Parish and Priory Church of St George, Dunster

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April, 2019

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The first impression is size. The C15th rood screen cuts the church in two and, at 60’ long, is thought to be the longest in Europe. It divides the nave from the parochial choir and the chancel of the parish church which is beneath the tower. The enclosed monastic choir is beyond and is flanked by the Lady Chapel (now the vestry) to the north and St Lawrence Chapel (now the Luttrell Chapel) on the south.

The screen is beautifully carved and would originally have been painted and had a rood on the top.

Beyond the rood screen is the choir and chancel, set under the tower. In front of the main altar with its painted triptych is a Jacobean altar table. The massive oak beam tower roof has a trap door at the centre, used when the bells were removed and later replaced after being recast in the mid C20th.

The pews have carved ends; each on is different. The carved stone pulpit is C19th and replaced an earlier wooden pulpit which now sits disused in the north transept. The font at the back of the church dates from around 1530 and and is carved with the wounds of Christ and Instruments of the Passion. The tall wooden cover is C19th and is raised by weight above.

An archway in the south aisle contains part of the original Rood Screen, removed in the C15th when the church was divided. Beyond this, in the south transept, is a small shop and refreshment area. The original Norman stone font is here.

St Lawrence Chapel at the end of the south aisle is the Luttrell family mausoleum. It is dominated by a huge and impressive “monument”: erected in 1613 to Thomas Luttrell who died in 1571 and his son George. Thomas and his wife are on the left. George lies next to the kneeling figure of his wife on the right.

On the floor is a C15th grave slab to Dame Elizabeth Luttrell.

There are three old strong chests in the Luttrell chapel. One has a sloping lid and may also have been used as a writing desk.

The Luttrell Chapel leads into the now disused monastic choir, which is enclosed by wooden screens. It still has a small altar beneath the east window. Hatchments of the Luttrell family hang on the walls.

By the altar is the Easter Sepulchre with the remains of an effigy of Sir Hugh Luttrell and his wife. On the opposite wall is an effigy thought to be Christian de Mohun.

To the north of the Monastic Choir is the former Holy Trinity Chapel, and is now the de Mohun Chantry. It is the only remaining chantry chapel and is now reserved for private prayer. It still has the original medieval tiles on the floor. The stone altar still has the five consecration crosses representing the five wounds of Christ. The cross dates from the 1200s and has a very eroded Madonna and Child carved on it. It was originally the top of the churchyard cross.

There are lots more pictures “here.”:


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