Beaminster: St Mary of the Annunciation, Beaminster
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There has been a church in Beaminster since Saxon times, although no one knows exactly where it was. The present truly magnificent building, set slightly above the little town it serves, rests upon a site where once a Norman structure stood.
Outside the most distinguishing feature is the superb tower of about 1500, which has been described as 'one of the glories of the West Country'. It has 41 'crocketted' pinnacles, which make the pinnacles appear to be standing free of the tower, while each actually rests on a springer stone sculpted to form devils or mythical animals.
The most attractive chancel screen is by H. Read of Exeter and installed in 1913. The Jacobean oak pulpit of 1619 is all that remains of the original triple-decker. Now mounted on wheels, it can be moved around the building at will. There is a good example of stairs that would once have led to a rood loft extended across the chancel arch.
The present clergy vestry was once a mort house, dating from 13c, where bones that had been dug up in the graveyard were stored.
The font is Norman. It was thrown out by the Victorians in 1863, but found in a stone mason's yard and returned in 1927. (Not the only example see Kimmeridge and Chaldon Herring). The lectern is modern and made at Beaminster School. Among the monuments are two fine examples to the Strode family.
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The current editor is: Mandy Alford
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