Stonework in the Flower Bed

There are some huge blocks of weathered architectural stonework in the flower beds in front of St Sidwell’s Community Centre. After a survey was carried out by local historic buildings expert Stuart Blaylock we believe the stonework to be from the 1812 church tower, which was dismantled in the 1890s.

Churchyard Stonework

The church was almost completely rebuilt in 1812. The C15th tower and columns were kept but the tower coated in plaster and an octagonal spire and pinnacles added.

An etching of the church showing an octagonal spire

The tower was then remodeled in the 1890s to reveal the C15th tower once more. The spire and pinnacles were removed at this time so we believe the architectural fragments in the grounds to be the surviving remains of the pinnacles at the time of the dismantling.

Stonework during remodelling

Here is a description of the stonework by Stuart Blaylock:

“The collection comprises upwards of 40 fragments of dressed limestone.  They are nearly all attributable to three classes of block: shaft fragments, consisting of parallel vertical faces with mouldings or flanges at the corners; ornamented pinnacles, consisting of gabled side faces with crockets (stylised carved foliage carving) on the corners and tapering surfaces, invariably in two blocks per course and assigned here to the lower part of the pinnacles; and plain pinnacle fragments, namely single blocks with tapering faces on all four sides. These are often very weathered, with carved detail eroded and hard to recognise.  Where identifiable the stone type appears to be universally Beer stone, from the coast of East Devon (and the predominant limestone in Devon from the early 14th century until other stones from further afield became accessible with the advent of the railways in the 1840s).  The three classes in fact all represent sub-classes of one architectural type, namely a gothic pinnacle.”