Friday, 19 June 2015
Holiday IV St Cuthbert, Wells
At the other end of the High St from the cathedral is the Parish Church of St Cuthbert. As you can see it has a spectacular 122ft high tower. A tower that alone justifies this separate post. A Somerset tower too, like those on the cathedral. Something of a regional specialty; the signs of a school of local well-trained skillful stone masons. In fact St Cuthbert's was thoroughly re-modeled in the Late Middle Ages, so that from the exterior it looks thoroughly Perpendicular. The spacious, multi-vista'd interior with transepts and side chapels however displays the work of an earlier building period: the nave arcades. Early English in origin they were (fantastically enough) partially taken down as part of the re-modeling, heightened by some 11ft and then rebuilt, capped with a new clerestory and a spectacular wooden roof. There is another excellent roof in the southern side chapel. There are in addition the remains of two mighty medieval reredoses on the east wall of both north and south transepts. Both lucky survivors even in a mutilated state. It is a shame then that none of the modern fittings are worthy of the architecture.