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Ditcheat - St Mary Magdelene
Church open. Park outside on the road - plenty of room
O/S Ref: ST 626 363

Above top and left: Priest early 14th century.  Above bottom: Nicky Hamilton (2005) Churchwarden. On windoe sill

Worn to illegibility Robert Hannam (1755). Also, his sons: John Hannam (1756) attorney-at-law, and Benjamin Hannam (1756).  Also, Robert's wife, Ann (1759). Also Robert and Ann's son, Robert Hannam (1778). Top: Ann Randall Goodfellow (Hannam) (1803)

Bottom: Thomas Lier (1812) Rector of the Parish, and his wife, Mary Leir (1829). Signed:T King Ft Bath

  There are a number of monuments similar to that shown on the left but not they are not identical.  All have a shield of arms. That shown is to:

Major General Richard Lanford Leir (1933) and his wife, Henrietta Anne, Baroness Dorchester (1925) As well as the shileld of arms this monument also displays a regimental badge
Rev Marriott Leir (1811) MA (1891) and his wife, Mary Anne (Longford) (1889)
The inscription then continues: 'He was Lord of and Patron of the Rectorial Manor of Ditchett and also Lord of the Manor of Allhampton. Now we know why and how a church appointment is kept in the family.
  The following are designed as a pair, the shield of arms being shared and between the two monuments:
  Thomas Lier MA (1730) Rector, and his wife, May (Freke) (1737)
  Rev Thomas Leir MA (1781) and his wife, Elizabeth (Methuen) (1783)
  Richard Leir (1850) Son of Thomas, Rector.
  Rev William Leir MA (1863) and his wife, Harriott (Marrot) (1843)

Other Monuments

Thomas Lie (1803)
Son of Rev Thomas Lie, Rector
  White oval talet on black base. Signed: T King Fn Bath
Charles Edward Lier MA (1924) Rector for 26 years   White tablet
Henry Howard Tapp MA (1945); and his wife, Mildred (Lier), Daughter of Charles Lier MA   White tablet

  Dowlish Wake - St Andrew
Lady c 1300
John Speake (1442) & Wife tc with effigies
George Speake (1528) brass
John Henning Speake (1864) bust
Downside Abbey

This is a working Benedictine community which was re-established in England in 1795. The present buildings were begun in 1872.

These are the modern monuments of the abbots, all in a medieval style. Unfortunately I have been unable to name many of them. 

Cardinal Gasquet (1929) Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and carved by E. Carter
Abbot Ford  Abbot Ramsay (1929) by Scott  

Dunster - St George
Church open during normal hours. There is limited parking in the town; otherwise use the relatively expensive pay and display car park a five to ten minute somewhat difficult walk to the church. O/S Ref: SS 991 437



Left Column: Lady c 1300
Right Column and top centre: Sir Hugh Luttrell (1428) (and here)
and his wife, Catherine (Beaumont) (1435) Alabaster. The Luttrells came into possession of Dunster Castle  in 1376
Nave South Transept

Above: Lady Elizabeth Luttrell (1493). Incised alabaster slab.

Right: Mrs Ann Luttrell (1731). 
By M S idnell of Bristol (signed)

Thomas Luttrell (1571) and his wife, Margaret (Hadley)  and George Luttrell (1629) and his wife, Joan (Stuckeley) (1613). This monument was set up by George (the kneeling figure) after the death of his wife. He married a second time. For Thomas also visit  here

East Brent - St Mary
2x priests mid 14th C
Reed children 1869 signed Casentini & Co
East Coker - St Michael
Lady E 14th C
Male Civilian  M 14th C
East Harptree - St Laurence
Sir John Newton 1568 TC with recumbent effigy (now south porch)
Easton-in-Gordano - St George
Roger Soudon 1703 portrait bust
East Pennard - All Saints
G Martin (1789) by King of Bath
E Berkeley Napier (1799) by same
East Quantoxhead - St Mary
Hugh Kuttrell (1522) TC, canopy

Farleigh Hungerford
Castle Chapel (St Leonard's Chapel)

The castle and its chapel are under the care of English Heritage. For cost of entrance fee and hours of opening - which can vary according to the time of year - visit Car parking and photography are included in the charge. O/S Ref: ST 801 577

Above Centre: Overall view of the St Leonard's Chapel. The incised slab to the chantry priest can be seen, railed, in the foreground. Behind this is the font and some of the tombs can be made out in the background as well as a wall painting. An arch to your left leads into an adjoiningSt. Anne's Chapel.

