We were joined by the Rector, the Rev’d David Maylor for our tour of Barnack Church on the evening of May 18th which was attended by 24 members. Stephen Hart, a retired architect, author and a member of the Men of the Stones Committee, led us on a journey through five centuries of the church’s architectural history.
He postulated nine phases of its construction, from the famous Saxon tower through to the fifteenth-century Perpendicular Walcot Chapel, and in support of his commentary, those present were given a hand-out approximately dating the nine constructional stages and showing some of the church’s window tracery patterns. Going round the outside and then within, features characteristic of the styles of the various periods were identified and it was shown how their relationships one to another could help to elucidate the chronology of the church’s alterations and additions.
In addition to its Saxon tower, much of the architectural interest of this church is in the considerable alterations carried out during the last quarter of the twelfth century and the first quarter of the thirteenth in the style known as Transitional – i.e. transitional between the Norman and Early English styles. One of the innovations of that period was the introduction of pointed arches, supplanting rounded ones, and it was remarkable to find the two types together in contemporary parts of the building – the former in the porch and the latter in the entrance doorway arch.
Our thanks are due to the Rector for opening the church for this visit and we were pleased to make a donation to the church funds.