As we drove towards Dartmouth through the picturesque countryside that is typical of both Somerset and Devon, we passed a number of quaint old Churches throughout the towns and villages we encountered…
North Petherton, Somerset
The 1st place we visited was North Petherton, close to Somerset’s County Town, Taunton, which was our previous stop. The 120 ft Tower of St Mary’s Church loomed ahead of us, and we got our first view of the Grade I Listed Structure. A Church has existed here for centuries in various forms, and a previous version dates back to at least 1086. In the 12th Century the lands around North Petherton came into the ownership of Buckland Priory. The present building is mainly 15th Century, so it must have replaced the previous building as the town grew in size. Alterations to the main building were later made in the mid 19th Century by an architect called Richard Carver.
It is a stunning Gothic Church and along with the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Taunton, has one of the finest Towers in Somerset.
Moving down into Devon, and just 10 miles out of Dartmouth, we passed through the village of Harbertonford, home to the local Parish Church of St Peter’s. The village forms part of the Parish of Harberton along with the larger village of the same name. In 1860 Harbertonford became it’s own ecclesiastical Parish, and required it’s own Church. This resulted in the construction of St Peter’s, and although it isn’t as grand as that in Harberton, it is still a lovely little building in the midst of unspoilt countryside.
Halwell is a small village about 3 miles further South from Harbertonford. Within the village it’s most notable landmark has to be St Leonard’s Church, another 15th Century building incorporating some older stonework from the 13th. It is quite a large Church for such a small village, with a large Tower at the West End, which looks more like a fortified Tower than part of a Church. The design is brilliant, and the slate rubble exterior lends it a lovely aesthetic quality.
Our next stop was just outside Dartmouth, where we would be spending the next week in a Static Caravan, in the village of Stoke Fleming…