To the Left and Right: Sir Thomas Hungerford (1398) & Joan He was the founder of the castle.

Below Left to Right: i) Sir Walter Hungerford IV (1596) Chancel: this and the tomb chest on the far right are similar but not identical. ii) Mary Shaa (1613). The slab is plain: she kneels with her family at the front. Sister of Sir Walter IV & Sir Edward  II  iii) Sir Edward Hungerford  II (1607) Chapel . Both this and that of Sir Walter  have deeply incised inscriptions on the top.
Above Top Row Left & Right and Bottom Row Right: Sir Edward Hungerford III (1648) &  & Margaret (Hallyday (1672) See below

Top Row Centre:
Incised slab to a chantry priest c 1500 Very worn but the head and shoulders can just be made out below the shadow of the top cross bar.

Bottom Row Left:
Curiosity: Lead Coffins in the Crypt.
Lead coffins were in use from about 1500-1650, some of which were anthropomorphic in shape. They were originally contained in an outer wooden cases, which have now decayed. Some of these coffins have the face of the deceased moulded onto them; sometimes this moulding may be actually taken from a death mask but it is unlikely that this was the case at Farleigh Hungerford.There are eight such coffins at Farleigh Hungerford: four adult males, two adult females and two children. Four of these have faces moulded on them. The coffins contain the remains of the following, among others:

Sir Edward III & Margaret (Hallyday)
Jane Hele (1664), wife of Sir Edward IV
Edward (1689), their son
Alathea, his wife
Sir Edward Hungerford III
Sir Edward Hungerford was elected to both the short and long parliaments and joined the parliamentary side when the civil war broke out in 1642. He fought under Sir William Waller at the battles of Lansdown and Roundway Down; he was also present at the siege of Wardour Castle. He attacked Farleigh Castle which was commanded by Colonel John Hungerford, possible his half brother, and which surrendered in 1645; according to the rules of warfare he took possession and remained there where he died in 1648.

Farleigh Hungerford - St Leonard Parish Church
I made an unplanned visit to the parish church of Farleigh Hungerford when I visited the castle. Unfortunately it was firmly locked and there was no indication on the notice board on the entrance to the church yard nor one  on the actual church notice board from whom to obtain the key. Not a good practice.
The monuments are:
1. Dorothea Torriano Houlton (1799) & John Houlton (1839) 2. Mrs Shirley (1828) & 3. Lady Wilson (1864)

Farrington Gurney - St John the Baptist
A  collection of wall monuments to the Mogg Family; all from the 19th century except the first which dates from the 18th and predates the church

Freshford - St Peter
  William Edward Chapman (1914) Rector for 23 years
High Littleton
Holy Trinity
Robert (1656) & Millisent ( 1664) Langford & members of their family until 1883

Frome - St John
cadaver effigy
Lucy (1827) and  Lousia (1826) Boyle by Westmacott
Isabella, Countess of Cork (1843) by Westmacott the Younger
Richard Stevens (1796) by Thomas Cooke
George Locke (1735) by T Paty
To be continued

St John's Church is open during daylight hours. The Abbey is in ruins and under the care of English Heritage.There is an entrance fee but the Abbey is well cared for and organised; the excavated artifacts are now housed in a museum, where there is plenty of information about the Abbey. The museum is conveniently situated  next to the entrance hall.
There is a pay and display car park convenient for Church and Abbey. Relatively expensive.
Left: the abbey church from the cloisters. Right: the abbot's kitchen and ruins of living quarters.
O/S Ref: ST 500 390

