848 and again in 1972.

‘Lega’ means wood or meadow or possibly camp – lee, lea, ley all meaning the same in Anglo-Saxon. A Saxon hermitage or small chapel was built at ‘lega’ perhaps on a Celtic burial ground or holy place. This became the basis of the chancel of an enlarged church.

There is evidence that in Edward the Confessor’s reign, 1042-1066, there was a Prebendary of Lega.  William the Conqueror gave Lega to one of his barons, Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of Coutances and Lega became the Manor of Leigh. It was later owned by Robert Fitzharding, a Bristol merchant who in 1143 founded the Abbey of St Augustine which later became the Bristol Cathedral.

Within the upper churchyard is an ancient yew believed to be over 800 years old. Also in the churchyard, the octagonal stone steps supporting the War Memorial are thought originally to have been the base of an early Preaching Cross. There is an ancient font beside the South porch which may have been used for christenings from the earliest days of the church until replaced by the existing 19th-century one.

The church was open and it had a fabulous window depicting King Josiah holding a church and with a church with scaffolding behind it. There was also a lovely Millenium tapestry. It took us ages to find Hannah for the multi-cache and if it wasn’t for the lady in the churchyard we might never have found her. We walked to the final in the sunshine but could not recognise the hint. Finally, we saw it and there was the cache, it was easy after all and we gave the church micro a favourite for multiple challenges it gave us.

The village church in Easton in Gordano was dedicated to St. George and although the date of the first Church on this site is unknown, records do exist dating back to 1239. When we arrived an old couple were arranging flowers and the churchyard outside was covered in spring flowers including bluebells and red tulips. The grave of Catherine Drew was embedded into two yew trees. The font had a lovely marble stand and a tall wooden font cover, dated from 1872. There were lots of lovely stained glass windows and great mosaic tiles on the floor and the walls of the sanctuary. The reredos from 1872 showed the birth of Christ and the elaborately detailed marble pulpit made in 1872 depicted five saints. We did not collect the numbers in order for the multi which was just as well as we didn’t have to walk so far to the final for an easy find.
St Mary’s Church in Portbury dates from the 12th century, with alterations and extension in the 13th-century and restoration between 1870 and 1875. It has a Norman doorway and a grand 15th-century porch. There is a Berkeley Chantry chapel with early Berkeley family burials dating from around 1190. There are a number of elderly yew trees in the surrounding graveyard with one reputed to be 900 years old.

The next place we visited was Portishead which is very cool as there is a band named after this village. They formed in Bristol in 1991 and still play together today. In Portishead, we found a church micro at the Methodist church and also visited St Peter’s church which did not have a church. St Peter’s was a Norman church built in 1320 which had some lovely stained glass windows.
The church of St Peter & St Paul in Weston in Gordano had a tower and porch were built around 1300, while the rest of the building is from the 15th century. There was a church service starting at 2 pm and everyone was arriving so we were unable to go inside. We managed to get a great park, took a photo of the church and went to find the cache which we did easily but not until we both got nettle stings from looking in the wrong place. Nettles are so potent at this time of the year despite only being a few inches high. Out with the antihistamine cream.
The church of St Andrew’s Clevedon is a good starting point for Poet’s Walk which has views across the Bristol Channel to Wales. We sat on a seat above the churchyard of headstones including a raised area of flat stones with heaps of daisies and other flowers in between. We had lunch in the sunshine overlooking the River Severn and we could only just make out Wales as it is a very hazy day.over there.

We had lunch before visiting the inside of the church as a reenactment play for Good Friday was taking place inside and outside. A lovely church had a most amazing reredos of Jesus and ten saints in gold and paint. Absolutely stunning!  It also had lovely stained glass windows and I especially loved the one of St Francis of Assisi and St Andrew in the window above St Thomas Chapel altar. There are also two grisaille style windows with only a little colour, one of the lamb of God which was a Powell window and one depicting the fishers of men.

This churchyard features in several movies and also in Broadchurch. Broadchurch is an ITV detective series, starring Olivia Colman and David Tennant, filmed in Clevedon and West Bay in Dorset. A number of scenes are set around Marshalls Field where a cache called Broadchurch had been placed. We really had to grab that cache too. The coordinates for the church micro were a bit out but it could only be in one place and it was soon found. A family of other young geocachers came up the road just as I put it back. They were also having problems so we prompted then in the right direction. A favourite point for a great church, a lovely place for lunch with a view, a Good Friday play, special movie memories, a wonderful sunny day and a sneaky cache.

We headed into Clevedon and decided to visit the pier. But there was very limited car parking as it was a fine spring day so lots of people were about enjoying the sunshine, so we had to park right up the hill. On the way down we walked right past a traditional church micro but there was a couple sitting on the seat so we had to wait until our return before we were able to grab the cache.

The pier opened in 1869 and there was a ferry from the pier across to Wales until the Severn Tunnel opened in 1886. We paid a small entry price of £3 each to go onto the pier. In the pier gatehouse, there was a gift shop, a museum exhibition about the history of the pier and a cafe. we walked down the 1024 ft length of it to the pavilion at the pier head. Walking on the pier was slightly disconcerting as you could see the sea below the gaps between the planks. Many of the planks had names of people who gave money to the maintenance of the pier. Opposite the entranceway is a late 19th-century drinking fountain which is Grade II listed.

There has been a church on the site of St John the Evangelist in Kenn from pre-Norman times but most of the structure today dates from 1861 when it was rebuilt. Amongst the older items in the church are two old monuments which were rebuilt into the church wall in 1861.  Over the South Door is a Cost of Arm in memory of Sir Nicolas Staling Knight, who died in 1605, and was an usher at the court of Queen Elizabeth I and on the West Wall above the tower door is a monument to Sir Christopher Kenn who died in 1593, whose family occupied the Manor of Kenn from about 1150 to the early 1600s.

In the tower is a small window depicting Bishop Thomas Ken who held the Seat of Bath and Wells from 1685 to 1690, during the troublesome time of the Monmouth Rebellion, which culminated in the ‘Battle of Sedgemoor’. We are familiar with Bishop Kenn as he was someone we learned about during our exhibition in Wells Cathedral too. He is buried in a crypt at St John the Baptist church in Frome.

A lovely little church and a relatively easy find of the geocache right where we thought it would be. We liked the parking policy which other churches should follow asking that people do not park there when there is a service on unless attending the service. It is frustrating to find perfectly good car parks that are padlocked except during services.

A lovely day exploring sites around North Somerset and then back home to see Raffy, Darcy and Rio.