Tour led by Julian Orbach, such an expert in the field of historic buildings that he needs no introduction. He wrote the latest (2014) Pevsner Guide of The Buildings of England for Somerset South and West.
Start at St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm BA11 3NZ, a small village church built in the 12thC that has a wall with early Norman herringbone stone courses, saddleback west tower of c1240 and an Elizabethan gallery approached from an external staircase (both the latter quite unusual). Also 17thC box pews, 14thC porch, 18thC north transept and a Norman font. On to St Mary, Orchardleigh BA11 2PH, in a secluded spot on an island in a lake, with no electricity, on a former estate, now a golf course. It has 13thC origins but is mostly 18thC. There is a stone screen dated 1879, Jacobean pulpit, Norman font, Royal Arms and other hatchments. There is a tribute to poet Sir Henry Newbolt (1862–1938), who was inspired by the story of a faithful dog called Azor, to whom there is a monument. Then toAll Saints, Lullington BA11 2PG, one of Robin Bush’s (author of Somerset, The Complete Guide) top churches in the county, notable in particular for its Norman north doorway and inside, its Norman tower arches. It also has a fantastic decorated font, elaborately carved stone capitals and ancient pulpit, 13thC south chapel and c1150 tapering tomb slab cover.
We finish at about 5pm at St George, Beckington BA11 6TD,with a 12thC west tower, lofty nave with clerestory and north and south aisles. There are several notable military memorials (1780, 1856, 1922 and 1940) as well as a 1485 brass of two figures, and three stone effigies dating from 1360–1400, and a monument to Samuel Daniel (died 1619), Poet Laureate. Tea here – donations please. Total drive between churches: 10.8 miles.
Book with William Newsom, email email@example.com, tel: 01963 441533.