St John's Church
The church was closed for repairs when we visited; it is normally open

Richard (1476) & Jane (1485) Atwell 2 tc's brasses lost
John Camell 1470 alabaster effigy
TC open lid
The Abbey

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states (1016) King Edmund [Ironside] passed away and is buried with his grandfather Edgar in Glastonbury. Florence of Worcester states (946) [Edmund I] ... was killed...his body was carried to Glastonbury and buried there. (975) ... King Eadgar [Edgar] departed this life on Thursday ... His body was carried to Glastonbury and buried there... (1016) King Eadmund Ironside died at London and was buried at Glastonbury by the side of his grandfather, King Eadgar. However see the Winchester page for the burial places of Edmund Ironside. William of Malmesbury states By common consent, then, it was determined that his [i.e. Edmund I] body should be brought to Glastonbury, and there magnificently buried, in northern part of the tower ... He Edgar] ... was buried at Glastonbury. 1052 ... his royal remains were placed above the altar in a shrine. He Edmund Ironside] was buried at Glastonbury near his grandfather Edgar. This is from History of the Kings before the Norman Conquest, which he reinforces in his Antiquities of Glastonbury by stating, although somewhat ambiguously, that Edmund I was buried below the tower to the right and Edmund Ironside was buried in front of the altar. He further states that Edgar was at first buried in a 'pillar' before the entrance of the church but was later translated to a shrine above the altar.

John Leland in his Itinerary, describing his journey in the time of Henry VIII, states that Edmund 'Senior's' tomb was in the north part of the presbytery and Edmund Ironside's on its south side. He does not describe these monuments nor give details of any epitaph. However he does give the epitaph  on the tomb of the legendary King Arthur, which he states is in the centre of the presbytery. King Arthur's body - or rather a body reputed to be his - was exhumed from the cemetery and reburied in the church in the time of King Edward I. Leland refers to Abbot Bere building the Edgar Chapel to the east of the church which was to house the tomb of the highly regarded King Edgar in a most important position.

None of these monuments remains. It is curious to note that the sites of Arthur's tomb has been marked in modern times while those of the early English kings, who actually existed have not!

Above: An abbot: note this mitre. This was the effigy originally on display.

Right: Abbot Michael of Amesbury (1236-52)
In 1291 Adam of Damerham recorded that the tomb of Abbot Michael and that of Abbot Pederton lay before the altar of St Thomas in the north transept. John Leyland confirmed this when he visited the abbey in the 1530's

Fragment of an effigy of a priest.

Fragment of an effigy
Above left and right: Two graves markers. That on the right of J.A.D.

Near right: Above is a part of a hand, probably from an effigy and below this mail from a limb.

King Arthur

Site of King Arthur's tomb. Whether the existence of King Arthur or the finding of his body by the monks of Glastonbury is to be believed, this was clearly a money spinner for the Abbey.

There is still (2019) no marker or any mention in the Abbey of the burial of the three Anglo-Saxon kings mentioned above.

In the guide book there is now a reference to these kings as well as a speculative drawing of the presbytery of the Abbey and the two kings' relatively simple floor monuments on either side of King Arthur's shrine as described in the early records

Abbots - Mitred or Not

   The abbot was (and is) the head of an abbey (larger monastery): the head monk. The word comes from the Latin - abbas (father) - and gives some ideas of his initial role. Until the end of the 7th century neither the monks nor even the abbot were ordained. They were therefore compelled to attend the nearby church in order to receive the sacraments from an ordained priest. This could have been a great inconvenience if the abbey was in a remote area so that some monks began to be ordained as deacons or priests. This move was resisted in some quarters as ecclesiastical dignity was deemed to be inconsistent with simple monastic life.

