October 29 – Church micro-ing around Bradford-on-Avon

Daylight saving finished this morning

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We arrived at St Nicholas church in Winsley just after the service finished and so the church was still open. We talked to the lady vicar and two parishioners, all of whom have been to New Zealand. The only part of the church to remain from the original building is the tower which is completely separate from the church. The church itself had a minstrel’s gallery holding the organ and the only way for the organist to gain access to the organ was to go outside, into the tower, up the stairs and walk across into the minstrel’s gallery. It was very unusual.

Then we went to ‘The Chapel at No 38’, The Hermitage, St Mary’s Chapel. We parked the car at the top of the hill and took an amazing walk through the walkways of Bradford-on-Avon. It must be so hard to get to those houses. Then suddenly there was an amazing view out over the town and a lovely little chapel. The chapel had a most beautiful modern stained glass window.

We went down into Bradford-on-Avon and the river flows right through the town with a wonderful medieval bridge over it. We walked all around the town finally coming upon the Saxon church of St Laurence. It is a tiny church which I doubt is used for services anymore. The geocache outside took ages to find. The hint was quite specific and there was only a limited place where it could be and so we searched and searched again. A lady whose kitchen window overlooks where we were searching came out to say it was definitely there but she was not going to help us at all and went away again. We nearly gave up but we hate to miss out on church micros. Eventually, we started to brainstorm the possibilities and suddenly Mike had it. I could not believe that we had looked for so long and still missed it. An excellent place and an excellent search.

Holy Trinity church was full of very lovely and interesting things. It had hatchments, wall monuments, excellent wall painting and some great Medieval panelling. There was also a reredos with relief panels and some O’Connor stained glass windows both from 1856. My favourite part was the roundels of yellow and white stained glass windows while Mike’s favourite was the monumental brasses and the three tombs.

On our way out of town, we stopped at the Tithe Barn. The great barn is a Grade I listed free English Heritage site. It was part of a medieval grange belonging to Shaftesbury Abbey and was built in the early 14th century, with a granary dated to about 1400.

On our way back to Warminster we also stopped in at St Lawrence’s church at Rode. The church was closed but there was a geocache there which we quickly found.