Hi from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic
Another fine day so we decided to go geocaching again to pick up some more church micros in the area. I made a list of about 20 to do but I doubted we would be able to get to them all.
The first stop was St Bartholomew’s church in Crewkerne. It took us two trips around the block to find a park. This is a very unusual town with one-way systems and heaps of traffic going right through the centre of town. We got nearly all the way to the church when Mike realised that he didn’t have his camera so had to return to the car. Honey decided that she wasn’t going to take another step when she found that he had gone. After a little more encouragement Honey and I set off down the track towards the geocache. When we got to within 20 metres of it we came to a very muddy gate. I tied Honey up to the gate but soon realised that I wasn’t going to be able to do it alone either. Mike finally got to the cache when he caught up with us but the log was just a mush of paper and completely unsignable. We have been into this church before but Mike took some more photographs as our camera takes great photos now that it has been fixed. There were some Green Man corbels on the church.
Next, we headed to Merriott where we did a Fine Pair and then went to the Church of All Angels. I collected all the numbers from the four-part multi, having to walk all around the churchyard to find the headstones. A good view up there. Then we walked to the final which was about 300m away on a public footpath. The hint was ‘post’ which had me worried at first as there didn’t seem to be any but them Mike saw it and made a quick find. When we got back to the church a local man offered to show us around the church and Honey was invited in as well. Paul Fisher has also written a book all about the history of the church and is a fountain of knowledge. The chancel of the church dates from 1295, so it was a long thin church then it had aisles added in 1500. A gallery was added to the aisles in 1830 as the church was not big enough for its congregation. In 1860 it was rebuilt. In 1862 a lead heart case was discovered in the north wall of the chancel of Merriott Church. It was thought that the De Meriet had a preference for heart burials. In 1314 Sir John de Meriet was absolved from excommunication for disembowelling his wife and was ordered to rebury her heart with her body. It was thought that the De Meriet had a preference for heart burials. We also learned a new word, Hunky punk, which is a Somerset term for gargoyles with short legs. On the front doorway, there were some early medieval sundial or mass dial used to tell the congregation the time of the next service. On the back of the church, there was also some interesting stone marks as well as a benchmark which is used for ordinance survey and is a part of the geocaching hobby for some people.
Hinton St George gave us another fine pair and church Micro at St George’s church. It was lunchtime when we arrived at the church so we looked around and found a lovely seat in the sun where we could have lunch. I fed Honey then Mike made our sandwiches while I went to find the clues for the multi. We were sitting on Trixie which is one of the dates I needed to find. After lunch, we took the short walk to find the cache. The church had a lovely gilded weathercock and the most amazing Poulett tombs within the church. Part of this is not open to the public but I took down the phone numbers so that I can arrange a visit when we come back this way in November. The tomb of Sir Anthony and Katherine Paulet is most beautiful.
St Nicholas church at Dinnington and St Mary’s at Seavington St Mary were not open but we found caches at them both. At Seavington St Michael the list of rectors goes back to 1297 and it had a Charles II Coat of Arms and an old looking plain font.
The last cache of the day was All Saints at Lopen. Just as we got there it started to rain heavily. I stayed in the car with Honey who had had enough geocaching for the day while Mike went to have a look at the church. Once the rain eased I went around the churchyard to collect the numbers. One headstone gave me a lot of problems and just as I was going to give up I realised that it was a plaque on a seat. Numbers all calculated I was able to find the cache with Mike’s help and returned home. Time to call it a day. A lovely day finding 10 caches and some interesting places.
In Lopen and Dinnington there have been recent finds of Roman mosaic. The Lopen mosaic was discovered in 2001, by George Caton who was operating a mechanical digger and noticed small cubes of coloured stone, which turned out to be part of the floor of an eight-roomed Roman Villa and is the largest Roman Mosaic so far discovered in Britain. They exposed and documented the mosaic in three weeks. It was then covered with sand and soil to preserve it.