Meare - St Mary's Church
St Marys and All Saints is the ancient church situated at the East end of the village.
There has been a Christian site in Meare for many centuries, at least since the Saxon times.
It has been said that there was a saxon holy man or hermit called Beon or Beonna who was buried near to the church. His remains were confused with St Benignus and were moved to Glastonbury Abbey in 1091. The confusion was perpetuated when the current building was consecrated in 1323 to the virgin Mary, all Saints and St Benignus.
The chancel, tower and pulpit remain from 14th century. The chancel roof to the East is still original and shows a marvellous example of decorative wind braces which are there to prevent the roof slipping sideways. The main roof in the nave was demolished and rebuilt in the 15th century in the gothic style by the Abbot John de Selwood.
Until the reformation of the church the walls were painted with bright coloured frescos. These were mostly removed, white washed or scraped off. But there remains a few places were you can still see the original paint. Most notably on the corbel angel sculptures.
At the front, on the right as you go in, there is a Tudor poor box on a medieval base.
The main door to the church is has striking wrought iron hinges from the early Victorian era. They have been described by the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as the most florid ironwork in the whole country.
To see these features and many more images of the church, take a look at the Gallery.