Tuesday, 26 May 2009

St Martins Church

St Martin's Church, built principally of Heavitree sandstone, stands close by the Cathedral in Exeter. It was consecrated on 6th July 1065 in the time of Edward the Confessor and a year before William of Normandy invaded England and took the throne from Harold Godwinson, King Harold II.

The church was dedicated to 'The Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Cross, and Mary Mother of Christ, and St. Martin, Bishop, and All Saints". That sounds to me like someone was covering all their bases and making sure they didn't offend anyone! A little of the original masonry exists in the walls of the nave.

The roof is a typical Devon waggon roof.

The altar rails - visible at the bottom of the above picture - have twisted balusters and were set close enough together to keep dogs from the altar, as prescribed by Archbishop Laud in the 1630s.

The monuments are a notable feature of the church and this one to Philip Hooper shows him kneeling at a prayer desk with a skull and a pile of books. More skulls are placed below the monument - all in all a fairly gruesome affair.

The windows all date from the 14th or 15th Centuries and the large window in the South wall of the nave is made of white Beer stone which was much used in the cathedral. The large windows fill the church with light - a sharp contrast to what one would expect from its cramped situation in the corner of the Cathedral precinct.
There is some medieval glass in the windows and the South window has the three shovellers heads of Bishop Lacy (1420-1455) who gave a window (presumably this one) to the church.


Simply Heather said...

..covering all the bases, not leaving out anyone (I'm smiling)...

The feeling you must have had in this church, appreciating the details of craftmanship in every part of it.

When I saw the last photo, it brought me a familiar feeling from when I was young...cannot place it, but it felt good.

Thank you, John.

Kris said...

Wow. To stand there and be able to witness history itself...there in the very stone, mortar, and glass...must have been magnificent!