November 17 – A day out church micro-ing around Beaminster

A Brilliant Sunset

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today we headed off armed with another list of church micros to find, this time around Beaminster. A few days ago we went to Mosterton and the church micro there was missing. I contacted the CO and he replaced it quickly so that two other geocachers in the area and us could grab the cache so this was our first of the day. Just as we got out of the car Mike realised he didn’t have his camera and so we had to drive home to get it again. Luckily we were not too far away.

After our slight hiccup to starting the day we were soon off to South Perrott again as a church micro was showing up on the map. The weird thing was that it was not showing up on my GPS so out came the mobile phone. Using the geocaching app we soon had the numbers in hand and a short walk with Honey, we had the cache. As so often happens all of a sudden there were several dog walkers around which made replacing the cache somewhat tricky.

St. Mary’s Church in Corscombe was a nice little church with an octagonal font and a stone carved pulpit with marble pillars. The angel corbels in the nave and the grotesques outside were impressive. It had a 15th-century north door. The numbers for the geocache were quickly collected and we walked around the other side of the church to look for the cache. We looked and looked and read the previous logs finding that Netty227 and RyroD had found it only a few days ago. However, we were still on church property which is unusual. We rechecked the numbers and it took us back to the same place. In the end, we had to give up but not without giving it our best shot. The church carpark has amazing views out over the valley so the three of us had our lunch here. We also received a phone call from Mike’s uncle in Yorkshire who we haven’t seen since we have been back in the UK. Hopefully, we will get up there sometime soon as it would be nice to catch up with him.

Next, we went to St Mary of the Annunciation in Beaminster. The collection of the numbers was quite elaborate and I must have got something wrong as we could not get anywhere close to the coordinates that I came up with. The CO has since emailed me and told me where I went wrong. There has been a church in Beaminster since Saxon times. The church is a truly magnificent building with a superb tower from about 1500, which has been described as ‘one of the glories of the West Country’. It had 41 ‘crocketted’ pinnacles, which make the pinnacles appear to be standing free of the tower, while each actually rests on a springer stone sculpted to form devils or mythical animals. The most attractive wooden chancel screen is by H. Read of Exeter and installed in 1913. The Jacobean oak pulpit is from 1619. It is mounted on wheels, it can be moved around the building at will. The present clergy vestry was once a mort house, dating from 13th-century, where bones that had been dug up in the graveyard were stored. The font is Norman and it was thrown out by the Victorians in 1863, but found in a stone mason’s yard and returned in 1927.  Among the monuments are two fine examples to the Strode family. It also had some lovely stained glass windows and angel corbels where you can still see some of the red paint.

After our previous two ‘no finds’ we were glad to finally find a cache at St Mary’s at Netherby. There was some great tile work in the sanctity and the chancel and lots of wall monuments. The coat of arms over the door was inlaid into the wall and the lion’s head was not that of a lion but of a human. We cannot figure out which monarch this coat of arms represents. There was a lovely 15th-century canopied alabaster tomb. The painted arms on the tomb are ‘Moor of Melplaish’. There was a 7-sided pulpit, with fluted Corinthian corners on a trumpet base dating from 1630.

At St Mary’s in Stoke Abbott, we arrived at the church just as a gentleman arrived to close up for the night. We collected the numbers and made our way down an extremely steep concrete driveway to the final. There was a yucky slug clinging to the bottom of the box but I left him there as he wasn’t hurting the cache or the contents. The church had a late 12th-century font with an enriched arcade, carried on cat’s mask corbels.

On our way home, we had to pull over to take a photo of a really brilliant sunset. Just as we were about to leave another car pulled up behind us, obviously with the same intention.