   The abbot was originally subject to the jurisdiction of the local bishop until the 11th century but then religious houses became partly or completely exempt from this episcopal control; this was mainly a result of the exorbitant claims of the bishops rather than arrogance of the abbots. Thus certain abbots became responsible to the Pope alone. This however created a state within a state and all the attendant problems. Some abbots - known as mitred abbots -  had the right to wear episcopal insignia, such as the mitre, rings, gloves and sandals and carrying a crosier. The right was given by the Pope and the first known bull (papal charter) to confirm this was in 1063 which allowed Egelsway, Abbot of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury this privilege. As can be seen in the photograph of one of the effigies this right was also conferred on the abbot of Glastonbury but there were a number of others ⁻¹. As might be expected there was an order of precedence with Glastonbury being number one until 1154 when Pope Adrian IV - Nicholas Breakspear, the only English Pope -  made St Alban's, where he had been reared - number one. The next in order was Ramsey.

  To distinguish an abbot's mitre from that of a bishop, the former were to be made of less costly material and there was to be no gold ornamentation; however this was soon entirely ignored. The crook the abbot's staff was of a different design to that of a bishop's to indicate the former's more limited jurisdiction. The adoption of bishops' insignia was followed by encroachment on episcopal functions so that by 1489 abbots were permitted to ordain men up to the order of deacon.

   If there occurred a vacancy in the abbot's office the monks had a right to elect from their own members the new abbot but it was in the power of the local bishop to confirm the election and deliver the benediction. If the abbey were exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction the abbot elect had to travel to Rome to receive confirmation and the benediction,  an expensive procedure which was borne by the abbey itself. The candidate for the position of abbot had to be at least thirty years of age, legitimate and had been a monk at the particular abbey for at least ten years.

   Initially the abbot was, in a sense, first among equals, eating in the monks' refectory and sleeping in the monks' dormitory. The Rule of St Benedict allowed a separate table for the abbot to entertain guests and visitors so by the tenth century steadily the initial ideal of monastic life declined. As can be seen at Glastonbury the abbot eventually had his own kitchen and living quarters. Abbots originally wore the simple monks' habit but eventually began to wear more extravagant clothing and even secular dress. Finally they began to live the lifestyle of a great lord, spending time hunting and other pursuits of the upper classes, except, nominally at least, they were celibate. Nominally, because later abbots would employ staff including female housekeepers.

   If your surname happens to be Abbot, you are unlikely to be descended from a wayward abbot but rather from an abbot's servant or member of lay staff.

   ⁻¹ In England these were, in alphabetical order: Abingdon, St Alban's, Barney, Battle, Bury St Edmund's, Colchester, Croyland, Evesham, Gloucester, St Benet's Hume, Hyde (Winchester), Malmesbury, Peterborough, Ramsey, Reading, Selby, Shrewsbury, Tavistock, Thorney, Westminster, Winchcome, and St Mary's, York.

Goathurst - St Edward

Church open normal hours. Park in the village; the church is at the end of the village  O/S Ref: ST 256 344

Above Left: Milborne Kemeys Tynte Esq (1845) Lt 47 Royal Irish Reg of Dragoon of Guards. Died in riding accident
Above Right: Rev Sir John Tynte (1742) Rector 1731-1740 By J M Rysbrack
Near Right: Sir Charles Kemys Tynte MP (1785)
Younger brother of Sir John By Nollekens.
Far Right:
Sir Hugh Halswell Tynte & Other Members of His Family (1650). Latin inscription. Note the allegorical flanking figures of Faith & Hope; above are two cheubs, one with hour glass, the other with skull.
Above Top and Above Bottom Left:  Sir Nicholas (1633) & Bridget (1627) Halswell.  Around the tomb chest keel 6 sons and 3 daughters; as only two side are used for this purpose we may assume that the tomb is in its original position tight against the wall. He was MP for Bridgewater and JP; .in the latter role he imprisoned in 1603 'one John Gilbert, alias Gogulmere, a fanatical minister,  for having...attempted to preach naked in...North Petherton'
Above Bottom Right: Isabella Anne Kemeys Tynte (1835) She died aged 3. Marble by Raffaeli Monti

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