ST2952 : Church of Saint Mary, Berrow: Porch Door

taken 4 years ago, near to Berrow, Somerset, Great Britain

Church of Saint Mary, Berrow: Porch Door
Church of Saint Mary, Berrow: Porch Door
The main door into the church is blocked by flood precaution equipment. It is removed for weddings etc.

This barrier can be glimpsed in the earlier picture ST2952 : Berrow - St Marys Church by Chris Talbot.
Church of Saint Mary, Berrow
Dedicated to the Virgin Mary this church is sometimes called 'The Church in the Dunes'. The original 10th century village it used to serve is buried in the nearby dunes, and the church has occasionally had to be rescued from the same fate.

The dunes are man-made. Following the Tsunami of 1607 which caused so much damage locally Marram grass was planted to encourage the formation of dunes to protect Berrow Parish. Nearby Burnham was a busy port, and did not take the same precautions. Berrow's dunes have pushed the coastline back nearly a Km from the original line, and the church is surrounded by sandhills.

The first church on this spot was recorded in 1020, but no trace of that survives. The substantial church of 1100 is represented only by the base of the current chancel arch. The current nave dates from 1280, and a notice in the church dates the south aisle and the tower to the 15th century.

There was once a minstrel's gallery in the west end of the church, and a carved beam, known as 'the Jacobean Beam', from that gallery hangs above the main door in the south aisle.

A tabernacle cross, or preaching cross, stood outside the church. The iconoclasts of the Reformation destroyed it, but the head was concealed in the wall of the church where it was rediscovered in 1926 and is now on show next to the altar. This cross is separately listed as a historic monument.

As well as the cross and the church itself, Historic England lists three other features associated with the church: two memorials in the churchyard, and the remains of two effigies just outside the porch. The effigies must originally been inside the church, but are badly eroded and the figures depicted are unknown.

The peal of 6 bells is not regularly rung.

The chancel roof dates from 1974, as does the organ at the back of the nave. There is also an electrical piano which is now used in preference to the new organ.

In 2019 the box pews were removed in favour of movable chairs, and the erstwhile step at the main door was replaced with a sloping floor. The whole interior was redecorated and the heating pipes in the nave boxed in, giving the whole space a clean and open aspect.

St Mary's is the parish church, and busy and well attended.

The church is a grade I listed building LinkExternal link
The base of the former preaching cross is a separate grade II listing LinkExternal link
The other churchyard features listed are LinkExternal link LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link

See LinkExternal link for the Church of England record.

See LinkExternal link for details of the bells

See LinkExternal link for details of the previous and current organs

See LinkExternal link for details of the Tsunami
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ST2952, 90 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 26 August, 2015   (more nearby)
Friday, 28 August, 2015
Geographical Context
Coastal  Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement  Religious sites 
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! ST 2938 5245 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:16.0086N 3:0.8160W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! ST 2938 5245
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Other Tags
Church Door  Church Entrance Door  Church Porch 

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