Sunday, 12 March 2017

Hardington Bampfylde, North Somerset

If you wanted a journey to epitomise 'Wiltshire Wandering' it could be the one to Hardington Bampfylde (except it's not in Wiltshire of course). What I mean is that it requires scrutiny of the OS map to find this excellently named location. And then we're rumbling along the main road thinking 'is it this little turn? nope... must be the next one... OMG HERE IT IS' with a sudden dash down into a little lane. Followed by the immediate sensation that the busy everyday world is left behind, and now you're properly in the country, with rolling fields and hedges both sides of the narrow road, and the sensation that something interesting lies ahead. Plus, we found ourselves diverting off this road onto a track, heading uphill across dung and into a farmyard. The little church stood amongst the farm buildings. It was an entirely promising sensation. A good place to begin today's wanderings.

The church is owned by the Churches Conservation Trust so there was no trouble opening the door. It had a peaceful damp air and with its Georgian woodwork felt remarkably authentic and unmessed with. The chancel arch looked simple and Norman, and straining a bit to fall outwards. I see Mr Pevsner says it's not medieval. But who knows. He only had his eyes to go on like we did. And it looks pretty good to me, it's certainly the right style, and I don't see anyone aping the Romanesque in the rest of the building, it's all pointy windows. So I'm going for it, personally.

Also in the Norman department was the amazing chunky font. I tried to draw it. The proportions came out wrong in disappointing fashion. When you've got such a simple design, the proportions are everything. It makes you realise what beautiful aesthetic sense these sculptors had nearly a thousand years ago. B and I always love to see another example. I think it's safe to say we're obsessed connoisseurs of them.

Also there were drawings on the wall opposite the door, in red - faces and twirls and vegetation. I wonder how old these are? Clearly it would rather depend on the wall. I wonder if it would ever be possible - maybe not from the style, which you'd imagine would depend a lot on the hand of the artist. But maybe from whatever the paint is derived from, or... I don't know. Anyway I enjoyed trying to copy some of them.

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