Church crawl to St Andrew’s, Chew Magna                Tuesday, 22nd July, 2014
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All Saints’ Church
The Church of St Andrew, Chew Magna. Some of its architecural features, its history, and that of the village, were, as usual, drawn to our attention by Christopher Marsden-Smedley. He was talking to possibly the largest party so far of this season’s church crawls, arranged by Andrew and Fiona Densham. The standing stones of nearby Stanton Drew,are evidence of worship in the locality centuries before the arrival of Christianity. There was a church in Chew Magna at least as far back as the 12C, although this church has Norman features and a large 15th century pinnacled sandstone tower, whose ‘staged’ design Christopher contrasted with the loftier towers of, for example, All Saints’.  The font is certainly Norman, and an early, highly decorated rood screen across the full width of the church is quite striking. He pointed out 3 large memorials to the Stracheys of Sutton Court, and a wooden effigy of a knight cross-legged and leaning on one elbow. If he was who the legend on it claims, he managed to die many years before the 15C armour he’s wearing ! He’s supposedly Sir John de Hauteville or one of his descendants. Another effigy in the north chapel is of Sir John St Loe, who was over 7 feet (2 m) tall, and his wife, looking diminutive by comparison. The armoured figure is 7 feet 4 inches (2.24 m) long and his feet rest on a lion. Those of his wife rest on a dog. There’s a peal of eight bells in the tower, reached by a continuation of the stairs leading to the organ loft in front of the plain-glass west window. The church is Grade I listed, whilst the churchyard has several Grade II listed monuments, including a cross. The nave pews are Vistorian, but a prie dieu, used now as a lectern, is much older. The superbly carved pulpit dates from c. 1928.. The Old School Room, Chew Magna Next to the church gate is the Church House, also known as the Old School Room. The upstairs room was the local school from the mid or early 15th century, with the village poorhouse below. It’s Grade II listed and used for local events. After the customary saying of Compline, led on this occasion by the Revd Tom Ekin, the party repaired to the Pelican Inn opposite.
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chancel ceiling The Pelican