On 6th April a group of twenty Ecclesiologists from across the UK, including some of the country's leading experts in church monuments and stained glass, descended upon Curry Rivel. Leading them was Ecclesiastical Historian John Vigar who, for over 40 years, has been organising tours of churches across England. Whilst this was a return visit to Somerset, it was a first time visit to our own St Andrew's Church.
Ecclesiology is the study of church buildings and the different ways in which they have been used over the centuries. The group was interested to see the current use of the North Chapel to house the community food bank. (For more information on the food bank and how you can help click here. )
Sadly it meant that the monuments for which the church is famous were mostly inaccessible, though the incised slab depicting a 14th century priest was visible and attracted much interest. As did the large monument to the Jennings family, more notable for its contemporary iron railings than as a work of art.
Historically the links with Lady Margaret Beaufort, daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset and mother of Henry VII, whose portcullis arms are shown on the porch is important and her influence locally may also be seen at Ile Abbots.
The group expressed their gratitude at receiving such a warm welcome from everyone they met in Curry Rivel and John commented "You have an outstanding church which ranks very highly amongst the 20 we visited on our four day tour".
Many thanks to John Vigar for the photographs taken during the visit.