The Tour continues

   

 FRIENDS OF ST. JOHN’S CHURCH, KEYNSHAM

The tour continues –

The east end and round the north side of the church

 

Continuing from outside the church hall, the buttresses and corners of the chancel (east end) point in two directions and both have numbers on them.
The north side of the chancel still has one lancet window, now with stained glass from 1961. Do you know who is depicted? It is rarely seen these days so worth having a look from the inside.

And so to buttress XV
The stonework at the end of the North Aisle is a right jumble and yet it seems much more solidly built than the walls we have seen so far with two patches of Pennant Sandstone so familiar from the south side.
A drainpipe comes out of the middle of the wall indicating a void behind the stonework. The most easterly window is a lot smaller than others on this side.

In the late 1500’s things were not going so well. In 1575 the plague raged in Bristol, in 1585 the wheat price jumped to 17/- per bushel and in 1596 there was a famine. But local pride meant Keynsham’s bells needed improving and 3 new bells were added to the tower in 1602, 1607 and 1613.

In 1625 local parishes were reported by Robert Cox for not paying their dues to Keynsham Church. – “The said Churche being at present verie much out of reparation and likelie to growe worse and worse if some speedie course bee not taken for the repayringe there of……….” *

And another said “Until thirty yeares ago noe rates were collected for the reparinge of the churche of Keynsham aforesaid but the parishioners contributeth yearlie as everie one pleased.” *

And so disaster, as announced in a “Brief” sent around the county for help – apparently rare in the reign of Charles 1 much more common in the times of Charles 11.
“….We are credibly given to understand that the Parish Church of Keynsham……. Is lately most lamentably ruinated by reason of most disastrous misfortune by Tempestuous weather happening upon the thirteenth day of January 1632, which continued in a most fearful manner, being intermixed with hideous Clapps of Thunder and flashes of Lightening about sixe of the clock in the afternoone of the same day. And by reason of the force thereof in a moment threw downe the Steeple or Spire of the Tower, which in the fall thereof crushed down likewise the greatest and principallest parte of the body of the said Church, Chancel Vestry, Pulpit and Seates, and defaced the Pauement also, And the Tower being therewith crashed from the Top of the foundation, and the Glasse Windowes for the most part utterly rent and Torne, And that part which is standing is subject to a further ruyne unless some speedy course bee forthwith taken……” **.

We have been looking at the surviving base of the original tower and the roof line of the North Aisle does not continue into that last bay.

* Elizabeth White     **  F A (Jim Allen)


 Edmund Prideaux